Best Holiday Marketing Ideas for Retailers

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The holiday season may have started early this year, but we’ve got another two months ahead of us and plenty of opportunity to drive retail traffic. Whether your focus is in store, online or both, here are holiday marketing ideas proven to drive sales, engagement and momentum into the new year!

Private Shopping Party

With only 36% of Americans feeling comfortable visiting a shopping mall right now, there’s never been more of a need for creative commerce. Curbside pickup and e-commerce are proving to be effective alternate channels, but there’s something about the tradition of holiday shopping they just can’t replace. Give your top customers that unique experience through small, private events, allowing them to shop without crowds and get personalized attention from your sales associates. It will make them feel elite and offer you and your team valuable [masked!] face-to-face time, allowing you to thank them for their patronage and providing more insight into their current shopping habits and preferences.

To craft this invite list, use your POS’s CRM to pull a list of your top customers by spend and frequency.

Weave Safety into Your Messaging

2020 is affecting everyone differently: Be sensitive to current conditions and proactive in your messaging. Create email campaigns and social posts that let customers know exactly how you’re creating a safe and sterile shopping environment. This should be reflected in imagery as well, with shoppers and employees wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Wish Lists

Have customers fill out a wish list, then collect and log desired products into their profile in your POS. With the customer’s permission, reach out to the contact(s) they specify, letting them know you have their wife/brother/mother’s wish list ready to go, making their gift shopping experience easy as can be.

12 Days of Gifts With Purchase

Messaging: Give something, get something! GWPs almost always turn out to be win-wins: Not only does the customer leave feeling like they received a unique gift and experience, but this kind of promotion encourages upselling and differentiates your business. Always require a minimum spend so your margin doesn’t take a large hit.

If you’ve done gift-with-purchase promotions in the past, revisit that sales data to confirm that they were, in fact, an incentivizing traffic- and sales-driving tool. If not, there’s no value in dedicating a nearly two-week long marketing campaign to them.

Consumers are strapped for many things in 2020, but time is at the top.

Gift Guides

Gift guides are key to making gift shopping quicker and easier, so create multiple based on your brand’s offerings: gifts for her, for him, for the traveler, teacher, techie, under $50... you know your customer, so get creative! Share these as blog posts, Pinterest boards, social accounts and through shoppable collections on your website. If your budget allows, recruit local influencers to curate their own gift guides and share the links with their followers.


E-Commerce Marketing Ideas

Winter Easter Egg Hunt

Each day, choose an item to deeply discount online, but don’t advertise what it is. Customers will have to comb through your website to find that day’s deal, and in the meantime, will likely add a few other things to their cart.

Unwrap Your Deal

Design a “mystery deal” email campaign that prompts customers to “unwrap” their unique discount code. Create landing pages for 10, 20 and 30%-off codes, then clone the email so there are different versions that link to each page. Split your mailing list into thirds, then watch the orders roll in.

E-commerce sales are expected to rise by 25 to 35% this holiday season.

Bounceback Coupons

Here’s a great way to upsell and guarantee yourself some repeat shoppers in the new year: Advertise that for every, say, $100 someone spends in December, they receive a $20 coupon to use in January.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails

Customize your website’s shopping cart abandonment emails for the holidays: Embed real-time countdowns to dates like Black Friday and Giving Tuesday, plus shipping deadline reminders to instill a sense of urgency.

Targeted Personalized Emails

Contact customers who shopped with you last Q4 (pull a report from your POS), and offer to help with any of their current gift shopping needs. The personal outreach will catch their attention, but you can also throw in a small discount as extra incentive.


Last-Minute Marketing Ideas

Flash Sale

Nothing lights a fire under shoppers like a limited-time flash sale. Don’t feel as though you have to offer an aggressive store-wide discount; you can apply it to select categories, like outerwear or stocking stuffers. Then, set up a promotions rule in your POS so that all products in the “outerwear” category automatically ring up at 20% off. Don’t limit this to in-store—offer the same promotion online.

Go Mobile

Both consumers’ mailboxes and inboxes tend to overflow this time of year, leaving many advertisements unopened and ignored. If you have money left in your marketing budget, invest in text advertising—it’s much harder to ignore a ping on your phone than it is yet another email.

E-Gift Cards

Last-minute shoppers don’t have time to come up with gift ideas; your final few email or text blasts of the season—especially after shipping deadlines have passed—should heavily push gift cards. Give shoppers the option of either emailing their gift digitally, or printing so they can still “wrap” it. Looking ahead: Come January, prepare a series of targeted emails reminding customers to put those gift cards to use!

The Case for Curbside

Another post-shipping-cutoff ploy: Stress the ease and convenience of your buy online, pickup in store or curbside pickup offerings. If your e-commerce site isn’t set up for BOPIS, offer the option to place a curbside order over the phone.




Great marketing starts with great data. Check out our Customer vs. Retailer Journey Infographic and learn how leading retailers are using that data to boost loyalty and referrals.

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