How to Get Ready for the Ecommerce Holiday Season
This article was written by Bernard Meyer.
Getting prepared for the upcoming ecommerce holiday season can be very overwhelming, especially if you’ve never really had to do it before.
You’re running around trying to figure out where to put your most energy and find that you’re not gaining a lot of ground. It can seem almost impossible.
But what if it didn’t have to be?
You may not know it, but there’s a way for you to get prepared for the entire ecommerce holiday season by preparing only for the most important dates.
Not only that, but you can use this opportunity to really boost your sales by targeting the right audience at the right time.
In today’s post, I’ll show you which are the most important shopping days this holiday season and how you can best prepare for them to make sure you get great sales.
Start Big in November
No doubt, November is the kick-off for the biggest shopping holidays of the entire year.
For Western markets, the ecommerce holiday season is beginning shortly with Black Friday. But in China, the shopping season got off to a great $25 billion start on Singles Day (Nov. 11).
But luckily for us, it isn’t over yet. There are some big, important days left in November.
Thanksgiving (November 23, 2017)
Let’s be clear here:
Thanksgiving isn’t really a day you should be starting your campaigns.
For the most part, Americans are busy eating their turkeys, and for the rest of the world, it’s just an ordinary Thursday.
But it is a good time to make sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed, because the mad rush begins pretty much the next day, if not a bit sooner.
You should be sending out your email marketing campaigns on the Monday before Thanksgiving, but not starting your sales until Thanksgiving night or on early Black Friday.
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Black Friday (November 24, 2017)
This is the big day, the official beginning of the highest yearly shopping season.
Each year the shopping day gets bigger, and you should be sure that your emails are already sent early enough that your subscribers have read them.
But how can you make sure that they’re opening your emails in the first place? After all, every single competitor is sending out emails as well.
That’s why you need two things:
- make sure you’ve sent the emails out well in advance (starting even the Monday before Black Friday)
- make sure your subject lines are attractive enough
Omnisend data showed that the right subject lines can really improve your Black Friday campaigns. The highest-converting words to use in subject lines include:
- Black Friday
- % (the percentage sign)
With a combination of these terms, you’ll get great open rates, great click rates, and high sales. You can even use these terms (besides “Black Friday”) for these other shopping days to increase your conversion rates overall.
Cyber Monday (November 27, 2017)
Earlier, Cyber Monday had more significance, seeing as it was meant to be the digital version (ecommerce) of Black Friday (brick and mortar).
However, over the years it’s only become an extension of Black Friday, as more and more traditional stores have opened online channels to reach more customers.
When it comes to your ecommerce holiday season strategy, look to Cyber Monday as officially the final day of your Black Friday weekend sales.
However, it really shouldn’t be. On Cyber Monday, send an email stating that you’re making a special extension for one more day only.
That way, your sales are really ending only on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, giving your customers more time to grab up your amazing offers (and for you to get last-minute sales).
Keep the momentum going in December
Just because of the Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend is over, that doesn’t mean you should decrease your promotional activities.
Instead, you need to keep the momentum going by focusing on the remaining big shopping days of the year.
Green Monday (December 11, 2017)
Originally a term created by eBay to discuss their biggest sales day of the year, Green Monday usually falls on the second Monday of December.
It is the day that most shoppers believe to be the cut-off for postal services to deliver their products before Christmas.
For that reason, it’s a good day for big last-minute shopping for gifts. You should then keep some of your sales for that day as well since the competition is much lower compared to Black Friday.
Free Shipping Day (December 15, 2017)
Because of the belief mentioned above, that Green Monday was the cut-off day to receive products before Christmas, retailers decided to create the Free Shipping Day.
As of 2013, the rules were changed to only allow those ecommerce stores that can guarantee absolutely free shipping with no limitations.
Over the years, it’s grown dramatically, hitting $1.5 billion in sales in 2015 (as you can see in the chart below):
If you have a dropshipping business with long shipping times, it may not be the day for you, as the products probably won’t arrive there by Christmas.
However, if you have fast shipping, you should definitely use this opportunity to get some great sales.
Super Saturday (December 23, 2017)
Most of the big-ticket items are bought over the Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend. Products purchased after that tend to be smaller in price and significance.
This is especially true for Super Saturday, which is also known as Panic Saturday. Although originally intended for brick and mortar stores, you can use this as an opportunity to sort of “clear out your inventory.”
Communicate to your visitors that the products (probably) won’t arrive before Christmas, but that you’re getting out all the items you didn’t sell for Christmas. While this type of sale is normally done after Christmas day, or even in early January, there’s no reason for eCommerce stores to follow those traditional rules.
Get ahead of your competitors by planning for post-Christmas sales before Christmas even happens.
Expand your holiday season
Because most ecommerce stores are only focusing on the Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend, you can help extend your holiday season by including these other shopping days.
That way, you can not only get great sales during that mega weekend, but you can also continue getting sales all the way until Christmas.
With proper planning and zoning in on the most practical and profitable shopping days, you can help get great sales this holiday season.
Bernard is a content marketer with a passion for good research and helping ecommerce businesses with their email marketing needs. You can find him on Twitter (twitter.com/bernardgmeyer) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/bernardgmeyer).