Posted on Oct 4, 2018

Creative Holiday Sales and Promotion Ideas

It’s hard to believe, but the 2018 holiday season is approaching fast. And if you’re a small business owner or e-commerce website owner, you probably don’t need to be reminded of how important it is to prepare for holiday shoppers each and every year.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online in 2017 during the five-day holiday weekend from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. And that was only for one weekend. Every year, millions of people around the world spend billions of dollars during the holidays, in stores, and online. And during this time of year, businesses usually earn 20 percent or more of their total earnings for the entire year.

To fine-tune your existing marketing strategy and support, and to stay ahead of your competition during the holidays this year, here are a few additional holiday sales and promotion ideas to get you started.

Give Away Free Samples and Items, and Offer Discounted Pre-Packaged Offers

If you want to generate more traffic in your store, whether it’s brick-and-mortar or online, give away free samples. Offering free samples is especially helpful when you have a skincare line or sell food products. People want to try it before they buy it. If nothing else, it will keep a steady stream of customers rolling into your doors. Who wouldn’t want a sample of a delicious cookie or treat while they’re out holiday shopping for hours? Or who wouldn’t want to receive a free sample of lip gloss in the mail with their online makeup order? Even if they don’t buy anything right then and there, people who visited your store will remember what you offered. And you’ll also have an opportunity to test out new products to see what people like and want to buy more of later.

You can also offer customers free items with their purchases. For instance, offer a free makeup bag when customers buy a certain amount of makeup. Offer them one free sweater when they buy three. And so on. Offering free items with purchases is especially helpful for shoppers who have a lot of people to buy for on their lists.

You might sell more pre-packed items if you offer them at a discounted price. It’s very rare that customers will find everything they want in a pre-packed basket or box, so mark them down so customers know they are getting a great deal, and you can rack up sales on multiple items instead of one.. For instance, a box of five bath-related products or an assortment of travel items could be discounted. You might also offer build-your-own promotions, where customers can receive a discount on select multiple items to put in a box or basket.

Offer Free and Unique Gift Wrapping and Free Expedited Shipping

Always offer free gift wrapping during the holidays, especially if the items are bought online. A lot of customers would prefer for gift items purchased online to be sent directly to the intended recipients. But they still want them wrapped. So, when you send these wrapped items, include unique wrapping from your brand and include unique boxes and packaging that stands out from your competitors. This will make your brand and items more memorable to each recipient.

Be prepared for a lot of last-minute orders and offer free expedited shipping during the last few days before Christmas. Not only will your customers appreciate the gesture during the holiday giving season, they’ll receive them on time. And they’ll be more willing to buy from you again in the future if you make this stressful time easy for them.

Insert Personalized Messages and One-Time Offers with Items Sent as Gifts

It might be second nature to only think of those who are buying as your customers, but this isn’t always the case during the holidays. When people buy something from you and give it to someone else as a gift, the recipients become your customers and prospective customers. And this gives you a unique opportunity to establish more relationships and convert even more customers into regular buyers. So, don’t forget about the gift recipients who will actually be using or enjoying your products. Give them special offers, too, so that they can get additional products from you. And personalize gift messages that welcome new customers. Let them know that their experience with your product is important to you.  

Include Free Gift Cards and Additional Coupons with Large Orders

When your customers spend a lot of money with your business, offer them easy ways to get even more during the holidays. For instance, you could offer a $25 gift card to customers who spend over $400, or provide a coupon offer that’s valid at the beginning of the year for 20% off any item in your store. These kinds of loyalty programs will keep customers coming back to you for more throughout the holidays and even after the season, when their cash flows are limited again.

Create Interactive Holiday Displays

Whether you do it yourself or hire an expert, build fun holiday displays that are interactive and will highlight items on sale. For instance, you could allow children to build with building blocks in your toy store and challenge them to make Santa’s workshop. Or you could have customers select their favorite holiday songs on a tablet display inside your technology store. Customers who are interactive and engaged will stay in your store longer. Some may even be convinced to buy the products that they’re interacting with.

Incorporate Holiday Storytelling into Your Video Content

Video is extremely popular and effective. People are more likely to click on emails and view social media posts containing video content. So, when you share videos for holiday offers and promotions, incorporate holiday stories into your product promotions and sales. Tell viewers that Rudolph wants to buy your new line of energy-efficient light bulbs that are now 25% off, or that Santa is trying to get in shape with your new line of exercise equipment before he delivers gifts around the world and eats thousands of cookies that children leave for him.

Strategically Partner with Other Businesses or Groups

During the holidays, join other established businesses and entities to promote sales and products. This works especially well when newer businesses team up with well-established businesses that are better known to your target customers. For instance, a small shop that sells musical instruments might want to join forces with the local orchestra or choir to promote instruments, share holiday music, or host a benefit concert. And a cookie shop might want to partner with a local organic farmer to make and sell favorite holiday treats.

Organize and Promote Holiday Pop-Up Shops

According to information parsed by Shopify, the professional pop-up shop industry has grown to approximately $10 billion in sales. Pop-up shops appear just about everywhere and anywhere you can imagine, including online. So, this holiday season, pick a place with high pedestrian or website traffic to sell novelty items or unique gifts, promote your business, and boost sales. Read Why You Should Consider a Holiday Pop-Up Shop published by Shopify for more information and details on what they are and how they work.

Host Holiday Events or Fundraisers Relevant to Your Business

The holidays are certainly a time for giving, and that means more than giving to friends and family. You should remember to give back to your local community and to those who are responsible for the success of your business. The opportunities here are endless.

You can start promotions of giving in which a portion of profits generated during the holidays will be donated to your local homeless shelter or a nonprofit of your customers’ choice. If you have the space, you host a holiday event geared toward children. Small bookstores, for instance, could have a special story time with Santa a few days a week leading up to Christmas or organize a book drive for nonprofit literacy initiatives.

Whether you’re promoting a new business website or trying to get more sales inside your brick-and-mortar store this holiday season, use some of the ideas outlined above to get started on effective holiday sales and promotions that are unique to your own business and industry, and beat out your competition.