Refining Ecommerce Holiday Ideas and Promotions

by C Douglass on November 11, 2009


For many online retailers, the holiday season is the most productive time of the year. It is also a time for seasonal site updates, increased marketing and experimentation. We’ve compiled a list of ecommerce holiday ideas that can be tried and refined to benefit you for years to come.

Get Them in the Store

If we think of visiting a home page as similar to seeing a weekly ad or the outside of a retail store we realize we are still faced with the same challenge: getting them in the store to start shopping.

One effective strategy many big box retailers use year after year is offering loss leaders. A loss leader is a product sold at a significant discount (sometimes for little or no profit) in order to get customer in the store and shopping for related items.

This approach can work year round and is a fundamental key to success for some sites.

For the holidays, consider placing well designed ad sections on your home page (and throughout your site) highlighting these loss leaders as an entrance to shopping for holiday gifts.

Encourage Gift Giving

Use these ad sections as ways to help customers easily find gifts. Simply put, your focus should be on reminding them that your site is a great place to shop for gifts and to help them easily find them.

Other ways to encourage gift giving include:

Selling Gift Certificates at a Discount
This could be a great opportunity to not only encourage gift giving but to bring new customers to the site. In this case not only are you giving them a deal but you a giving a little extra in order to bring new referrals to the site.

Guarantee your Gifts will Arrive by the Holiday
Your visitors will feel much more confident buying from you if they can be certain your gift will arrive on time. More on this approach in our article: Increase Customer Confidence (and Profits) with Holiday Shipping.

Offer Product Bundles
Creating gift bundles using products you already carry can be a low cost way to improve the variety of gifts your site offers. See Increasing Holiday Ecommerce Sales Without Cutting Margins for more details.

Offer Free Gifts or Extras with Purchase
Offering extras like free gift wrapping or products over a certain amount can help make your site a convenient gift giving solution.

Offer a Wide Range of Gift Price Points
Make it easy to find gifts in a wide range of prices. Consider breaking your gifts selection up by price to make it even simpler for your customers. You may even have a section called Stocking Stuffers to suggest and encourage sales of smaller lower priced items.

Reach out to Existing Customers
Make sure to remind your existing customer base that your site is the place go for a fun, easy way to find the best gifts for their friends and loved ones. Use your mailing list to get the word out or even send a card to your top customers.

Test Your Approach

The increase in traffic over the holidays will help you find out what works in a shorter amount of time.

One example would be to run two different holiday ads on your home page. You can use an A/B testing tool such as the Google Website Optimizer to find out which ad is getting the best response and the most conversions.

This way you can quickly go with what is working and refine further from there.

After Christmas Sales

An after Christmas Sale can be dually beneficial. Not only will it help to boost sales after the holiday but it is a great way to reduce the amount of stocked inventory that you will be taxed on at the end of the year.

Take Notes for Next Year

Every holiday season that your site goes through is a great chance to present new ideas and learn from the results.

No matter how successful you are this holiday season you will surely have a list of ideas and improvements for the next time around. Every year is a chance to be more prepared and in turn more effective.


Please share any of your holiday marketing ideas in the comments below.

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