The holiday season will be here before we know it, but there is still time to make sure your online store is shipshape! We’ve gathered all of our best holiday sales tips to help you prepare for the unique opportunities and challenges of this busy time of year.
Key holiday shopping dates for online retailers
It’s a good idea to plan your marketing around key holiday shopping dates. Even if you aren’t creating promotions for big holiday shopping events, it helps to know when they are. You may even want to avoid the noise of Black Friday or Cyber Monday for your big holiday promotions by doing a sale either the weekend before or the weekend after.
- November 1st: The day we put the Halloween decorations away and the holiday decor comes out.
- Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving, with big brick-and-mortar shopping events dominated by big box stores.
- Small Business Saturday: The Saturday after Thanksgiving, dedicated to the concept of “shopping small”.
- Cyber Monday: The Monday after Thanksgiving is generally considered to be the biggest online shopping holiday.
- Green Monday: A term coined by eBay to describe the second Monday of December, also a big online holiday shopping date.
- December 26th: Day after Christmas and Boxing Day in Canada, when after-Christmas sales go into effect.
Determine your shipping cut-off dates
Figure out when your final days will be for guaranteed holiday delivery. Include:
- Holiday delivery cut-off dates for in-stock items
- Holiday delivery cut-off dates for custom orders
- Final day for guaranteed holiday delivery (regular shipping)
- Final day for guaranteed holiday delivery (expedited shipping)
Make sure your marketing and website copy clearly communicates your shipping cut-off dates.
Don’t forget to order product packaging, too! Stock up on shipping supplies, labels, ink, business cards, and whatever else you need to get your orders out the door well in advance of the holiday rush.
Prepare your shop for holiday sales
Now that you have your important dates figured out, you can start putting together your holiday marketing calendar and optimize your shop for the sales rush.
- Treat holiday sales like a launch: Approach the holiday season with the same level of planning and anticipation as you would for a product launch or rebranding. Keep your customers informed about changes and special events.
- Plan your marketing: Start by creating a holiday sales calendar that outlines essential shopping dates and shipping cutoffs. This will help you strategize your promotions.
- Plan special offerings: Decide on special promotions, seasonal lines, limited-edition products, or exclusive offers. Make sure your holiday offerings are both newsworthy and aligned with your brand.
- Build momentum: Utilize social media and email newsletters to build anticipation, increasing the frequency of your holiday-related posts as Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach.
- Enhance your website and social media: Create holiday-themed content, such as Christmas Pinterest boards, gift guides, and specialized product categories like “gifts for her.” Ensure your site and social media profiles reflect the holiday spirit.
- Bring value to your customers: Help customers identify the perfect gifts by providing ideas and solutions. Address the challenges and stress of the holiday season, and offer to simplify their shopping experience.
- Choose the right promotions: Decide which promotions will work best for your business. Consider offering bundles, volume discounts, gift-with-purchase deals, or holiday-themed products.
- Communicate clearly: Ensure your customers are well-informed by updating your website with holiday shipping information and cutoff dates. This transparency can motivate customers to place orders.
- Prep for in-person sales: If you participate in craft fairs or pop-up shops, align your in-person marketing with your online promotions. Make sure your booth is stocked with gift-worthy items and information about custom orders and shipping options.
Last-minute holiday marketing tips
Let’s explore some marketing strategies to boost your holiday sales:
- Start the countdown: Make your last order dates for Christmas delivery clear and use countdowns on social media to create a sense of urgency.
- Schedule your marketing: To maintain efficiency during the holiday season, schedule your marketing content in advance. This will free up time for fulfilling orders and providing exceptional customer service.
- Pitch to blogs: Reach out to bloggers for potential features in gift guides or recommendations. Blog editors are always in need of high-quality content for their audience and shoppers are searching for last-minute gift ideas.
- Share your holiday experience: Share both personal and business-related holiday content on social media. Connect with your audience on a personal level to build relationships.
- Provide exceptional customer service: During this busy season, prioritize excellent customer service. Go the extra mile with beautiful packaging and handwritten notes to make your customers’ experience memorable.
- Incentivize shoppers: Offer special promotions to motivate last-minute shoppers. Consider gift packages or discounts for future purchases as a way to attract more customers.
- Send holiday cards: Consider sending holiday cards to past customers, bloggers, or other business contacts. This personal touch can help foster relationships and keep your shop top of mind.
- Breathe: Lastly, remember to take care of yourself during this busy season. Whether it’s a rush of orders or a slowdown in sales, it’s temporary. Focus on what you can do in the remaining time, and don’t forget to breathe.
The holiday season presents an incredible opportunity for online shops, and with the right preparation and marketing strategies, you can make the most of it. By treating your holiday sales season as a launch, planning ahead, and implementing last-minute marketing ideas, you can ensure that your online shop is ready to shine during the festive winter season.
Additional holiday sales tips and resources
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