From your email campaigns to releasing timely content to seasonal promotions, planning how to best leverage major ecommerce milestones in the upcoming year will give you a leg up on the competition.
And once you’ve got a solid marketing strategy set for these cash-flowing events on your calendar, you can hone your strategy every year to keep increasing margins.
Everyone knows about the big sales on Black Friday and leading up to the holidays. But there’s probably at least a few major ecommerce dates that you didn’t realize could be so lucrative—like who knew Halloween was one of the top 5 ecommerce dates of the year? Looks like shoppers love to trick-or-TREAT themselves! (We will accept a pity laugh here).
And putting more important ecommerce dates on your marketing calendar is just the first step. Knowing how to to leverage these dates strategically could be the key to seeing increased leads and conversions this year—even during those spring and summer lulls.
Here’s your guide to making the most out of every major ecommerce event in 2018:
2018 Major Ecommerce Dates:
2/14/2018: Valentine’s Day
- Valentine’s Day is the first major ecommerce sales date of the year.
- Cart abandonment at this time is high: 76% for retail, and 86% for travel.
- Play up this day of love—people are looking for the best restaurants in the city, cheap deals on romantic getaways, and new outfits and makeup for the big night
- Not to mention how many Americans are buying flowers, cards, chocolate, and other romantic gifts for their sweetheart
- Design an ad for AdWords or Facebook featuring a holiday-relevant product or service for the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day (and keep your promotions going the day of—we’re all guilty of scrambling for last-minute gifts)
3/17/2018: St. Patrick’s Day
- Americans spent over $5 billion on green clothes and festive accessories for St. Patrick’s Day in 2017
- Create a St. Patrick’s Day promotion to engage shoppers and push traffic to your site—include a holiday discount or free shipping
- Choose a festive design for green emails, social, & on-site promotions
4/1/2018: April Fool’s Day
- Back to school shopping starts as early as April
- This is a day when companies try to bring levity and fun to their brand messaging and end up either entertaining or enraging their audience (pro-tip: don’t be the second one)
- Build brand voice and entertain your audience through tasteful, appropriate humor—don’t promise your customers something they’re not actually going to receive, or pretend a cataclysmic human crisis is on the horizon (“Just kidding! You can come out of your bunker now, suckers.”)
- Don’t plan on releasing important information or news on April 1st, as anything you say could be taken as a joke to your users
- Get geared up for a first back-to-school product reveal and early-bird promotions once the holiday is over
- Bust out the pastel sundresses and bermuda shorts —your customers are looking for warmer-weather deals and spring merchandise
- Reach out to your email list with festive promotional messaging
- Offer an “Easter egg” hunt on your site over Easter weekend—hide egg icons throughout your site that offer pop-up promotions, prizes and deals when found and clicked
4/22/2018: Earth Day
- Earth Day is a big promotional favorite for outdoor brands
- Even if you’re not a hiking boot brand or a climbing equipment company, this is a great time to partner with environmental brands on promotions and find opportunities to give back to the environment
- Choose an environmental organization or cause that aligns with your brand’s mission and donate a percentage of all proceeds from Earth Day’s sales
- Swap out any banner ads on your site with promotional banners to build hype
- Run paid social ads to get the word out about the promotion and send an email blast to your list
5/13/2018: Mother’s Day
- Mother’s Day the third largest retail holiday in the US
- Americans typically spend over $20 billion on moms for Mother’s Day
- Key products sold on Mother’s Day: jewelry, flowers, clothing, electronics and gift cards
- Offer targeted promotions for Mother’s Day shoppers a few weeks out
- Team up with an industry influencer to create a unique gift-guide for moms using your products or services
- Use paid social campaigns to target moms and offer promotions that allow them to treat themselves
5/28/2018: Memorial Day
- Memorial Day is both the kickoff off of summer and a big day for sales on the retail front
- Although in general it’s effective to try to connect your brand with current events, holidays like Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day call for tact and respect for the culture of the holiday
- Memorial Day is a time to tactfully and respectfully honor American troops, so if you do host a Memorial Day promotion, it should be centered on giving back to organizations that benefit troops
- Don’t make your social followers or email list cringe with exploitative posts that can be seen as disrespectful—like some of these major Memorial Day marketing fails
- Show appreciation for the men and women who have served by offering special promotions and discounts to veterans
- For example, veterans can receive free shipping or 20% store wide
- Offer relevant and fun Memorial Day content like blogs with seasonal recipes that feature food from your grocery store, or craft ideas using products your hardware store sells, or Memorial Day outfit ideas coordinated from the clothes sold in your boutique.
6/17/2018: Father’s Day
- Just like mother’s day, your shoppers are looking for unique and valuable gifts for dad
- Build your brand trust by providing your audience with relevant and engaging content: from the best gifts for dad to best locations to spend Father’s day, this is a perfect time to support Father’s Day sales and build your blog library
- Partner with an industry influencer to create a unique gift-guide for dads: think beyond ties and mugs to market unique gift ideas that will get traction with your audience
7/4/2018: Independence Day
- July is the slowest month for e-commerce.
- Sales dipped by 30% in 2016, compared to big sales months like December.
- Use this time to run a lead generation campaign to build your email list.
- Leading up to the holiday, offer fun and seasonal sales on red, white and blue products
- Build your blog with engaging holiday content like tasty Fourth of July recipes that use ingredients from your market, holiday decoration ideas that use your company’s products, or a style guide featuring red, white and blue clothes and accessories that are sold by your boutique.
- A “Christmas in July” sale is a creative way to bring in sales during this slow month
- Consider an automated email sequence or retargeting campaign to keep your brand on your audience’s radar during this dry spell and to keep eyeballs on your brand until back-to-school time
9/3/2018: Labor Day
- Labor Day is a big travel weekend as families try to squeeze the last few days out of summer before the kids go back to school
- Customers are looking to take advantage of the last days of the season and to start back-to-school shopping
- Present a first reveal of your fall products through an email sequence and offer early bird shopping discounts
- Be prepared with a fall photo shoot and fall branding and design for banner ads and social posts
- Halloween is one of the top 5 ecommerce holidays
- Free shipping was named the most valuable online shopping promotion for Halloween buyers in 2015.
- Not many ecommerce sites sell candy and costumes, but everyone can benefit from the Halloween ecommerce uptick
- Create fun, seasonal sales promotions leading up to Halloween
- Offer free shipping!
- Online shoppers spent $15.12 billion on the Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving in 2017
- Search advertising drove over 20% of sales from paid social media, direct traffic made up almost 30%, and email contributed to almost 20% of sales over the Thanksgiving weekend
- Many people are checking their emails for Thanksgiving deals well before the holiday hits
- Send out holiday-themed Black Friday and Cyber Monday reminders to your email list and social followers so you’re on their radar before the big shopping weekend
- Design banner ads for your site and create a sales page before Thanksgiving to direct site uses to
11/23/2018: Black Friday
- Around 108.5 million Americans shopped online over the Thanksgiving Break (including Black Friday) in 2018
- Black Friday accounted for over $3 billion in online sales in 2016
- Black Friday saw over $1 billion in mobile sales in 2016
- Desktop conversion rates are 2 times higher than mobile conversion rates
- Email marketing was responsible for the most holiday sales, generating over 25% of all Black Friday sales in 2015
- GO BIG
- Start planning for Black Friday in Q2 by upgrading shopping apps and introduce mobile payment apps
- Use social media advertising to get your deals in front of as many people as possible. While you can cast a wide net with Facebook’s targeting, you can build warmer audiences on Facebook by uploading your existing email list or targeting previous site visitors based on your Facebook pixel. Then, build lookalike audiences based on those.
- Design banner ads to promote your Black Friday deals
- Run an email series promoting your Black Friday deals at least a month in advance of the date
11/24/2018: Small Business Saturday
- 72% of Americans know about Small Business Saturday
- 112 million Americans went shopping on Small Business Saturday in 2016
- If you're a large corporation, this could be an opportunity to partner with smaller local businesses for cross promotion and brand building
- If you’re a brick or mortar business, this is your time to shine—be sure to plan plenty of special promotions for this holiday in advance, and get word out to your faithful followers through your email list, organic and paid social presence, and through banner ads on your site
11/26/2018: Cyber Monday
- Americans spent $840 million online through 10am Monday
- Mobile, smartphones and tablets made up just over 50% of traffic and almost 40% of revenue
- Present a call-to-action pop up to direct shoppers to your sales pages
- Use an exit offer on the cart page to drive same visit sales
- Extend Black Friday sales through Cyber Monday
- December is the biggest e-commerce month of the year
- Green Monday is the largest online sales day in December (12/10).
- The 22nd and 23rd of December are usually the single biggest online sales days of the holiday season
- Retarget people most likely to make a purchase
- Show ads to your existing list
- Create a lookalike audience based on your existing list to find similar users, but don’t use the same ad (this audience doesn’t know you yet)
- Create dynamic retargeting ads to bring users who added to cart but didn’t check out, back
- Coordinate an email drip campaign to keep your holiday sales and promotions top-of-mind for your list
- Create engaging and enriching holiday content that relates to your business (Example: How to go green during the holidays, How to find the perfect gift for your #girlsquad or top luxurious locations to spend the holidays) – get creative and choose a topic that relates to your industry
- Make sure you advertise the last day for shipping before Christmas
- People generally aren’t shopping on Christmas—this is a time to wind down and relax
- Building brand trust with friendly holiday emails and social posts to maintain your presence
12/26/2018: Boxing Day
- Boxing day is on December 26th, when most of America rounds up the slippers and toasters they don’t need and head to the mall for returns
- Boxing day is huge for customer service and returns, so it’s your time to build brand trust and loyalty by providing the best customer service possible
- Make sure you’re available to man the phones, answer emails, and monitor social chats to address returns and provide great customer service
1/1/2019: New Years
Everyone of your followers has one thing in common once New Years rolls around: resolutions for a better year ahead.
Play up on the unique resolutions of your customers to create targeted promotions. Do they want to improve their business processes, spend more time in the gym, or save money on car insurance? Anticipate what your clients will want to improve in the upcoming year and have a powerful promotion ready.
Learn from last year’s ad campaigns and promotions. Use Google Analytics to determine which marketing strategies worked and what didn’t. Check out which ads and products got the most traction with your users and strategize how to make them even better for next year’s big ecommerce dates.
Can’t figure out why your ads aren’t converting or blogs aren’t being read? Enlist the help of experts who can find out where your ship is leaking, and how you can patch the proverbial hull of your digital marketing strategy so you can sail swiftly into the new year.