2016 E-Commerce Holiday Promotional Calendar: Key Sales Dates and Helpful Tips


September 11, 2016

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The holiday season will be here soon and as a retailer, this can be both exciting and scary. On one hand, the opportunity to make money during the holiday shopping season is astonishing. E-commerce holiday revenue accounts for up to 30% of a retailer’s total annual revenue.


On the other hand, this 2-3 month window for holiday shopping requires a lot of preparation, promotional marketing, conversion rate optimization, and execution. To ease some of the stress you may be feeling, I’ve provided a list of all important e-commerce sales dates along with some tips on how to engage and market to your shoppers. We’ll also be rolling out new holiday content every week this months so stay tuned!


October 31 – Halloween


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Everyone’s favorite sweet and spooky holiday requires some spending. People will be shopping for costumes, decorations, candy and more.


What to Do:


Reach out to shoppers early with Halloween content and product collections. Think email campaigns, social posts, and even a Pinterest board. Halloween is a holiday where you can capitalize on planners and shoppers who want convenience. Hit them early and often!


 


November 8 – Election Day (U.S)


The Super Bowl of politics. With the story lines surrounding this year’s election, this could be a good opportunity to engage leads and customers.


What to Do:


Create some political themed content, send out clever emails, and even consider running a sale. Meme and GIF usage will be at an all time high.


November 11 – Veteran’s Day (U.S.), Remembrance Day


Veteran’s day is a federal holiday in the U.S. to honor our military veterans. Remembrance Day is its international equivalent. This holiday has become a big sale day for retailers and the start of the busy holiday shopping season.


What to Do:


This is an opportunity to announce your upcoming holiday promotions and generate early traffic to your site. Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion starts now! Send out email blasts and implement an email pop up to capture new leads and drive early sales with a cart abandonment promotion.


November 24 – Thanksgiving


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Thanksgiving is a great time for friends, family, football, and most importantly food! It also marks the beginning of the most hectic time for online retailers. Enjoy yourself but find some time to go through some last minute checks before the crazy shopping begins.


What to Do:


This is a great time to send out Black Friday and Cyber Monday reminders with a holiday theme. Enjoy this holiday and use it as a purpose to reach out.


November 25 – Black Friday


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The biggest day of sales for retailers! Black Friday means increased traffic, motivated shoppers, and giant sales. This is the start of the most lucrative shopping weekend of the year.


What to Do:


Email your list regularly during the couple weeks leading up to Black Friday with details on how they can save. Engage your visitors with enticing on-site promotions featuring discounts and free shipping options.


November 26 – Small Business Saturday


This shopping holiday is about encouraging people to support local and small businesses. Whether you’re a small local business or a savvy ecommerce brand, encourage your shoppers to support your brand and its vision.


What to Do:


At the very least, this is a great way to drive some traffic to your site through email and social. Showcase your story and build a connection with your shoppers and customers. You may just close some holiday sales!


November 28 – Cyber Monday


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The largest sales day for ecommerce. This shopping holiday was created back in 2005 and has quickly grown into a big draw for retailers and shoppers. Last year, Cyber Monday accounted for more online sales than Black Friday so you need to get your promotions together!


What to Do:


Drive traffic to your site via email campaigns, content, and paid ads. Convert that traffic with specific Cyber Monday promotions on your site.


November 29 – Giving Tuesday


Donate a portion of your revenue to a charitable cause this holiday season. This is a marketable sales day and you’ll be spreading the holiday cheer!


What to Do:


Consider running a promotion based on donating a portion of revenue to a charity. This allows you to engage holiday shoppers via email, drive sales during Giving Tuesday, and help those who are less fortunate during the holidays.


December 12 – Green Monday


Green Monday is the largest online sales day in December, especially since there are still plenty of motivated shoppers looking to cross items of their lists.


What to Do:


Run sales promotions on your site with a holiday themed pop up. Strongly consider offering free shipping because as the big holidays approach, shipping will be a strong deciding factor.


December 14 – Stamp and Ship Day


This is the last day to order Christmas gifts with standard shipping.


What to Do:


Remind shoppers that they should order by December 14th to receive gifts on time. This reminder could also be paired with a free shipping promotion. Use a countdown timer to create urgency and drive sales.


December 18 – Free Shipping Day


A day in which retailers are encouraged to offer free shipping with delivery in time for Christmas Eve. The event has grown in popularity and is an excellent driver of sales from businesses that participate.


What to Do:


Offer free shipping on orders if it makes sense with your margins. You can also use free shipping thresholds to increase your order sizes. For example, if my average cart size is $ 50, then I would offer free shipping on orders of $ 75 or more. This increases cart sizes and makes free shipping more accessible for your business.


December 21 – First Day of Winter


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Game of Thrones. That’s all I have to say.


What to Do:


The first day of winter could be used to promote last minute holiday sales or winter specific products. However, I think the best use of this day is some Game of Thrones themed marketing. Whether it’s emails letting shoppers know that “Winter is Coming” or a promotion on site, have some fun with this day.


December 23 – Festivus, Gift Card Day


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Frank Costanza would be proud to see his self-made holiday on this list. The faux holiday made famous by Seinfeld continues to gain popularity since the holiday episode aired back in 1997. Use Festivus as a fun way to engage shoppers on site, with emails, and on social media.


What to Do:


If you’re a Seinfeld fan, have some fun with this whole Festivus thing. Consider themed emails and promotions featuring classic Festivus moments. For a more traditional approach on December 23rd, run a gift card promotion. Holiday shoppers this late into the season are looking for easy gifts for people on their list. Offer your shopper’s a $ 120 gift card for $ 100. Shoppers think they’re receiving 20% off but they are actually receiving a 16.6% discount.


December 24 – Christmas Eve, Hannukah begins


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The 8 day festival begins on the 24th and ends on January 1st. Be sure to send out Hannukah themed emails to drive traffic to your site.


What to Do:


Content like “8 Gifts Ideas for Hannukah” or “Free Shipping in time for Hannukah” is engaging and will get shoppers on your site. Be sure to have an on-site promotion to help drive these shoppers to purchase.


December 25 – Christmas


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Time to sit back and relax by the fire. Take Christmas off for a much needed day of rest from the busy holiday season. Don’t rest too long though. There’s plenty of revenue to get rid of with clearance sales starting on the 26th.


December 26 – Boxing Day, Coupon Code Day


The day after Christmas is a day for returns and exchanges which means you’ll be dealing with an increase in traffic and customer service requests. Be sure to handle these requests as best as possible. These interactions are critical in keeping customers happy and getting them to come back in the future.


What to Do:


Use this time to push clearance items and specials to appeal to shoppers who are still in the gift buying mode.


January 1 – New Year’s Day


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It’s a new year! Reflect on your 2016 success while also acknowledging where you can improve.


What to Do:


Time to start fresh by clearing out all of your excess inventory. Here’s how to run more effective clearance sale promotions.


Wrapping It Up


The holiday shopping season provides a ton of opportunities for you to sell your products. This busy time of year also brings a lot of competition from other retailers. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your holiday promotions.



  • Engage shoppers with an email pop up or sales promotion. This is the time to capitalize on increased traffic. Be pro-active and actively convert your traffic.


  • Meet your shopper’s needs. Shoppers are looking for a low price and free shipping. Provide shoppers with what they are looking for and they are much more likely to stay on your site and purchase from you. Use promo codes and free shipping promotions to your advantage to convert more sales.


  • Don’t overlook the smaller sales days. The big sales days bring lots of demand but also competition. By also focusing on the overlooked sales days, you can cut through the noise and your marketing message should get more exposure.
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Author: Grant Thomas


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