Updated: Jan 15
The holiday season is a critical time for ecommerce businesses. If you want to make the most of the opportunity, you need to have a well-thought-out Christmas strategy. This means covering all the bases, from marketing to incentives, PR to operations and strategic planning. In this Guide, we take a deep dive into these essential business topics and provide advice on delivering a successful Christmas strategy for your ecommerce business.
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First things first
There are key things you need to do to get ready for the holiday shopping season. First, you need to create a plan. This plan should detail what promotions you're going to run, what holiday-themed products you're going to sell, and how you're going to reach your target audience. Once you have a plan in place, you can start executing it.
Alignment is crucial
It's important to take a step back and think about the bigger picture when it comes to your Christmas strategy. What are your long-term goals for your ecommerce business? What do you want to achieve over the next 12 months? Answering these questions will help you plan your Christmas strategy in a way that's aligned with your overall business goals, ensuring that you're making the most of the holiday season opportunity.
Read all the eCommerce Digital Marketing Christmas Guides
The first step is to start planning early. You can't just wait until the last minute and expect everything to run smoothly. Begin by making a list of all the tasks that need to be completed to get your ecommerce business ready for the holiday season. This may include things like stocking up on inventory, updating your website, and creating holiday-themed marketing materials. Once you have a list of all the things that need to be done, create a schedule and start working on each task one by one.
Prepare your budget
The holidays are a busy time for everyone, but if you're in the ecommerce business, they can be especially hectic. That's why it's so important to have a budget in place that covers all of your ecommerce activities for the entire holiday shopping season.
Budget insights: Plan your sales strategy
You need to plan your sales strategy for the Christmas shopping period. What products do you want to sell? What promotions or discounts will you offer? When will your sales start and end? Answering these questions will help you better understand your budget needs.
Calculate Your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
Your COGS includes all the direct costs associated with producing and selling your products, such as materials, labour, and shipping. To calculate your COGS, simply add up all the costs associated with making and selling your products. Once you have your total COGS, you can begin to calculate your budget.
Figure out your operating expenses
Operating expenses are those costs associated with running your business, such as rent, utilities, advertising, and payroll. To determine your operating expenses, simply add up all the costs associated with running your business on a monthly or yearly basis. Once you have your total operating expenses, you can begin to calculate your budget.
Calculate your total budget
Now that you know your total COGS and operating expenses, you can calculate your total budget for the Christmas shopping period. Simply add up your total COGS and operating expenses and multiply by the number of months or weeks in the period. This will give you your total budget for the Christmas shopping period.
Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for ecommerce businesses, so it's important to make sure your operations are up to scratch. This means having enough stock to meet demand, as well as efficient order fulfilment and customer service processes in place. It's also worth considering things like offering express shipping for last-minute orders or extending your returns policy so that customers have more time to send back unwanted items.
Stock up on inventory
One of the most important things you need to do to prepare for the holiday shopping season is stock up on inventory. This is especially important if you sell products that are likely to be in high demand during the holidays. If you don't have enough inventory, you may end up selling out of popular items and disappointing customers. Start stocking up early so you can avoid any last-minute rush.
Make it easy to buy from you
The easier it is for customers to buy from you, the more likely they are to make a purchase. This means having a user-friendly website with a straightforward checkout process. If customers must jump through hoops just to buy something from you, they’re likely to get frustrated and give up entirely. Keep it simple and make it easy for them to spend their money with you.
Use a Buy Now, Pay Later provider to spread costs
By offering your customers the option to pay for their purchases using Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), you can attract customers feeling the pinch of the economic downturn. A popular choice, Klarna, is a pay-over-time provider that offers 0% interest on purchases made through their platform. This means that your customers can spread the cost of their purchase over a period of time, without having to pay any additional interest. This makes it more likely that they'll make a purchase from you, rather than from one of your competitors who don't offer this payment option.
Why offer a spread the cost option?
Increases Average Order Value
A 0% interest offer also gives your customers the freedom to spend more on their purchase, safe in the knowledge that they can spread the cost over a period of time. This can lead to an increase in your average order value (AOV), which is the amount that each customer spends on average when they make a purchase from you.
Attracts new customers
Offering Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) as a payment option could also help you attract new customers to your business. That's because 76% of consumers say they would be more likely to shop with a retailer if they offered pay-over-time as a payment option. (Source: RetailDive)
Improves cash flow
Finally, using BNPL can help improve your business's cash flow. That's because these providers pay out to retailers within just days days of an order being made. This is much faster than credit card companies, which can take up to 30 days to pay out. This means that you'll have access to funds much sooner, which can be helpful if you're struggling with cash flow issues.
Your marketing efforts should be focused on two things: driving traffic to your website and conversion optimization. To drive traffic, make sure you're doing things like running ads on Google and Facebook, as well as taking advantage of seasonal opportunities like Christmas-themed social media campaigns. Also, be sure to optimize your website for conversions by ensuring that your product pages are clear and easy to navigate, and that your checkout process is quick and smooth.
Invest in festive visuals and branding for your website
People love getting into the holiday spirit, so make sure your website reflects that! Use seasonal colours, images, and even videos to get people in the mood to shop. And don’t forget about your branding—if you have a logo, make sure it’s decked out in holiday style.
Create Holiday-themed marketing materials
Another way to prepare for the holiday shopping season is to create holiday-themed marketing materials. This could include things like special coupons or discounts, holiday-themed email newsletters, or even just festive social media posts. Whatever marketing materials you create, make sure they're eye-catching and engaging so they'll stand out from all the other holiday noise.
Once you know what promotions you're going to run, it's time to start designing them. This includes creating graphics, writing copy, and setting up any landing pages or other necessary elements. If you're running sales or discounts, make sure your customers know about them by promoting them across all of your channels.
Invest in paid advertising
Paid advertising can be extremely effective during the holiday season. Facebook and Google are two great platforms to invest in during this time. Just make sure that your ads are well-targeted so that you're not wasting money on clicks from people who aren't interested in buying anything from you.
Capitalise on email marketing
Email marketing is another powerful tool that you can use to reach people with ease. Make sure to send out regular emails promoting any deals or discounts that you may be offering. You can also use email marketing to promote new products or services that you may be launching during the holiday season.
The Christmas shopping season is a critical time for businesses, both big and small. For businesses, it can make or break their entire year. With that said, there are different ways to approach promoting your business during this crucial time. You could go all out with an advertising campaign, hire a PR firm, or do something more low-key like giving out discounts to customers.
One of the best ways to drive sales during the holidays is by offering incentives. This could be anything from free shipping to discounts on popular items. Whatever you choose, just make sure it's something that will really entice customers to buy from you instead of your competition.
Discounts and coupons
One of the most popular ways to incentivize customers is through discounts and coupons. Everyone loves a good deal, so offer something that will save your customers money on their purchase. You can offer a percentage off their total purchase, free shipping, or even a buy one get one free deal. Just make sure that your discount is significant enough to entice people to shop with you.
Free gifts with purchase
Another way to attract customers is by offering free gifts with purchase. This could be something small like a keychain or pen, or something bigger like a travel mug or t-shirt. People love getting free stuff, so this is a terrific way to show your appreciation for their business. Plus, they'll be more likely to remember you next time they need something that you sell.
Customer loyalty programmes
If you have regular customers, why not show them love with a loyalty program? Give them points for every purchase that they make and redeemable for discounts or freebies down the road. This will encourage them to keep coming back to your store and spending money with you.
Give discounts for bulk orders
If someone is buying multiple items from your store, they're obviously a big fan of what you're selling. To show your appreciation (and encourage them to buy even more), offer them a discount on their purchase when they buy in bulk. This will not only boost sales, but it will also help move inventory that might be sitting around gathering dust.
Offer free shipping
One of the best ways to attract customers during the holiday shopping season is to offer free shipping on all orders. This incentive will not only increase traffic to your site, but it will also encourage customers to spend more money since they won't have to worry about paying for shipping costs.
To make free shipping even more attractive, consider offering it for a limited time only or for orders over a certain amount. This will create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to act fast if they want to take advantage of the offer.
Leverage influencers and ambassadors
Influencers and brand ambassadors can be incredibly effective at promoting your products or services during the holiday season. Reach out to influencers in your industry and offer them commission on sales they generate using a unique coupon code or link.
Collab with others
One way to give your sales a boost is to collaborate with other businesses. Collaborating with other businesses can help you reach a wider audience, tap into new markets, and make the most of limited resources. Here are three ways that collaborating with other businesses can help you boost your sales this holiday season:
When you collaborate with other businesses, you automatically tap into their networks and widening your reach. This is especially valuable if you're a small business or if you're just starting out. By teaming up with other businesses, you can quickly expand your reach and get your product in front of more people.
Collaborating with other businesses can also help you enter new markets. Maybe there's a market that you've been wanting to tap into but haven't had the resources to do so. Or maybe there's a market that you didn't even know existed. When you collaborate with other businesses, you open up new opportunities and can start selling to new markets that you otherwise wouldn't have had access to.
Make the most of limited resources
When you're a small business or just starting out, you probably don't have the same resources as larger businesses. But when you collaborate with other businesses, you can pool your resources and access things that you wouldn't have been able to on your own - like marketing campaigns or advertisement space.
The holiday season is a great time to get positive PR for your ecommerce business. You can do this by capitalizing on seasonal news hooks, such as launching a new product or service just in time for Christmas. You can also reach out to influencers and collaborate with them on festive content or run a competition with enticing prizes that will generate buzz around your brand.
Christmas Holiday Gift Guides
As an ecommerce business owner, you know that the holiday season is the most important time of year for sales. What better way to increase holiday sales than to get your ecommerce business featured in popular Christmas holiday gift guides.
There are things you can do to give your business the best chance of being featured in a holiday gift guide:
Submit your products to Gift Guides
If you want your products to be considered for inclusion in a holiday gift guide, it's important to submit them to publications early. Many gift guides are published in November, so you'll need to make sure your products are submitted by October at the latest. However, the sooner you send them, the better.
Make sure your products are high quality
When reviewers are considering which products to include in their gift guides, they're looking for products that are high quality and will be sure to impress the recipient.
Choose the right products for reviewers
Some reviewers only include certain types of products in their gift guides. For example, some may only include products that are eco-friendly or that support small businesses. So, when submitting your products for consideration, be sure to choose products that fit the reviewer's guidelines.
Create a Press Kit
When sending your products for consideration, it's always helpful to include a press kit. A press kit is a collection of materials that provides information about your ecommerce business and your products. It typically includes things like an overview of your company, product descriptions and photos, and positive reviews or testimonials. Including a press kit with your submission will give reviewers everything they need to know about your ecommerce business and will make it easier for them to decide whether to include your products in their gift guide.
Tip: Make your press kit easy to access, with hi-res and low-res photography options, and a professionally written biography and “About” section for your business with key statistics.
Did you know? Treat provides free press releases for women-owned businesses in Torbay to commemorate IWD. Get in touch today to get started!
Product features on review sites
Now is the perfect time to get your products featured on the top review sites. But how do you go about doing that?
The first step is to do research and find which review sites would be the best fit for your products. Look at the types of products they feature and see if your products would be a good match. You'll also want to make sure that the review site has a good reputation and that their reviews are fair and impartial.
Contact the site owners
Once you've identified some potential review sites, it's time to reach out and contact the owners or editors. Introduce yourself and your company and explain why you think your products would be a good fit for their site. Be professional and courteous, and don't forget to include links to your website and social media accounts so they can learn more about you.
If you don't hear back from them right away, don't despair. It's not uncommon for busy site owners to take a while to respond to requests like yours. Just make sure to follow up after a week or two to politely inquire about their decision. In most cases, they'll either say yes or no at this point. But even if they say no, it's not the end of the world—just move on to another review site on your list.
But what if you're on a tight budget (either timewise, or money-wise!) and can't afford any of those options? There are still things you can do to promote your business during the holiday season. Let's take a look at some low-cost (or even no-cost) promotion ideas that will help get your business noticed during the most wonderful time of the year.
Make use of social media
If you're not already active on social media, now is the time to start. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great for getting your business in front of a large audience with minimal effort (and cost). Once you've set up your profiles, start posting engaging content that will resonate with your target audience. And don't forget to use relevant hashtags! Hashtags are a great way to reach new people who might be interested in your products or services.
Get involved with your local community
One of the best ways to promote your business during the holidays is to get involved with your local community. There are different ways to do this—you could host a toy drive, sponsor a family in need, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Not only will this help get your business name out there, but it's also a great way to give back during the holiday season. Find out if there are any holiday markets or fairs happening near you and take part in them to get your business name out there. This is a great way to meet potential customers and let them know about your products or services.
Sometimes the best way to promote your business is by letting others do it for you. Ask your satisfied customers if they would be willing to leave a review on popular platforms like Google and Yelp—positive reviews can go a long way in attracting new customers. You could also offer referral discounts to customers who recommend your business to others—because everyone loves saving money!
Interested to learn more?
Treat provides marketing support for eCommerce businesses on Shopify, Etsy and independent websites - and we support traders with retail shops and those that participate in Christmas markets across Torbay and Devon. We want to help you! Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or grab some time in our diary below!