12 Days of Christmas e-Commerce Strategies


If you run an e-Commerce store you should be ready for the upcoming busy festive period – Are you though?

The following 12 ideas should inspire you to kick your online marketing into overdrive and put Santa out of business!

After all…

  • 52% of consumers will do their Christmas shopping online this year (National Retail Federation)
  • $92-96 billion is likely to be spent worldwide (Shop.org)
  • 74% of shoppers search online to get ideas (Catalog Spree)
  • 80% of online shoppers say email offers influence them to buy (YesMail Interactive)
  • 44% of shoppers have bought a product they’ve seen shared on social media (Steelhouse & Instant.ly)
  • 85% of those above found the item on Facebook
  • 93% say they’ve purchased a product from a blogger recommendation (Clever Girls Collective)

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On the first day of Christmas…Extended Returns Period

Inevitably, many people at Christmas have difficulty buying for their spouse, friend, family member, colleague etc. and risk buying the wrong gift. By announcing an extended returns policy, buyers can purchase now in the knowledge that if the recipient dislikes the present they can return it after Christmas.

From a business point of view, this “safety net” for customers could encourage more people to buy from you compared to other retailers that don’t offer this reassurance.

On the second day of Christmas…Make It Simple to Send Items to Recipient’s Address

Much of what is bought over the Christmas period will be gifts for others. It therefore makes sense to make it easy for customers to ship orders directly to the recipient’s address. It is worthwhile advertising this key selling point prior to the checkout process. Alternatively, buyers may want to be able to ship to a work address rather than home, so that a gift can be kept secret from a spouse.

On the third day of Christmas…Last Order Date for Guaranteed Christmas Delivery

With many shoppers guilty of leaving the arduous task of Christmas shopping until the last minute, it is important to have a clear message about the last order date that customers can buy for guaranteed Christmas delivery. This should be displayed prominently throughout the site, especially on the homepage and throughout the checkout pages. Consider embedding a countdown clock to incite urgency.

On the forth day of Christmas…Clear Terms of Service (TOS) and Delivery Rules over the Christmas period

If any of your service guarantees, policies or delivery information will be temporarily modified for the festive period, this must clearly be stated in the obvious places such as your TOS & delivery information pages. Highlight how these changes affect customers and how it differs from normal service. Highlight key information on prominent web pages with links to the full information.

On the fifth day of Christmas…Highlighting ‘Ideal’ Gifts

If there is a particular product, line or category that would make perfect gifts for Christmas it would be highly beneficial to highlight these on prominent pages such as the homepage or top-level categories as these are often the most ‘landed on’ or popular pages. Consider using attractive images, eye-grabbing headlines and call-to-actions to entice the visitor, as well as reasoning as to WHY they make the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one.

On the sixth day of Christmas…Dedicated Christmas Gift Section

If you plan to dedicate a page or section specifically for festive gift inspiration please consider the following:

    • Clear navigation through internal links, banners and page headings.
    • Typically “affordable” items and impulse buys work best
    • Time-limited offers
    • Christmas colour schemes, images and background themes

On the seventh day of Christmas…Up-selling for January

January and February are typically the slowest sales months on the internet as everyone recovers from the festive period. To boost sales, consider offering discount vouchers with all December orders that can only be redeemed in January. This gives the consumer added value in the initial purchase and can result in follow-up purchases a month later. Additionally if buying on behalf of someone else, they may hear great feedback from the recipient that encourages them to splash out on themselves.

On the eighth day of Christmas…Additional Christmas Services

How can you beat your competitors this December? Consider offering an optional gift wrapping service, perhaps with the ability to include a personal message on a Christmas card included with orders. These gestures are relatively cheap (albeit slightly time-consuming) but can mean the difference between making the sale or the customer buying elsewhere.

If you hold any inexpensive stock that you are looking to offload you may also consider including a free “mystery gift” with orders over a certain spend threshold.

On the ninth day of Christmas…Remind Previous Customers You Exist

At a time when shoppers are looking for gift inspiration, you should be reminding them you exist. Use your customer database, social media channels and other outlets to send out messages of your festive deals, added-value services (like those mentioned above) and gift inspiration. Consider designing and distributing an attractive email shot to happy previous customers and newsletter subscribers.

On the tenth day of Christmas…Re-marketing & Data Capture

Implemented through the Google Adwords platform, re-marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy for the Christmas period. Re-marketing works by placing a cookie on a user’s browser when they visit certain pages of your website. Subsequently, if they did not purchase from your website, you can target image and text ads to these visitors when they are on other websites to remind them of your brand and encourage them to return and make a purchase.

The ads could mention an extra discount if they return or a promo code for example. Re-marketing campaigns generally convert very highly and can be used to target visitors before Xmas, or the visitors can be added to a ‘re-marketing list’ to be targeted at a later date e.g. in January if a sale was taking place.

On the eleventh day of Christmas…Gift Vouchers

Gift vouchers are the “go-to” present when people can’t make up their mind. If you don’t already, you may want to consider selling gift vouchers that can be redeemed against any purchase. You can invest in producing physical gift certificates that the gifter can literally give the recipient or simply contain the redemption code in an attractive email that is automatically sent to the recipient on the 25th December (or directly after purchase) with a personal message from the buyer. This will ultimately ensure that a sale is made through your website despite the lack of originality on the buyers part!

On the twelth day of Christmas…Advent Calendar of Offers

Consider offering one spectacular one-day-only deal for each day of December (or the 12 days of Christmas) available on the website. These can be advertised on a daily basis through social media channels, newsletters, site banners, PPC etc to keep keen shoppers coming back to find out what the new daily deal is. Once on your site, make sure they are encouraged to look around with further enticing offers.

You could also tie this in with a competition whereby a secret clue is posted daily and by collecting the clues and solving the puzzle throughout the promotion they can win prizes.

If you found this article interesting and useful please consider “tipping” the author by Liking, Tweeting or +1′ing on the left! Merry Christmas!

You may also enjoy: 4 Schweeet E-Commerce Marketing Tips and this cool infographic by Scurri: Coping with Christmas in e-Commerce.


Rick Eliason

Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

Rick is Reload's most senior SEO expert, and started his digital marketing journey way back in 2007 as an in-house online marketing executive. Now with over three years under his belt at Reload Digital, he handles search and conversion campaigns for a wide range of clients from e-commerce and start-ups to large service-based businesses and not-for-profits.