Holiday eCommerce Planning: A Look Back At Unique Promotions From Past Years

Holiday-eCommerce Planning-A-Look-Back-At-Unique-Promotions-From-Past-Years

It hasn’t been that long since many of you may returned from a lazy vacation to the beach, so we know it’s probably hard to imagine the holidays are just a few weeks away now.

Yet, for the eCommerce retailer, that means your planning should begin as soon as possible. If you get a jump start on your holiday season goals and strategy, you’ll have a leg up on your competition.

The National Retail Federation tells us that the holiday season, traditionally defined as November and December, is the biggest time for retailers. They go on to say that retailers take in between 20-40% of their yearly sales during the holiday season.

With that much money on the line, we encourage you to get started with your planning now. To help you do that, we’re going to look at holiday eCommerce planning by taking a look back at unique promotions from past years.

Six Days of Gifting

Crio Brü, an etailer selling a brewed drink made from 100% cacao beans (also known as cocoa beans), ran a holiday promotion called the Six Days of Gifting.

For six days, they highlighted a different coupon. For example, one day was 25% off large bags of the drink, while another day a free small bag of beans with a purchase over a certain dollar amount.

They ran their promotion on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and through email. In addition, they utilized pay-per-click advertising on Facebook.

At the end of the promotion, on the last day, they asked fans to participate in a game on Facebook. Just for participating, people were entered into a drawing to win a product.

This unique promotion leveraged social media, email marketing and the company’s website as each social media post linked back to their website for shopping. The Six Days of Gifting is a knock-off of the 12 Days of Christmas.

Many companies use a clever rendition of the song to promote specific items on a limited number of days throughout the holiday season.

Win Your Christmas

In 2014, eight of New York City’s hottest fashion and style start-ups partnered together. They launched their own website at

They promoted the Ultimate Holiday Gift Giveaway through the eCommerce websites of all eight brands. The grand prize winner won nearly $1000 worth of fashion, beauty and fitness gifts.

This unique promotion brought eight companies together, thus increasing the reach of each retailer. Each brand promoted to their own email lists, social media accounts and on their websites thus bringing numerous extra holiday shoppers to each of the eight websites.

Banding together with other businesses expanded their reach and played a large part in increasing their holiday sales.

The Holiday Gift Guide

Online retailers like The Gap and J. Crew harnessed the power of email to send out their holiday gift guides. They gave online shoppers some direction and offered “help” in finding the perfect gift.

Both campaigns avoided coming off as the hard sell and instead were received as incredibly helpful from customers who needed guidance. J.Crew framed theirs as the Gift (Better) Guide. You can see why it worked, because who doesn’t want to “gift better?”

Gap used the power of the hashtag and called their guide simply #GiveThemGap. They promoted this online, through email and social media.

What makes these campaigns unique is that they framed their sales pitch in the form of giving. Instead of “why you should buy this,” their campaign both said, “let us help you find the perfect gift…here’s how.”

Dear Topshop

Online retailer, Topshop, ran the Dear Topshop holiday campaign that did several things – increased website traffic and sales and drove engagement on their Pinterest page.

Their holiday contest revolved around Pinterest. They asked people to create a board with the hashtag #DearTopshop that was dedicated to their Christmas day or holiday party.

Participants were then asked to pin content from the Topshop website and other online sites and submit them to their board.

Topshop then gave away shopping sprees and tickets to Fashion Week.

Macy’s Believe

This unique promotion involved charity. By taking a stand and making a donation, Macy’s increased customer’s feelings of good will toward the company.

They used the Macy’s Believe app on their website to collect letters for Santa. For each child’s letter they received, they donated $1 to Make-A-Wish. They even went one step further, promoting it with the hashtag #macysbelieve.

The Waiting Game

Online retailer Kate Spade created a unique spin on the video format by using an interactive, funny and engaging video as part of their holiday marketing strategy.

The video features comedic actress Anna Kendrick who returns from a day of holiday shopping only to realize she forgot her apartment keys.

In this ultra-human story line, Anna sits on her stoop, which is fully decorated for Christmas, with her dog, her Christmas tree and all of her holiday shopping bags. After trying to get someone to bring her keys, she notices the ladder hanging beside her apartment.

She then ties all of her Kate Spade clothing and shoe purchases together to reach the ladder, climbs up and opens her apartment.

Not only is the video great fun, but in the end, Kate Spade promoted a few of her top products one by one as they were used to rescue the heroine, giving the audience time to learn about Kate Spade’s products.

As our last look at a holiday promotion, we think this one particularly engaging. It involved humor, personalization, a real-life experience and a well-loved actress.Kate Spade was able to drive traffic back to her eCommerce site by using spot on product messaging and marketing strategy.

To Conclude

The road to the holidays isn’t as long as it might seem, so it’s time to get started planning your holiday marketing strategy. With online sales up 15% in 2014, and the economy looking good as we head into the fourth quarter, you can expect this year’s online sales to increase as well.

When’s a good time to start your holiday marketing push? Many eCommerce retailers see right after Halloween as a good time to begin. Your holiday marketing push then continues through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Your holiday marketing really doesn’t stop until after New Years as you can continue to push your after-holiday sale items as well.

This is your opportunity to drive sales and acquire new customers.Use some of the successful tactics mentioned here, or you can put a creative spin on your own.

By looking at holiday eCommerce planning and taking a look back at unique promotions from past years, we hope this helps you jump start your holiday planning.

Is your eCommerce website ready to handle holiday conversions? If not, or you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. What’s more, we guarantee your results. Contact us today. Make the move to higher holiday sales and profits starting today with our FREE site performance analysis!

Image: Jessica Neuworth

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