How to plan and run a Christmas promotion

christmas promotion for your online shop

Published in Seasonal Marketing

Kicking off with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, customers are expecting more and more promotions, offers and sales in the run up to Christmas. Running a Christmas promotion for your online shop can bring customers to your website, and encourage them to make a purchase. If you do it right, then you can not only increase the number of sales, but also the average order value as well.

It’s never too late for a Christmas promotion

Wondering if you’ve left it a bit to the last minute to run a Christmas promotion? A successful promotion can take months of planning and preparation, but if you follow these steps to setting up your Christmas offers you can run a simple promotion in no time:

Planning - what’s your goal from the promotion?

You’ll need to decide whether you are trying to increase your number of customers, increase the number of orders placed by existing customers or increase your average order value - once you’ve picked one of these it will be easier to decide what kind of promotion to offer in the run up to Christmas.

Choose which kind of promotion

Now that you’ve established the goal for your Christmas promotion, it should be fairly easy to establish which type of offer will most suit your needs. For a simple way to boost pre-Christmas sales pick one popular item, or a handful, and offer a short-term discount to push people to buy now rather than putting it off.

Christmas promotion

If you think you can handle a bigger promotion then try one of these:

  • Money off if you spend a certain amount - encourage people to increase their average order value to get the discount. Try calculating your average order value for the last few months and offer a discount on all orders 10-20% over your average order value.

  • Money off everything or certain categories for a limited amount of time - push people to buy those things that they’ve been thinking about purchasing for a while.

  • Offer a discount for the future - If you give customers a discount code for a future date when they make a purchase now it will encourage them to come back again.

Free shipping

Offering free shipping is another quick and simple way of encouraging more customers in the run up to Christmas, especially if you also offer free returns. If people know that they can easily return something that’s not right they’re likely to spend more.

Offer free shipping

You can offer free shipping for a couple of days, encouraging people to buy everything they think they might want at once. Or, if you don’t already, offer free shipping when you spend a certain amount to increase average order values.

Budgetary constraints

Before you go crazy and take 50% off everything you sell online, sit down and work out what discount you can afford to do. Take a look at the margins for your products and what they would be with different offers. If you want to offer a big discount, make sure you pick products with a high enough margin that you don’t end up making a loss.

Also work out if you want, or need, to put a limit on the number of items sold at a discount, for example offer 20% off to the first 100 customers on a certain product (and if you do limit the offer, make it very clear to your customers).

If you don’t have a lot of time to work out your budgets and the different promotions you could offer, stick to a simple reduction on a few of your best sellers, or new products.

When to run your Christmas promotion

Start your Christmas promotion as soon as possible, you need to make the most of the rush of Christmas present shopping.

Ideally you would have started your Christmas promotion in late November, however there’s still time to get one up and running.

How long should a promotion run? That depends on the number of customers, your stock levels, and how much time you can give to running a promotion. If you do a flash sale - offer a discount for a very limited amount of time (one day, over a weekend etc.) - it creates a sense of urgency, but you need to promote it well so that people know it’s happening. Alternatively running a month long promotion will increase the opportunity for people to use the offer, but they might put off purchasing.

If you have the time, offer a series of different flash sales to keep customers coming back, or it could encourage them to sign up to a newsletter so that they know what and when the next offer is.

Promoting your offer

It’s pointless running a Christmas promotion for your online shop if no one knows about it. Use every means possible to let customers, and potential customers, know that you are running a promotion.
running a christmas promotion
You need to update the homepage of your shop so that the offer’s clear when someone first comes to your website, and add a message across your site so customers can’t miss it. You also need to use your social media accounts and mailing list to spread the word about your Christmas promotion.

running a christmas promotion

It’s not only important to let customers know that you’re running a promotion, but you also need to make them aware of exactly what they will be saving.

Ending the promotion

When the promotion is over remember to remove all signs of it from your website, social media pages and emails. Then make use of all the data you have from sales, and any tracking (google analytics etc) that you have set up to assess how successful your campaign was - use this information to work on improving your offers next year.

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About the author

Verity is a journalist and content producer at Zenstores.

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