Holiday promotional campaigns are a common way for ecommerce businesses to increase sales, excite their customers, and grow brand loyalty.
But for every holiday, it seems like every ecommerce company is doing the same thing. How can you stand out and offer something truly special? The answer lies in appealing to conscious consumers who want to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday—and get something nice for themselves or a friend.
In this post, we show you exactly how to boost your sales without offering discounts. Plus, we’ve got a detailed list of every holiday you need to know about from New Year’s 🎉 to Christmas 🎄.
Keep reading for tips and examples to help you build your own holiday promo, and how to effectively appeal to conscious consumers.
There are different types of holiday promotions that you can run, and not all of them involve giving away discounts. Here are the most common types of holiday season campaigns for ecommerce stores.
Conscious consumerism is growing. Social inequities are being torn down. Climate activism is becoming mainstream. Consumers simply don’t care about the same things that they did twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. Getting a discount isn’t everything.
In our guide to cause marketing, we covered why more and more ecommerce companies are using aligned causes to grow sales and deepen customer bonds.
While cause marketing can absolutely happen year round, these campaigns can also be tailored to different holidays (which we cover later in this post).
Traditionally, giving back has been controlled by the brand. Customers buy things, and corporations donate a portion of their profits to worthy causes. Givz flips this on its head. With our platform, you can effortlessly set up give back campaigns that let your customers choose the charity they want to donate to.
Here’s an example of Givz customer Kencko sharing what their customers gave to. They analyzed the different organizations and found that 25.7% of donations went to animal-related causes, while 36.5% went to the environment (the highest of any category).
Not only does this put the power of donating in your customers’ hands, but it also gives you data into what they care about, which you can use in further campaigns. For example, you might use your Givz donation page to spotlight a few aligned charities for customers to choose from.
Another common promotion to use during the holiday season is volume discounts. Your most loyal customers might want to stock up for special events, like Independence Day, back to school season, or Easter.
Use data from customer orders to discover what volumes your best customers purchase in. To make the deal more accessible, you might look at your 60th percentile. Let’s take an underwear brand as an example. Your 90th percentile customers buy 6 pairs of underwear, but your top 60th percentile customers buy 3. If you want to make it easier for customers to access the deal, then you could make it $15 off 3 pairs (instead of $30 off of 6 pairs, which not as many customers would satisfy).
Here’s an example of how Wine.com encourages customers to purchase cases (12 bottles).
Besides the bar at the top of your website, you might also tell your audience about your give back campaign on social media and with a few promotional emails.
While a minimum order value is a popular choice among Givz customers, it’s not the only way to run a give back campaign that will increase your AOV. If you want to get a burst of new sales while deepening your connection with your audience, you don’t have to set a minimum.
Here’s an example from CBD company Prospect Farms. Any order qualified to donate $25.
Another common way to promote your business for a limited time? Discounts on minimum order values. This is a popular strategy that makes for great email campaigns and social media campaigns.
In this example, AE.com is promotingback to school shopping season with $50 off $150, $25 off of $100, and $15 off of $75. For anyone purchasing more than a few items for the start of high school or college, this is a pretty sweet deal.
And finally, site-wide sales are another smart holiday shopping strategy. Kylie Cosmetics does a site-wide sale from December 26 – December 30 to promote post-Christmas shopping.
In your promotions emails, make sure to put “sitewide” in big and bold font, as these sales emails tend to get high conversion rates. Customers might be willing to finally purchase something that they’ve been eyeing for a while.
So how do you run a stand-out promotional campaign?
We’re firm believers that while discounts do work for some holidays, they’re not a fit for every holiday or every brand. For example, during Pride Month, it can come across as very offensive to slap together a rainbow Instagram post and offer a 15% discount on a product that wasn’t designed for the LGBTQ+ community.
And some brands don’t want to discount their products, because their business doesn’t run on offering tons of SKUs but rather on offering a core line of products with infrequent fluctuations and additions.
What’s more, discount abuse is prevalent. Customers on the hunt for coupon codes might try to use ones that aren’t designed for their order.
Whatever your reasoning, a discount-free holiday campaign is sure to stand out in your audience’s email inbox and social media feeds.
You need to choose a software that offers a seamless customer experience for donating to worthy causes.
Givz is the only platform that allows you to set up give back campaigns as a percentage of all sales, or a flat rate when hitting an order minimum. For example, a customer could donate $10 to a charity of their choice after spending $50 with your store.
Givz works like this
You pay a monthly platform fee for access , or you contact us for volume pricing
Every holiday has it’s own unique holiday spirit (Christmas isn’t the only event that gets us in a special mood).
With the right software in place, the most important part of your holiday strategy is the concept and creative.
Create a brief and get alignment on it before assigning it to the implementers on your team. Here’s what to include in your brief:
Next, it’s time to set up and promote your campaign. With all of the above defined in your brief, it’ll be a lot faster to set up. Givz integrates directly with Shopify, so qualifying orders will automatically trigger the donation page. Shoppers will be able to choose one of the spotlight campaigns, or search the name of their favorite non-profit. You’ll also be able to view analytics to see how many qualifying orders were made, and how many customers completed the donation. Because not every customer will complete the donation, this is a more affordable strategy than discounts.
The top ways to promote your campaign are with a website banner, organic social media, influencer marketing, and email marketing. Make sure that the cause is front and center. For example, you could write something like, “It’s International Women’s Day! Donate $20 to educational nonprofits for girls and women for every $100 you spend.”
Most ecommerce businesses aren’t like big brands. They form deeper relationships with their customers and they offer the promise for a better, more sustainable, more equitable world. Here are three unique brands who used cause marketing as their holiday strategy.
In their emails, they let customers know how much had already been donated to entice more last-minute shoppers to get the deal.
Terez is an activewear brand that showed exactly how to do cause marketing right. Rather than sell low-quality rainbow gear in a shameless money grab, they offered to donate $25 for any order over $200. And they highlighted three LGBTQ+ charities on their donation page. Best of all, they even tagged these charities in the Instagram announcement post, so even non-purchasers from their audience could go and check out these non-profits and learn more about them. This is a great example of how to appeal to conscious consumers effectively and authentically.
Sakara, a home delivery service for healthy meals aligned their business with the perfect cause: Feeding America. The holiday season is a time when people want to help combat hunger even more.
For every order over $75, Sakara donated $30 to a charity of the customers’ choice, and featured Feeding America on the Givz donation page which pops up after a qualifying order.
A $30 donation for a $75 purchase is a very generous limited time offer, and one that is perfect for spreading awareness and holiday spirit.
There’s Christmas in July. There’s Cyber Monday. There’s Back to School. Besides the winter holiday season, there are so many different types of holidays that you need to know about. Not all of these will be the right fit for your store. Take a look and consider which ones you want to create a campaign for.
Depending on the type of campaign you want to build, you’ll need anywhere from 1 to 6 months in advance to give you plenty of time to create all of the marketing materials and page designs.
From January through December, here are all of the holidays that ecommerce store owners need to know about:
National holidays refer to the US.
A note about holidays and events aimed at celebrating disadvantaged groups: When celebrating holidays for disadvantaged groups, make sure that your holiday promotional campaign doesn’t come across as disingenuous. You’re better off creating a give back campaign (in which you generously donate a flat amount for higher-than-average cart orders), rather than offering discounts. You need to make the campaign about non-profit organizations helping these groups, not about your business and your profit.
A note about greenwashing: Don’t use Earth Day or Love a Tree Day as a way to just get more sales. This will only come across as extreme greenwashing, especially if your brand is not environmentally friendly. Create a give back campaign (instead of offering discounts), and make sure that you highlight organizations that conserve national forests or work to offset carbon emissions. If your business is eco-friendly, you could possibly offer a discount as a way for more people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. In this way, you’ll be using the discount to lower the barrier to entry. Of course, a give back campaign can be a perfect fit for eco-friendly brands too.
Conscious consumers can smell through BS labeling itself as compost. Trust us. And besides, as a modern brand-builder, you genuinely want to have a positive impact.
Here are some key takeaways for building effective holiday campaigns that foster goodwill towards your brand:
If you follow these strategies, you can create a holiday shopping experience that sets your company apart.