How to Prepare Your Online Store for a Holiday Sale

Elena Morin
Elena Morin
April 9th, 2019
Estimated read time: 3 minutes, 55 seconds

Thinking of running a holiday sale? From the December gift-giving holidays to President’s Day, some of the most successful marketing campaigns are tied to holidays. Increasingly, this means non-traditional holidays as well. Ecommerce businesses can drive significant sales with promotions for any and all holidays, from Singles Day to Pi Day. It seems like there are more and more “Days” popping up every year.

These holiday sales tap into cultural trends and can draw a lot of engagement online. But to make your holiday campaign convert, you have to make sure you understand the market opportunity and the investments required. A successful holiday sale requires planning and preparation, both in terms of strategy and execution.

Make sure your message is unique – but don’t go crazy.

Not all products relate to all holidays. Your holiday sale will work better if you can craft a message that will resonate with your customers. For example, if you’re selling academic software, Valentine’s Day might be a confusing fit. You want them nodding, not scratching their heads!

That said, holiday promotions can also help you stand out. Fitness apps are commonly on sale during New Year campaigns, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t promote a fitness app for National Doughnut Day, too! Get creative and put your own spin on your campaign, but make sure the message is in sync with the holiday and, of course, your product.

Create dedicated landing pages optimized for your holiday sale.

Online shoppers are primed to buy during vacation days — and they’re usually looking for deals. Make it easy for them to see the special discount you’re offering with customized holiday messaging that reassures them they’re in the right place. Dedicated landing pages help create a seamless shopping experience.

Look at your data and establish a target that makes sense.

Not all holidays are created equal. Some are gift-giving holidays, some are “treat yourself” holidays, and some are simply seasonal. Are you prepared to sell what your target is looking for? Are you targeting repeat customers or first-time purchasers? Identify the customer segments you want to prioritize with your holiday sale and package your offer in a way that appeals to them. For example, BOGO (buy one get one) promotions may have more impact on gift-giving holidays whereas mid-year holidays may work better with high percentage-off discounts.

Evaluate whether the holiday is a good fit for your audience.

Holiday campaigns work because it is timely and makes people feel like your message is connected to the other things happening in their lives at that moment. But before planning a holiday campaign, make sure you’re taking into consideration where your audience is based. Will they care about the holiday? If you sell primarily to European customers, they’re not going to care about US Independence Day. This is especially true for software companies since those customers are most likely accustomed to a fully localized experience.

Prepare for increased traffic.

If you’ve created a solid plan, your promotion is going to result in a lot more visitors to your site. This is especially true for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Make sure you’ve got extra servers ready and technical resources on standby to troubleshoot as needed.

Stay abreast of the competition.

Your holiday sale will get more attention if you’re offering a discount that beats what similar products in your space are doing. And as in all things, timing is everything. Look at last year’s timing and make sure that your launch date lines up with the rest of your industry – you don’t want to be left behind!

Create social content designed to share.

Make sure shoppers can find you on social media and share what you’ve got going on. Post content that feels timely and relevant to your product and the holiday in question. In the best scenarios, they’ll help you create buzz and get people talking and sharing your promotion.

Plan a calendar of holiday campaigns.

Holiday campaigns should be part of your overall strategy to drive sales. Having regular holiday offers is important for driving repeat purchases. Customers pay attention to make sure they’re not missing out on any special deals. Consistency is key, so establishing a strategic cadence for your holiday campaigns will ensure you’re leveraging those key shopping moments throughout the year.


All in all, preparing for a holiday sale is a lot of work, but the returns can be huge. And once you’ve mastered prepping for a holiday sale, next thing you know you’ll be ready to invent your very own holiday. National Ecommerce Day anyone?

Elena Morin

Elena Morin

Elena Morin is a digital marketing strategist and fine tuner of sentences. A former professional translator, Elena realized the best way to stave off the robots was to help sell them. When she’s not helping tech brands craft compelling content and experiences, you can catch her trying to meet her daily step goal or working on her book of personal essays.

Try FastSpring

Get a free account and see why FastSpring is the ecommerce partner of choice for software providers around the world. Try our full-service ecommerce solution today to unlock revenue growth for your online company.