We all know Black Friday and the winter holiday season can give ecommerce stores a much-needed sales lift at the end of the year. However, there are many other ecommerce holidays your online store can take advantage of to maximize traffic and increase orders.
You can build social media buzz by leveraging the big holidays in your sales calendar, drive traffic back to your store, and generate more sales. Key holidays like Valentine’s Day and Singles Day are opportunities you don’t want to miss. But why not take advantage of smaller holidays like National Selfie Day or Small Business Saturday to also drum up some engagement with customers?
Here are some great ecommerce holiday campaigns that caught our eye, plus a comprehensive list of major holidays throughout the year (and some lesser-known holidays). They can help your store keep things fresh and exciting every month while reaching your target audience.
Keep reading to get a copy of our free holiday marketing calendar.
Essential Ecommerce Holidays (with Campaign Examples)
New Year's Day (Jan. 1)
Consumers are eager to start the new year on the right foot, and one of the most common resolutions on the first day of the year is getting back into shape. Health and wellness brands can use this mindset to sell products and subscriptions that promote overall well-being. Supplements, gym equipment, and energy bars are all products that can appeal to many potential customers in the New Year.
Athleisure brands like Alo offered 60% off their online yoga classes for those who signed up in January. This marketing campaign is a great way to entice new customers with a steep discount, so they build strong habits early on and feel motivated to continue their subscriptions.
Since countries all over the world celebrate the New Year, this is a great way to connect with your global audience.
Lunar New Year (Jan. 22)
Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year) is a 15-day celebration in Asia that includes getting together with family, holding feasts, and exchanging red envelopes that contain lucky money to usher in the new year.
Many luxury brands celebrated the Year of the Rabbit in 2023 with limited edition products and whimsical bunny designs. Beauty brand Shiseido created a limited edition of their best-selling serum and offered a gift with purchase using the code LUCKY.
This is the perfect opportunity to reach customers who like to spend a lot during this time, especially if your store attracts or wants to attract more customers from East Asian countries.
Ecommerce Holiday Tip: To create a cost-effective Lunar New Year campaign, offer red envelopes with every online order. Each envelope can come with a mystery prize or a discount for their next purchase.
Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14)
Love day is a great way to celebrate with your partner. Valentine’s Day is a holiday you want to capitalize on if you sell products related to jewelry, flowers, or chocolates, plus self-care products like candles or bubble baths. If you find this holiday too cheesy, Galentine’s Day (Feb. 13) is also an excellent opportunity to celebrate platonic relationships with your best friends.
Skincare brand Osea offers a Build Your Own Duo promotion so customers can select one face and body product to get 20% off their order, plus free shipping. This is a great way to create a customized gift for your loved one.
April Fools Day (April 1)
This is a great time to show off your brand’s sense of humor and build rapport with your customers. Fool them by saying you will be unleashing a bizarre new product or service or scare them with the thought of their favorite product being out of stock. In return, your customers might spread the news in social media posts and drive engagement back to your site.
The possibilities are endless with this one. Just make sure to let them know that it’s only a joke!
Earth Day (April 22)
If your brand cares about sustainability and protecting the environment, this is a great opportunity to highlight your mission. Encourage your customers to recycle or give them tips on creating a low-waste lifestyle.
Donate part of the proceeds of each sale to an environmental organization. Or rethink your product packaging to be more carbon neutral. Customers, especially Gen Z, do notice when a brand is committed to being eco-friendly and see this as a major plus.
Mother’s Day (May 14)
For the mom in your life, this day is a great way to show appreciation through some much-needed self-care gifts. Businesses like Knix collaborated with mom influencer Sarah Landry for a curated Mother’s Day collection and offered a discount leading up to Mother’s Day.
Ecommerce Holiday Tip: As this is a sensitive holiday for some, make sure the language you use during this time is as inclusive as possible and give customers a chance to opt out of mother’s day email communication.
Labor Day (Sept. 4)
This day signifies the end of summer and the start of the school year. Now is the time to create a back-to-school sale or promotion leading up to Labor Day. This is a great opportunity to target Americans or Canadians as they aim to do a lot of their retail and online shopping before the school year.
Singles Day (Nov. 11)
As the biggest sales event in China, this holiday promotes singlehood with some major jaw-dropping discounts.
In 2019, Alibaba recorded over 1.3 billion orders during Singles Day and made over $38.4 billion in sales. After that success, many brands have also hopped onto promoting Singles Day. Brands often start their promotion at 11:11 (playfully referring to the date) and offer 11% discounts or more.
Fashion retailers like Uniqlo hold a one-day flash sale to drum up excitement and use bold colors and lettering to get customers to act quickly.
Black Friday (Nov. 24) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 27)
Customers expect steep discounts from brands during the biggest sales period of the year. Try to aim for at least a 30% discount, so customers feel excited about shopping at your online store during this time.
A common sales tactic during this time is to make a sitewide sale or use this as an opportunity to offer a steep discount for old stock so you can make way for newer products.
Brands like GAP offer generous discounts during this period and create landing pages for products at a lower price point for those who are more budget conscious.
Giving Tuesday (Nov. 28)
After the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a good time to reflect on your brand’s charitable contributions.
Create a marketing campaign that encourages customers to donate or donate a portion of every sale to an organization that’s close to your heart. Afterward, share the impact your brand and customers created via social media to create a sense of community.
Winter Holidays (Nov.-Dec.)
The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. Along with hot chocolate and candy canes, there are also a ton of great online sales and limited-edition holiday items up for grabs when it comes to gift-giving.
Create curated gift guides for your customers at different price points and offer advent calendar-style sales, so every day during the holiday shopping season feels exciting and memorable.
Brands like David’s Tea do a great job of building excitement with their festive advent calendars that allow customers to sample a range of teas. This sampler set is a great way to try more of their products and encourage more holiday sales.
Boxing Day (Dec. 26)
The day after Christmas means major online deals from all your favorite brands. This is a good time to offer discounts on your limited edition holiday-related products that can’t be sold the next year, and many brands use bold type and the color red to emphasize these cost savings.
Niche Ecommerce Holidays
There are a ton of smaller holidays you can add to your marketing calendar as well, depending on your niche. Below are a few to get you started!
National Pet Day (April 11)
Who doesn’t love a furry friend showing up on their feed? Show off your cat, dog, or bunny using your product or service and melt the hardest of hearts. If you are a cruelty-free brand, this is also a cheeky way of advertising your love for animals and stance against animal testing.
National Selfie Day (June 21)
Encourage customers to take a selfie with your product and upload it onto social media with your branded hashtag. This is a great way to drum up social engagement with your loyal fans and drive traffic back to your website with some user-generated content you can repurpose.
Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25)
Highlight milestones you’ve achieved during your business journey and your small but mighty team, and celebrate your peers with a small business group giveaway. Encourage your followers to #supportsmall and remind them how each purchase benefits your small business rather than some faceless corporation.
Ecommerce Holidays Checklist For Campaigns
Now that we’ve looked at some key holiday dates and campaigns, here’s a handy guide you can refer to when gearing up to create your own holiday campaign.
1. Do some competitive research
Take a look at competitors in your niche to see when they start promoting leading up to a key holiday so you can establish the start and end date in your yearly marketing and sales calendar.
For example, most brands usually start promoting their Valentine’s Day specials during the last two weeks of January until mid-February.
Doing research can also allow you to see what incentives other brands offer. Is it a discount or a gift? To make your offer attractive, you must complete and deliver on packaging and value.
2. Sourcing new products and materials
If you want to offer a gift with purchase or minimum spend, try to predict how many units you will need during the sale and work out a timeline with your vendor to receive the finished product. Make a plan B if you run out of your GWP and need a secondary product to give out to customers.
3. Create your image and copy assets
Create visuals you can use on your ecommerce site and online ads to get the message across about your promo. Since you only have a short window to grab people’s attention, make sure your images, GIFs, or short videos are impactful.
The copy should be direct, and the offer should be clear. Include disclaimers so it's clear when the promotion starts and ends, plus if there are any conditions (e.g., customers can only use a discount code once).
4. Tease campaign
Start teasing your campaign over social media and email to get your customers excited. You don’t want to do this too early or risk cannibalizing sales. Find the sweet spot of getting your customers' attention and getting them excited to spend.
5. Make a promotion day checklist
It’s easy to forget a thing or two during a big promotion day. Make a list of what needs to go live and the order in which it needs to go out—whether it's your email blast, Instagram post, or homepage website banner—so customers have a cohesive experience and there is no confusion.
6. Keep a close eye on your customer support email or DMs
It’s normal for a campaign to glitch or go sideways, we’ve all been there. Whether you’ve run out of stock too early in the promotion or suddenly find out that the “add to cart” button on your website is suddenly glitching, it’s essential to keep an eye on your support email or messages on social media. Customers will tell you if their buying experience is less than stellar!
Have someone on your team monitor customer complaints and feedback closely so you can pivot when needed.
Make sure to check out this article for more holiday ecommerce tips
Bookmark or save this ecommerce holiday calendar for your ecommerce business, so you never miss a sales opportunity again.
Ecommerce Holidays: Celebrate And Convert
Luckily, there are many holidays to choose from when creating your holiday marketing calendar. Pick and choose which holiday resonates the most with your brand. Or even create your own brand holiday to celebrate!
A robust holiday calendar can prevent your online store from entering a dry spell and build a continuous buzz throughout the year. The trick is to get people talking, following, sharing, saving, and commenting on your innovative and exciting campaigns. It's the perfect opportunity to celebrate with your customers and turn those leads into conversions and ecommerce sales.
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