While many shoppers are content to leave their holiday purchases to the last minute, brands don’t have this luxury. Nothing could be worse than putting off your end-of-year planning.  

Many retailers report that 20% or more of their annual sales take place in the four weeks between Black Friday and Christmas, according to The Balance — all the more reason to make sure your brand is prepared for what could be the busiest online holiday season yet.

Here are some best practices brands can adopt while preparing seasonal campaigns, as well as some of the most important ecommerce dates 2021 has up its sleeve. 

Make Your List, and Check It Twice

While putting up your Christmas decorations in September might be a bit tacky, for brands, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holiday season. In fact, many successful companies start their initial campaign planning as early as July and August

Assess What Works Already

A good first step for any brand considering a holiday campaign is performing an honest, detailed assessment of their previous efforts — identifying which elements worked best, and incorporating those strategies as the brand moves forward. That being said, don’t be afraid to experiment with new approaches, either.

Perform Seasonal Keyword Research, and Optimize Your Copy

Make sure you are deeply familiar with the kinds of trending keywords that drive your product sales during the holiday season. 

Audit the following across channels in order to increase your discoverability:

  • All of your product titles;
  • Descriptions; and 
  • Keywords. 

Think search phrases like “stocking stuffers,” or “gifts for dads who have everything.”

Incorporating the voice of your customer into product copy is another great way of organically including common search terms shoppers might use to find your products. 

Enhanced Holiday Content

Incorporating enhanced content into your product detail page (PDP) is one of the most effective ways to increase product sales online.

Use enhanced content like: 

  • Multiple high-resolution photos;
  • Instructional videos; 
  • Comparison charts; and 
  • Other kinds of useful content 

Enhanced content will always help build trust with consumers and increase your discoverability across channels. 

Keep an Eye on Customer Service

Increased sales means more customers will be contacting your company with questions and concerns about your products — make sure that your customer service department is ramped up and prepared to handle the uptick in holiday inquiries. 

Monitor Emerging Trends

When November and December come around, don’t “set it and forget it” — actively monitor trends for any unexpected opportunities, and be prepared to move quickly when they arise. 

Ecommerce Dates 2021

We all know the holiday season is the busiest time of year for online retailers, but a few days stand out as especially important. 

Here are the five days that should be any brand’s top priority when planning their end-of-year campaigns.

1. Black Friday (Nov. 26)

While the old-school “doorbusters”-style Black Friday is starting to fall out of fashion, online sales are becoming increasingly popular on this legendary retail holiday, with Salsify projecting about $17 billion in sales this year (a 20% increase from 2020). In fact, many customers start looking for Black Friday deals as early as September.

As consumer habits take an increasingly online shift, many retailers have started offering their Black Friday deals online as early as Thanksgiving night. 

2. Cyber Monday (Nov. 29)

First coined in 2005, Cyber Monday was originally created by online retailers who felt they were missing out on the large gains other retailers saw on Black Friday.

Since then, the line between Cyber Monday and Black Friday has blurred slightly — many online retailers now offer Black Friday deals, too — but the day is still one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Last year, retailers saw over $10.8 billion in sales, a 15% increase from 2019, according to ABC News. 

3. Giving Tuesday (Nov. 30)

Started in 2012 by a group of non-profits under the umbrella of New York City’s 92nd Street Y, organizers hoped to create a sort of “Black Friday” for charitable spending during the holiday season.

It’s since become a massive success, most recently raising over $2.47 billion for charity last year alone, according to GivingTuesday.

While a big day for the nonprofit world, your brand can also leverage Giving Tuesday to increase sales, reaffirm your brand purpose, and build rapport with values-driven consumers.

Think of the creative ways your brand can stand out while making a tangible difference:

  • Can you donate proceeds or products to a worthy cause? 
  • Can you allow customers to convert rewards points into a cash donation to their favorite charity? 

Even raising awareness with community engagement posts can go a long way in affirming your company values to would-be customers. 

4. Green Monday (Dec. 13)

Also known as “Cyber Monday 2,” Green Monday refers to the last Monday in December that’s at least 10 days prior to Christmas. First coined by eBay executives in 2007, it’s oftentimes their busiest shopping day of the year.

What’s so special about that particular Monday? After some research, the company discovered that this was often the last day shoppers could place an order guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas — prompting a mad dash of last minute shoppers flooding the site.

While shipping times have certainly improved in the past 15 years, there are still many retailers who offer Green Monday sales, and many late-shopping consumers will be on the lookout for them. 

5. Super Saturday (Dec. 18)

Super Saturday — or “panic Saturday,” depending who you ask — refers to the last Saturday before Christmas, when procrastinating customers often have their last chance to complete any final purchases before the big day.

Many consider it to be the official end of the holiday shopping season, with sales that have started to surpass those of even Black Friday.

While some customers will be wary of shipment delays so close to Christmas Day, online retailers can reassure customers with features like same-day pickup or free expedited/guaranteed shipping. 

Download this four-part holiday toolkit and explore our interactive ecommerce calendar to learn how to leverage the right strategy, tactics, and tools to drives results this holiday season.

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Posted by Contributor