In 2022, over 38 days of holiday shopping madness, eCommerce spending went up to $3 billion.
Categories such as toys, apparel, appliances and electronics garnered maximum consumer interest.
As we enter the holiday window in 2023, it’s an opportunity for your eCommerce brand to maximize conversions—let’s go!
Holiday Marketing Hacks To Increase Sales in 2023
We’ve identified 32 holiday marketing ideas having worked with numerous clients to up their sales game for the holiday season:
1. Reimagine those bundles as gifts
To bundle effectively for the holiday season, you’ll have to step into the shopper’s shoes.
One way to make your bundles come alive is to notice which expensive gifts customers have been buying and then pair them up with cheaper & complementary products.
If you’re repurposing existing bundles as gifts, try naming them on a seasonal theme—for example, if you market a “traveler’s kit” during the non-holiday season, name it “Winter Wanderland Kit” to catch attention for the holidays.
You could also show holiday bundle popups on product pages, based on what product a shopper is viewing—the minute they begin to scroll down on the product page, you can show something like:
2. Finetune your homepage headline
Everybody talks about getting your website a holiday theme for the peak season.
But the part of your website that first needs this turnaround is your homepage header.
Set the tone, messaging and product options to match with what shoppers are looking for.
Here’s an example from Sephora—the brand across the years has chosen to highlight gifts by price and category and also call attention to those who’re shopping for the holidays.
3. Drive the perceived value
Your shoppers need to see why your products are packing the punch this holiday season.
So consider using messaging like: ”you pay X for products of 2X value” as one of your holiday marketing strategies.
In the example below, check how acdsee offers information on both the slashed full price of the bundle as well as how much the market pegs it at.
4. Go for a BOGO flash sale for gifters
A simple message that says “Get more of what you’d like to give” could work really well.
You can also run a BOGO offer on items that are already on sale.
5. Build anticipation for the next deal
What’s better than announcing a flash sale as a holiday eCommerce strategy?
Announce that the one you just did is a huge success—and the next one’s coming up soon & running on a countdown timer:
Planning your holiday marketing sales? Watch top brand examples to inspire your Christmas campaign!
6. Offer your best discounts—EARLY
You could position it as a pre-sale with the deepest discounts—in this case, you’ll have to state that you’re doing it before anyone else.
The other way to do it is through early access—introduce pop-ups, send emails and make sure to drive the urgency of it “ending soon!”
Or, announce a flash sale of a few hours on two consecutive weekends but don’t give both the dates away at one go—for the second, address “those of you who missed that massive sale, here’s another chance!”
Target those who’ve repeatedly bought from you for the past year for maximum effect.
Here’s an example of what you can communicate:
7. Entice last-minute shoppers with gift cards
If you’re giving out discounts early in the season (see last point,) consider offering a deep discount on gift cards too. In this case, just give them the freedom to buy with it anytime during the holiday season.
For last-minute shoppers, if you can launch gift cards for a limited time and pair them with wishlists they can share, that can work well too.
8. Offer more savings for higher spends
Tiered discounts work really during the holidays because most shoppers are looking to buy multiple items at the same time.
9. Build anticipation for a product drop
Just for the holidays, you can look at creating:
A product drop exclusive for members.
Exclusive versions of your best selling products.
A virtual waiting room during the entire duration of the product drop.
This is the kind of teaser you can use:
10. Highlight those trust signals
Not just on your product pages, but also on pages that drive early stages of the purchase decision: homepage and category pages.
In a sea of offers, placing trust signals early on can become a significant conversion driver:
11. Use super relatable copy
And that’s not just about using words like “warm,” “family” and “holidays.”
Speak to shoppers about the problems they could be facing in real-time while buying in the season—just like Everlane does:
12. Use “only here” discounts on Instagram
Instagram has finally almost caught up with Facebook in terms of how many shoppers will buy on the platform in 2023—it stands at 35% (against FB’s 37%.)
To extend your holiday season discounts to your audiences there, along with “Use code ABCD at checkout” you’ll also have to highlight “when you buy using the link below” or “when you buy using the link in bio.”
“Only here” discounts also typically help shoppers finish their purchases faster and abandon carts less.
13. Sell through clever price comparisons
When everyone’s highlighting discounts, you’ll have to bring in recommendations and also introduce a price spin to it—it’s one way you’ll get people to add to your holiday sales, just like this:
14. Start planning the “12 days of Christmas” campaign
Giving a great time to your email list during the holiday season will send word out.
One underrated way of doing this is to come up with your brand’s own version of “12 days of Christmas.”
Create an unbeatable mix of deals, recommendations & value-add content and you’ll be good to go!
Here’s how Tom’s does it:
15. Host a compelling giveaway
Social media giveaways work especially well when eCommerce brands want a spike in holiday sales.
They need to be simple, non-time consuming and have the capacity to become truly viral because of the product waiting at the end of the process.
To make it more compelling, ask participants to tag their friends in the comments so that visibility improves.
Here’s an example from Velvet Caviar:
16. Plug gifting into every purchase
This is one of the best ways of reestablishing your brand during the holiday season—look at what Starbucks does without saying shoppers should buy some gifts:
17. Upsell through “gift wrapping”
But make sure to highlight a free variant so that it does not seem too pushy—here’s how GAP does it and explains it all in sufficient detail:
18. Bring out holiday experiences through UGC
79% of shoppers anyway claim to depend on UGC to make sense of their purchases.
In the holiday season, you can drive your marketing from this angle—and turn up the emotional quotient of the shopping experience.
Here are some ideas:
Ask mystery box shoppers to record their unboxing experience (to incentivize this, promise them a discount for their next purchase.)
Run a “before/after” photo campaign where you feature before/after photos of products first just unpacked and then later used in some form—choose the best photos from the entries and reward the best two or three entries.
19. Show loyalty program benefits in the cart page
No matter how useful your loyalty program is, to holiday shoppers in a hurry it won’t often appear as a to-do.
This is why you’ll need to feature it where shoppers are most likely to notice it without fail: the cart page or the mini cart.
And just saying “Join our loyalty program for free to get discounts” may not be enough.
Tie it to the current purchase, say something like: “Join our loyalty program and get your current order at $X instead of $Y.”
20. Entice cart abandoners through free shipping
Cart abandonment rates quite obviously go up during the holiday season.
And cart abandonment emails, while having more than 40% open rate, can’t bring back all your abandoners.
That’s why you’ll need a slightly different holiday marketing idea:
For customers towards the bottom of the funnel, show up a limited time free shipping nudge in the cart page or just as they show exit intent trigger a limited time free shipping popup on the current purchase.
21. Win high value shoppers through exclusivity
To maximize conversions during the holiday season, you’ll have to wheel in those who buy repeatedly from you and also repeatedly spend more than others.
Use exclusivity to appeal to this bunch by:
Sending them “pre book” emails on certain high worth products—you could even do this if you’ve announced that you’re making a new product launch during this season.
Bringing in a category expert (let’s say you run a nutrition business and you bring in a recognized consultant or author) and promoting an invite-only Youtube live stream.
Announcing an exclusive discount on products these individuals have browsed so far but haven’t bought—make it clear no one else will be enjoying this price slash!
22. Use “early access” for email opt-ins
Once the holiday season sets in, shoppers get tired of seeing “get 10% off when you sign up” messages across brands.
You can instead give it a different twist: offer the discount but apply it on products that get over early.
Make the CTA text read something like: “Get early access” and for good measure, introduce a countdown timer.
23. Set up holiday-specific category pages
Leave no room for confusion when they set foot on your site—mention “Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or “Holiday Specials” as a separate category in your main navigation panel.
Ensure there are helpful sub-categories branching out from this like “gifts for him”, “gifts for her”, “holiday gift guide” and “custom gifts.”
24. Consider setting up price matching
44% of shoppers have claimed that they hang out online during the holidays just to compare prices.
This is reason enough for you to study competitor prices and set a pricing strategy competitive enough to use a “price match guarantee” label.
This can be one of your worthwhile holiday marketing ideas if you sell slightly more expensive products.
Check out Best Buy’s price match guarantee page to get some ideas on what would make sense to your business.
25. Make gift returns & exchanges super easy
Make it easy for the gift recipient to control this process—without having to loop in the person who paid for the gift in the first place.
To make this smooth, set up gift exchange options for every product—offer a few options that are like the original gift and some that are slightly different for the same price.
Also, extend your returns window to allow shoppers some extra reaction time.
26. Pick only chosen days for free shipping
While most eCommerce brands offer a free shipping threshold during the holiday season, you can take it a level up.
Announce that you’ll pick three to four days within the season, and all orders on those days will enjoy this benefit.
Put this up on your website, feature it in your newsletter and even send it out as email reminders.
Here’s how J. Crew did it for one of their seasonal campaigns:
27. Leverage mystery upsells to beat generic discounts
Why say “50% sitewide off” when you can say “50% sitewide off plus a Mystery sample of a bestseller.”
You can also personalize this for repeat buyers and nudge them to add a “mystery item you’ve browsed before” in their shopping cart.
28. Build social engagement through a price promo
To pack a punch, ask a popular affiliate or influencer to talk about your upcoming seasonal sale—ask them to offer a condition like “if this post reaches X number of likes, I’ll drop a special promo code for an additional discount.”
This kind of nudge can make social posts more viral.
29. Highlight alternate payment options to draw Gen Z
Because Gen Z represents the crowd that’s systematically avoiding the behemoths, smaller eCommerce businesses can really draw them in during the holiday season.
To do this, highlight multiple alternate payment options, especially BNPL ones that allow them to make multiple purchases without having to worry about immediate cash crunches.
Other ways to make most of this section of your shoppers?
Highlight sustainable packaging at an extra cost.
Donate a part of their spend on a sustainable cause.
30. Set up popular items as “free gifts”
You want shoppers to increase their spending through your holiday eCommerce strategy.
We’d suggest you look at the most popular search intent keywords to understand what is sitting high up on a shopper’s mind.
Storq does this by featuring one of their bestsellers as a free gift:
31. Offer a seasonal incentive for reviews & feedback
Since iterating your offers and messaging early on in the holiday cycle is absolutely crucial, set up incentives for reviews and feedback.
Instead of giving them a generic “20% off on your next order”, make it more specific by tying it into your seasonal styles and sales: “20% additional discount on current sale items just for you when you take this survey.”
32. Drive discount codes through influencer recommendations
So many brands send out discount codes through emails during the holiday season that yours are likely to be completely overlooked.
The way around this is to promote the same codes through influencers on their social channels—this way you can gain access to a completely different customer base for conversions: the influencer’s network and followers.
Here’s a tip: Align with influencers who’re naturally aligned with what you sell and stand by—for example, if you’re a makeup brand, tie up with a makeup artist; if you’re into supplements, aim to collaborate with fitness trainers and teachers.
4 Key Elements To Consider For Holiday Marketing In 2023
In helping clients clinch more conversions during the peak season we’ve identified 5 elements that will play a major role in influencing holiday sales in 2023:
1. Customer experience
During the holiday season, if you have to optimize customer experience you’ll have to especially focus on providing:
Immediate responses (through live chat, increase problem solving within one customer call)
Self-help resources (enrich your FAQs, make your policies more easily understandable, highlight them in key places)
Consistent support across channels (support staff need to pick up on customer data without shoppers having to repeat queries/problems etc.)
2. Email marketing
Another major factor that can make or break your holiday season conversions is the way you leverage email marketing.
Here are a few key things you can infuse into your email marketing for this time of the year:
Scarcity. Exclusivity. Curiosity. Gift guidance. Gift cards. Updates on sale extensions.
To appeal to shoppers during the holiday season through copywriting, you’ll have to:
Elaborate less on information and play more on emotion.
Use words that your audience will directly connect with the season.
Update your product descriptions to read more celebratory, in line with the holiday season.
4. Video content
This is a time when more shoppers need visual validation to buy confidently.
And this is why when you create the right kind of video content, your holiday sales can go up:
- Unboxing experiences
- How-to product videos
- Expert tips and suggestions
- Storytelling around products
How Do You Market During The Holidays?
Considering holiday sales have been growing at a rate of 4.4% year on year, it’s a great time to leverage your business strengths and market well—here are some important factors to remember:
1. Focus on personalizing experiences
The less generic you are in making your holiday sales, the better—personalize through dynamic content in your emails, introduce a holiday-specific quiz on the website, create gift guides based on the browsing & purchase history of a shopper for the whole year.
2. Leverage UGC
Run giveaways, offer incentives for tagging your brand in pictures, and highlight reviews in emails.
3. Optimize your site for experience & speed
Clear out your navigation to make gift finding easy.
Highlight gifts by budget and category on the homepage itself.
Craft some nudges that’ll convince shoppers to buy faster (think special bundle pricing pop-ups, rewards buttons etc.)
Run A/B tests specifically on above the fold content to improve conversions.
4. Make it easier to shop on mobile
Incorporate slide down cart views that shoppers can use to add/edit easily without having to leave the page.
Bring in “add to cart” buttons to whatever recommendations you make on the homepage.
Highlight social sharing buttons for more engagement.
5. Create a strong cart abandonment strategy
This won’t just involve sending some great discounts along with cart abandonment emails but also looking into existing areas such as delivery timelines, free shipping policy and product quantity restrictions.
When Should You Start Marketing For The Holidays?
Ideally between August and September, you should have planned around which audiences you’d want to target first, what kind of offers would make sense, when to announce the first early deal etc.
Use most of October and then November to build up the buzz until Thanksgiving through teaser and sneak peek communication across email, social media and your website.
Be UX ready for the holidays!
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Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.
And this is the problem Convertcart solves.
We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.
How we can help you:
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