Holiday seasons are crucial for ecommerce brands to drive sales and increase revenue. However, ecommerce brands are often unable to cash in on this opportunity as well as they can. This can be because of not having a strategy in place, not forecasting the demand accurately, not finding the right balance between discounts and profits, or something as simple as servers crashing down.
In this blog, we have covered everything you need to know to make your holiday ecommerce sales successful, including a calendar with key dates, strategies, and tactics to help you make the most of the holiday shopping season.
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Why are holiday sales important for ecommerce businesses?
For businesses, holiday sales are crucial to increase their revenue and build brand awareness. Here’s how brands benefit from holiday sales:
The holiday season brings a surge in consumer spending. Increased sales during this period can contribute significantly to the company's overall revenue.
Businesses can sell dead stock and clear up their inventory, making room for new products.
Increased promotional activities attract new customers and retain existing ones through sales and promotions and help build brand awareness and increase brand visibility.
Analyzing holiday sales data provides valuable insights into customer preferences and behavior. This is beneficial for creating future marketing and sales strategies.
Why are holiday ecommerce sales important for consumers?
Shopping from physical stores across the city is tedious and time-consuming because of high demand and crowded stores. Online retail sales provide more benefits to consumers as well. Here’s how:
Online sales offer consumers the convenience to shop from the comfort of their homes while avoiding the holiday rush.
Consumers get to explore a wider selection of products as compared to physical stores. They can shop from a range of products spanning multiple brands in the same place.
Consumers benefit from the irresistible discounts, free shipping, and special promotions their favorite brands offer. These offers are often better than the ones offered by physical stores.
Along with the variety, consumers also get to see customer reviews, detailed product listings, and product descriptions and can return the products without any questions asked.
Holiday calendar for 2024
Here’s a list of some key holidays in 2024 when hosting sales can be particularly effective for your ecommerce store:
|A day for promoting products related to love and relationships. Consider offering special deals on gifts, flowers, and related items.
|Easter is a good time to increase your sales if you sell gift items, decorations, crafts or spring-related products.
|Capitalize on this day by offering special discounts and gift bundles on products that make great gifts for mothers.
|Offer discounts on products that serve well as gifts for fathers or men in general.
|Celebrate the national holiday with patriotic-themed sales or discounts on summer-related products.
|Often seen as the end of summer, offering discounts on seasonal items can be effective.
|July to September
|While not a traditional holiday, the back-to-school period is a significant shopping season. Offering sales on school supplies like bags, pen and pencil sets, lunch boxes, tablets and other similar items is a good idea.
|Offer promotions on costumes, decorations or give your store a Halloween theme for the season
|Consider promotions and discounts on items that the consumers might want to treat themselves with. This can also include self-care products.
|Black Friday (Day After Thanksgiving)
|One of the busiest shopping days in the United States where Consumers expect significant discounts and promotions across all product categories.
|Cyber Monday (Monday After Thanksgiving)
|A day dedicated to online shopping and an extension of Black Friday. Offering exclusive online deals similar to Black Friday is effective.
|Often considered the second-largest online shopping day in December, similar to Cyber Monday. Offering discounts on home products, gift articles, gadgets and fashion is a good idea.
|Also known as Panic Saturday, it's the last Saturday before Christmas and is a busy shopping day for last-minute shoppers.
|The entire month of December is a prime time for holiday sales, as people are actively shopping for gifts. Consider offering promotions and discounts throughout the month.
|Late December to Early January
|New Year's Sale
|Some shoppers continue to make purchases after Christmas, taking advantage of post-holiday sales where businesses may look to sell their leftover inventory with high discounts.
Common problems during holiday ecommerce sales
Before looking into the key strategies that can help you increase your ecommerce sales, let’s take a look at some of the common problems businesses face while hosting an ecommerce sale:
Inventory management: Running out of popular products can lead to lost sales and customer disappointment, and devaluing your brand.
Website traffic surge: One of the most common problems during holiday sales is website crashes and slow loading times due to the surge in website traffic.
Payment processing issues: Payment processing glitches or delays can result in abandoned shopping carts and dissatisfied customers. This is caused due to the high number of transactions going through the payment gateways.
Shipping and delivery issues: If the logistics solution isn’t capable of handling a high number of orders, there can be delays or mishandling of deliveries that can lead to customer dissatisfaction and negative reviews.
Customer support overload: High website traffic and buyers can be overwhelming for existing customer support teams and can result in delayed responses, poor service, and frustrated customers.
Returns and refunds: High sales come with high returns and high refunds. Complicated or inefficient return processes can lead to a loss of sales and discourage potential customers from purchasing.
Strategies to increase your holiday ecommerce sales
Now that you know the important dates to target and some common problems that occur during these sales, you can strategize accordingly to suit the characteristics of each holiday.
Here are a few key strategies that can help you boost your sales during the holiday shopping season.
Manage sales and inventory
Analyze sales data from previous holiday seasons to forecast demand and plan inventory accordingly. Prioritize high-demand products and allocate inventory strategically to maximize sales potential.
Collaborate with suppliers to ensure timely delivery of products and minimize stock-outs.
Implement an inventory tracking system to monitor stock levels in real time.
Consider utilizing dropshipping or third-party fulfillment services to expand product offerings and prevent order fulfillment bottlenecks.
Optimize shopping experience
Optimize your website loading speed. Also, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, as most shoppers use their smartphones and tablets to make purchases.
Streamline the checkout process by keeping the number of steps to a minimum to minimize cart abandonment and maximize conversions.
Provide personalized product recommendations and offers on the website as well as during checkout to make the shortlisting process easier.
Create irresistible offers
Offer limited-time promotions, such as flash sales, to create a sense of urgency and encourage immediate purchases.
Provide freebies with purchases to add better value for customers.
Create holiday-specific promotions, such as gift sets or bundles, to make the shortlisting process easier for the customers.
Offer free shipping
Since many consumers consider free shipping an important criterion while purchasing online, offering free shipping can reduce the chances of cart abandonment.
Create tiers to qualify for free shipping. It encourages customers to add additional items to their shopping carts, resulting in higher average order value.
Provide the best customer service
Leverage AI-powered chatbots to provide instant responses even outside of business hours to ensure a seamless 24/7 customer service experience.
Integrate your internal data and inventory system with chatbots to provide better product information, personalized product recommendations, real-time details of their orders, etc.
Offer multiple payment options
Offering multiple payment options is essential for accommodating diverse customer preferences and enhancing the overall shopping experience. Some of the most popular payment options online shoppers prefer are:
Digital wallets: Provide popular digital wallet options like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and others. Digital wallets offer a quick and convenient way for customers to pay for their purchases without entering extensive payment details.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL): Partner with Buy Now, Pay Later services like Afterpay, Klarna, or Affirm. This option allows customers to make purchases now and pay for them in installments or at the end of the payment cycle, providing flexibility and increasing affordability.
Credit and debit cards: Accept major credit and debit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Ensure that your payment processing system is reliable and secure.
Point of sale and cash on delivery: The convenience of paying for the products at the time of delivery is always preferred by customers. Such convenience can be offered via cash on delivery or availability of point of sale (POS) machines to enable payments via credit or debit cards at the customer's doorstep.
Gift Cards: Allow customers to redeem gift cards as a payment option. This is particularly relevant during the holiday season when gift cards are popular holiday gifts from one customer to another.
How to promote your holiday ecommerce sale
Marketing is an integral part of boosting your holiday ecommerce sales. Here are some tips that can help you raise awareness about the upcoming holiday sale on your store and make it successful:
Leverage social media platforms
Social media platforms are one of the best ways to improve your reach beyond your customer base.
Create compelling social media posts featuring holiday promotions, discounts, and gift ideas. Use images and videos to capture the attention of social media users and encourage engagement.
Engage with your audience by actively responding to comments, direct messages, and mentions. This will help you reach more people.
Encourage customers to share their holiday shopping experiences, gift recommendations, or product reviews on social media. This creates social proof, builds trust among potential customers, and also gives you user-generated content to use on your website.
Run holiday-themed social media contests, giveaways, or promotions to increase customer engagement and expand your social media following.
Utilize social media advertising tools to schedule posts for targeting specific customer demographics.
Launch email marketing campaigns
Email marketing campaigns are highly effective and provide a cost-effective way to promote your holiday sales.
Segment your customers based on demographics, purchase history, and browsing behavior. This will help you in curating targeted marketing campaigns and personalized offers.
Use persuasive email subject lines and create engaging holiday-themed email content with festive visuals to generate excitement and entice customers into making a purchase.
Implement a well-timed email sequence, including pre-holiday teasers, special deals, and post-holiday promotions, to maintain customer engagement and build anticipation.
Optimize emails for mobile devices to reach consumers on the go during the busy holiday season.
Create and send AMP emails to provide an app-like experience within your emails and increase engagement using games and other interactive widgets.
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Utilize paid promotions
Paid promotions, such as sponsored ads on social media and search engines, can help in increasing the reach and visibility of your holiday campaigns.
Develop strategic paid advertising campaigns tailored for the holiday season, leveraging platforms like Google Ads and Meta ads.
Implement ad retargeting strategies to re-engage visitors who have shown interest in your products but have not made a purchase, increasing the chances of conversion.
Incorporate trending holiday-related keywords in your paid promotions to align with current search trends and enhance visibility.
Collaborate with social media influencers and celebrities to widen your reach. Give special discounts to audiences that are routed through them.
For all the above marketing strategies, monitor real-time analytics to identify trends and adjust marketing campaigns to make timely decisions for maximizing sales during the holiday season.
What to do after the sale is over?
After the sale is over, it is crucial to evaluate its performance. Was it successful? What are the areas of improvement? Did it increase your revenue? What will you do differently next time? Insights to these questions will help you make informed decisions and optimize your strategies for future holiday seasons.
Here are some key steps to review your holiday sales strategy:
Dive into your sales data, including total sales, conversion rates, average order value, customer acquisition statistics, customer lifetime value, and return on ad spend to gain insights into your store’s performance during the holiday season.
Compare your holiday sales performance with previous years to identify any significant changes or trends. Calculate year-over-year growth to gauge the success of your strategies.
Reach out to your customers for feedback, using surveys, reviews, or customer testimonials, to understand their shopping experience and satisfaction levels. Use this feedback to refine your strategies for future holiday seasons.
Examine the performance of your holiday marketing campaigns, including social media promotions, email marketing campaigns, and online advertising efforts. Identify which campaigns resonated well with your target audience, driving sales and engagement.
Holiday sales have become the go-to option for consumers as they offer products at high discounts. With the strategies and common pitfalls provided in this blog, you can leverage the holiday seasons to boost your sales, increase your revenue, and avoid the common problems that brands face in holding sales.
Since each holiday caters to a unique set of consumers, it is imperative to analyze your sales data to evaluate which holidays are best suited for the products you sell. Track this data over time to better understand your strengths and weaknesses and combine them with the above tactics to make your holiday sales successful and rewarding.