As the cobwebs of Halloween are dusted away, there’s a familiar sense of excitement in the air. Mince pies stand to attention on supermarket shelves, Starbucks’ famous festive cups warm the hands of cold commuters, and the dulcet tones of Michael Bublé fill the radio waves. Yes, Christmas is on its way.
For online merchants, the months of November and December are a goldmine of opportunity. Holiday online retail sales reached over £3.86 billion in the UK alone in 2018 – that’s some seriously big business!
To really make the most out of shopping’s biggest season, you need a festive marketing strategy complete with all the trimmings. Easier said than done when all your competitors are doing the same thing – we know.
In order to cut through the holiday ‘noise’ and take full advantage of the seasonal splurge, the key is to evoke emotion and encourage social sharing with your Christmas marketing campaigns. Focus on creating a unique and engaging shopping experience that surprises and delights your customers.
So, what are you waiting for? Add some Christmas sparkle to your online store this year with these 11 Christmas marketing campaign ideas:
#1 Decorate your store with a themed landing page
Give shoppers that warm and fuzzy festive feeling when they land on your ecommerce store with a dedicated Christmas landing page.
You want to create a page that guides high-intent Christmas shoppers through the gift-buying process with ease, whilst incorporating your brand identity.
Here are just a few tactics to create a landing page that would get Scrooge himself in the gift-giving spirit:
Beautiful product imagery – Use crisp, eye-catching images to create a magical pseudo-Christmas window display that sparks those festive feels and puts customers in the mood to buy.
Simplicity is key – Keep your Christmas landing page clear and clean. Use whitespace to ensure users aren’t left feeling overwhelmed by your festive offering – this will fit with a wintery theme too.
Filtering options – Let shoppers browse your Christmas collections based on product, recipient, price, style etc. for a smoother, more streamlined on-site experience.
Leverage user-generated content and social proof – Weave themed user-generated content and customer reviews throughout your page to increase authenticity and build a sense of community.
Highlight delivery information – Delivery deadline dates are a must-have to encourage anxious or uncertain buyers to commit to their purchase.
Clear calls-to-action (CTAs) – Include striking CTAs to draw the user’s eye and push them along the purchase funnel to the checkout page.
Make sure it’s linked on your homepage – Include a themed header image on your homepage which links directly to your Christmas landing page. If you’re on Shopify Plus, this is an excellent opportunity to utilise the Launchpad app. Simply define the times and dates of your campaign and your header image will automatically be updated without you having to lift a finger.
This Nordstrom Christmas landing page is top of Santa’s nice list thanks to its extensive filtering options, crisp imagery and swanky seasonal styling. (Source: Gorilla360)
The good news is you don’t need to be a coding whizz to create optimised landing pages that are easy on the eye. With handy page-builder platforms like Shogun available at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to create eye-catching, conversion-led landing pages for your ecommerce store.
Short of time? You can always use a product collection as your landing page. These are supported by all Shopify themes, and can be customised to suit relevant traffic. Find out how to create a collection page on Shopify here.
#2 Create gift guides
Inspire shoppers with a handy gift guide packed full of unique present ideas from across your store.
A strategy often overlooked in the rush to capture holiday audiences, creating your own gift guide is a simple way to drive organic traffic from high-intent shoppers and boost your Christmas sales. People searching for “gift ideas for teenage girls”, for instance, are primed and ready-to-buy – all they need is a bit of guidance from you on what to purchase.
Christmas gift guides are also a great chance to strategically promote your bestsellers, or any surplus stock.
You could create a collection landing page for your gift guide, or alternatively publish it as an article on your blog.
Shopify Plus brand and Swanky client Knomo create separate collections for each of their gift guides.
Promote your gift guide across your social channels with a branded Christmas hashtag (more on this later!). Consider sending the link to any relevant bloggers and influencers from your industry – you want to reach as many relevant, high-intent spenders as possible.
You can also promote your guide in seasonal emails. For that extra sparkle in this year’s sales report, consider including a friend-referral link. Not only could it boost your holiday revenue, but it’s a successful way of attracting new buyers whilst keeping existing customers engaged. Loyalty and engagement platform LoyaltyLion has a built-in solution for tracking and rewarding referrals – find out more here.
#3 Launch a 12 days of Christmas promotion
Why not use this classic Christmas concept to develop a festive marketing campaign for your ecommerce store? You can create a fun 12 day promotion that builds excitement, anticipation and, crucially, traffic.
A 12 days of Christmas sale with a dozen daily deals will give shoppers a compelling reason to return to your store. Unveiling a new sale item each day is a great way to increase daily traffic. Why not incentivise customers to sign up to your email list by giving them early access to each day’s deal?
Alternatively, you could create a 12 days of Christmas giveaway where customers participate by submitting user-generated content, with a different prizewinner each day.
This is a surefire way to create a buzz on social media and supercharge customer engagement. Your products will be thrust into the holiday season spotlight, whilst your brand remains top-of-mind for 12 straight days.
Shopify Plus-based cosmetics powerhouse Kylie Cosmetics ran a famous 12 days of Christmas event, with different holiday surprises each day. (Source: Instagram)
#4 Create specific Christmas email campaigns
When you consider that email marketing is responsible for 20% of all holiday sales, it’s clear that this is a channel you simply can’t ignore when it comes to your Christmas marketing strategy. It’s a tried-and-tested way of engaging with existing patrons and reaching out to new customers.
We could write a whole blog series on Christmas email campaign ideas, but in a nutshell, here are the most important email campaigns to have running this holiday season:
Emails welcoming new subscribers to your mailing list can drive 3x the amount of revenue than any other promotion email, so you can’t afford to get them wrong. They help you kick-off the personal relationship with a customer and introduce them to your brand’s mission.
Here are some top tips for crafting a Christmassy welcome email, ensuring a well-connected user experience with a seasonal touch:
- Make it recognisable, with your logo at the top.
- Include product blocks to display your most eye-catching seasonal products.
- Make it easy for customers to browse your store by buying preference.
- Immerse your brand in the holiday spirit by offering a discount code to reward new subscribers and loyalty program members.
- Give real-time shipping updates and details of delivery deadline dates.
Christmas promotion emails
Emails promoting Christmas discounts and holiday sales are a great way to capture attention and generate sales.
Use these best practice ideas to optimise your promotion emails:
- Make use of fun holiday-themed graphics and GIFs.
- Link to any gift guides you have on your ecommerce store.
- Include a clear CTA with punchy action-words that will lead the customer to your site.
- Give real-time shipping updates and details of delivery deadline dates – consider a countdown clock to create a sense of urgency.
Cart abandonment emails
Did you know that 60% of shoppers (!) come back to a store to make a purchase within 24 hours of receiving a personalised abandoned cart email? It goes without saying that your Christmas email strategy would be incomplete without automated cart abandonment emails!
Here are some ideas to keep in mind when you’re designing and scheduling these emails:
- Pique customers’ curiosity in the subject line.
- Create scarcity and trigger customers’ ‘fear of missing out’ – with Christmas coming, it’s worth reminding customers that stock will be selling out fast.
- Consider a cart abandonment series rather than a single email.
- Use the first email as a simple reminder of what a customer has left in their cart.
- Handle concerns or objectives in the second email by providing authentic, positive user reviews.
- Incentivise cart completion in the third email.
Product recommendation emails
A great strategy for giving your holiday sales a boost and establishing powerful patterns of repeat purchases, personalised product recommendation emails shouldn’t be left out in the cold this Christmas.
Start by segmenting your customers into groups based on their interests and purchasing behaviour. Take advantage of upsell and cross-sell opportunities and suggest relevant products based on segment.
Seasonal loyalty program promotion emails
If you have a loyalty program running on your store, Christmas is the ideal time to reward loyal customers for their support – at the same time as incentivising new customers to join your cosy club.
Perhaps you can offer any Christmas discounts to club members only, or run a double-points weekend event exclusively for your loyal patrons. Shout about these loyalty program promotions in festive emails that motivate shoppers to come and claim their reward.
And for those who push a large order through your store, make sure to include any information about respective loyalty program points and rewards in their follow-up emails. This will entice customers back onto your store, bumping up their customer lifetime value.
Top tip: Be sure to update your transactional emails (like order confirmations, shipping confirmations, billing emails) to give them the same Christmas cheer as your specific holiday emails.
#5 Use a branded Christmas hashtag
A Christmas social media campaign idea for you now: a branded holiday hashtag! This is a great way to spread the word about your brand, promote your seasonal offerings, and track any content created by your followers. Indeed, the humble hashtag is your holiday hero when it comes to social media engagement.
Start by creating a simple hashtag that’s easy to recognise and understand. Make sure it relates to your campaign and your overall brand, rather than using a generic phrase like #MerryChristmas or #SeasonsGreetings that will get lost in the continuous stream of Christmas content.
Include your chosen hashtag in every holiday marketing post you publish (on social media and beyond). Consistency is crucial if you want your hashtag to pick up traction in cyberspace.
Be sure to track any social mentions where people are featuring your hashtag. Respond to any questions in real-time and use these social threads to cultivate relationships with customers.
Here’s a few branded Christmas hashtags to inspire you:
#BarbourChristmas – Barbour
First up, a simple hashtag that links together all of this brand’s Christmas-themed social posts. Each holiday season, Barbour use the beautifully uncomplicated hashtag #BarbourChristmas to showcase gift ideas, promote their holiday ad campaign and share user-generated content.
This cleverly-crafted Christmas social media campaign immerses the audience into the iconic world of Barbour through consistent use of an easily-recognisable branded hashtag.
#BusterTheBoxer and #MozTheMonster
A festive favourite when it comes to Christmas campaigns, John Lewis make an impact year after year with their magical marketing moves. They certainly know how to tug at the heartstrings and make lasting connections with their audience.
Their festive hashtags help translate the buzz from their hotly anticipated tv ads into trending topics across social media.
#SwishUponAStar – Lush Cosmetics
Part of a fun festive contest, Lush asked entrants to share photos of their bath bomb art with a caption of their Christmas wish and the hashtag #SwishUponAStar. Not only did this facilitate a huge amount of visual user-generated content, it helped to promote a range of Lush products and increase brand awareness.
#6 Create themed interactive content
Did you know that interactive content generates double the amount of conversions than passive content? It encourages your audience to get involved and actively engage with your brand in a memorable way – perfect for capturing attention and building bonds.
By enveloping customers into your brand story, you’re creating a shared experience that fosters loyalty and retention.
What’s more, interactive content is a great way of capturing relevant data from visitors, which can then be used to personalise future marketing campaigns – a win-win!
There are so many ways to get creative with interactive content, particularly across social media. Here are just a few ideas to consider:
- Create a fun, festive quiz that gets users sharing their results on social media. Not only is this a lighthearted way to connect with your customers, but you can use the answers to understand the interests of your buyers. You could also include a quiz to help shoppers determine which type of gift would be best for the people on their Christmas list.
- Use the poll feature on your social channels to find out more about your customers. Focus the questions on your seasonal products, using product tags to generate increased traffic to your store.
- Feature an interactive video on your Christmas landing page.
Top tip: Make sure the content you create aligns with your audience and your brand. Don’t risk confusing your customers with seemingly random quizzes!
#7 Offer free shipping
Consider using free shipping as a clever marketing strategy to boost your sales and overcome cart abandonment this holiday season. Let customers relax as they browse your site, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be faced with a nasty shipping charge at the checkout. The result? Better conversion rates and more chance of customers coming back for more.
If you can’t afford to gift free shipping with every purchase, consider removing shipping fees for orders over a certain spend value. Many shoppers will actually add extra items to their cart just to reach the free delivery threshold! This is a surefire way to increase your average order value over the holidays.
Alternatively, you could offer free delivery during a specific time period. This is a great strategy for the busy holiday season when industry competition is particularly high. It entices shoppers onto your store, then encourages them to take urgent action and complete their purchase before the offer runs out.
Another idea is to offer free delivery as a perk for loyalty program sign-up. This is a great way to encourage customers to join your club, especially at Christmastime when free delivery is more sought after than ever. It’s also a chance for you to collect valuable data that you can then harness to provide a more personalised customer experience.
Find out more about the benefits of free shipping in our round-up of top ecommerce promotions.
#8 Offer a free stocking filler gift with purchase
Get into the Christmas spirit of giving and offer a free stocking filler with purchase. This is a super-simple yet brilliantly effective way to drive sales, whilst creating an attractive shopping experience for your customers.
Online beauty brand? From hand cream to highlighter, manicure sets to make-up bags, these are just a few of the pocket-sized stocking stuffers you could offer your customers this Christmas. (Source: Her Little Loves)
A free gift adds perceived worth to a transaction, encouraging users to follow their purchase all the way to checkout. It also adds an element of surprise and delight – perfect for developing emotional connections between you and your customers. Plus, a free gift encourages shoppers to come back to your store again and share their positive experience with fellow spenders.
Top tip: Whether it’s a pair of novelty Christmas socks or a seasonal sweet treat, be sure to pick the right stocking filler product to give away with purchases. Think about the types of products that would appeal to your target audience, whilst keeping in mind the financial needs of your business.
#9 Run seasonal PPC ad campaigns
It goes without saying that the Christmas season brings intense brand competition. By adapting to seasonal trends and planning your PPC ad campaigns ahead of time, you can improve your holiday conversion rate whilst preventing overspending in a saturated market.
Review seasonal performance
Look back over last year’s data to identify what worked well and what you could have changed or improved. Were there any winning ad combinations that you can replicate for the upcoming holiday season?
Adapt your keyword list
One way to get your brand seen is by adapting your Google Ad campaigns to target seasonal keywords. You want to make sure that more of your resources are going towards the words that people search for in the holiday season. There’s always a surge in search traffic for queries including ‘gift ideas’ and ‘DIY Christmas’ in the last few months of the year, for instance.
So, analyse keyword trends to find out which terms shoppers are searching for, then update your Google Ads campaigns with these holiday specific keywords.
Monitor and adjust
When it comes to your seasonal PPC campaigns, don’t just ‘set it and forget it’. Instead, it’s key that you constantly monitor and tweak your campaign with your key performance indicators and budget in mind.
This is particularly important in the competitive holiday ad landscape, when the cost-per-click of keywords can inevitably increase. You could risk spending more on your ads than you receive in return through conversions and revenue if you don’t monitor progress regularly .
Weed out any low-performing keywords that have a low click-through rate or high cost/conversion, and set rules to increase bidding for keywords that have high return on ad spend (ROAS).
It’s also worth monitoring your search queries (the actual terms that aren’t in your keyword list but are triggering your ads) in order to manage negative keywords and keep on top of emerging search trends. Any irrelevant search queries that have poor ROAS should be added to your list of negative keywords. Good performers, on the other hand, should be promoted to keywords.
Don’t forget organic traffic
Combine your seasonal PPC efforts with some Christmas-ified copy for your store. Make sure your holiday landing pages are finished with a sprinkling of key terms to bring in that organic search traffic.
Top tip: Did you know that publishing your content 45 days before a major holiday will allow you to engage in over 90% of the search traffic?
#10 Host a Secret Santa sale for VIP customers
Show your most valued customers just how much you appreciate them with an exclusive Christmas sale just for them.
A ‘secret’ sale will generate a yuletide buzz amongst your VIP customers, which will translate into excitement across social media and increased traffic to your store.
A VIP-only sale is also a great way to make your best customers feel special and nurture that all important brand loyalty, which is a key part of customer retention.
Loyal customers will return to your store again and again, resulting in higher customer lifetime value. What’s more, they’re likely to spread the word about the excellent experience they’ve had and contribute social proof in the form of reviews and social media shoutouts.
Given that an increase in customer retention by just 5% can increase profits from 25-95%, this holiday hack is definitely one to bolster your Christmas marketing strategy!
Check out these other customer retention strategies that are great for unlocking long-term customer loyalty.
#11 Host a holiday pop-up shop
For ecommerce retailers, hosting a Christmas pop-up shop is an exciting way to showcase your brand in a fun and interactive way during shopping’s biggest season. It’s a valuable opportunity to gain offline exposure and create a physical representation of your brand identity.
A pop-up shop represents a fresh way to connect and engage with new and existing customers alike. Make the most out of the bustling high streets and enjoy cultivating customer relationships that will last long after your pop-up is packed up.
The buzz of the holiday season, combined with the fleeting nature of a pop-up store, creates a palpable sense of excitement and urgency that drives customers to check out your products before it’s too late.
For the 2017 holiday season, online designer outlet The Outnet.com harnessed the power of the pop-up in a bid to bring their brand to life. They partnered with female-focused digital lifestyle destination Refinery29 to launch a fabulously festive pop-up shop in London, where visitors were able to pose in the themed window display for a series of photos. The experiential fun continued inside the store, with a gift-filled arcade grab machine, mini shop area and Facebook Live sessions with influencers.
The holiday pop-up shop hosted by ecommerce brand The Outnet.com and women’s digital lifestyle destination Refinery29. (Source: Refinery 29)
Shopify Point of Sale
Shopify’s on-the-go Point of Sale (POS) system makes it easy to take your online business to pop-up stores and start selling in seconds. You can accept payments from a mobile device using the POS app, or with a pocket-sized wireless card reader – two handy options for secure, seamless payments on-the-go. Meanwhile, your inventory, sales, orders and customers stay synced with Shopify in one centralised hub.
New POS cart app extensions announced at Shopify Unite earlier this year mean that merchants can manage loyalty points and apply discounts directly in Shopify POS too! Customers can collect and redeem points across your online store and physical pop-up shop, creating a seamless, omnichannel Christmas shopping experience that makes buyers feel appreciated.
Retailers can see important loyalty and promotion details directly in the POS cart, making in-store checkout faster and easier for their staff and customers. (Source: Shopify)
If you’re tempted by the benefits of seasonal pop-up shop, check out Shopify’s go-to guide on temporary retail.
(Gift) Wrapping up 🎁
So, there you have it, 11 fabulously festive ideas to bring a bit of Christmas sparkle to your marketing strategy this holiday season!
With these ideas , you’ll be primed to finish the year on a high.
Remember though, customers aren’t just for Christmas, they’re for life. Your Christmas marketing campaigns should take an omnichannel approach, engaging new customers and nurturing ongoing relationships that will last long after the festive season is over.
Get in touch
Feeling inspired by these swanky Christmas marketing campaign ideas? Why not get in touch with our friendly team of Shopify Plus Experts to find out how we can unlock your ecommerce potential with our strategic marketing advice!