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The busiest time of year for online stores is now just weeks away. Starting from Halloween and going to Christmas this time of year is huge for eCommerce. 20-40% of retail sales are made during the holiday season.

Retailers in this period can make up to 40% of their yearly revenue.

Important Holiday Season Shopping Dates

Here are the most important online shopping dates during the Holiday Season.

31st October – Halloween
27th November – Thanksgiving

28th November – Black Friday

Black Friday is traditionally the last Friday in November and has become one of the busiest retail days of the year.

It’s now internationally important. Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping period and accounts for a huge amount of Google Searches in November

89% of all holiday shoppers expect to shop and research online this holiday season.

So it’s no surprise that, according to Bloomberg, Black Friday online spending increased 15% to a record $1.2 billion.

But Black Friday is no longer only a one-day event. According to Google, last year consumers started earlier and continued hunting for deals into the following week, often on their mobile devices. Google showed searches on Black Friday peaked between 8 a.m. and noon, then again between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The top five cities for Online Shopping on Black Friday last year were: New York City took the top spot for online sales on Black Friday. Then Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The Social Influence of shopping on Black Friday – Facebook vs. Pinterest. Facebook referrals converted sales at nearly four times the rate of Pinterest. However, holiday shoppers referred from Pinterest on Black Friday spent 77 percent more per order than shoppers referred from Facebook. Pinterest average order value which was $92.51 compared to Facebook average order value $52.30 (Source)

1st December – Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the name given to the Monday after Thanksgiving in the US.

Cyber Monday was created to persuade people to shop online and has quickly become the ultimate day for record-breaking sales for online sellers. Last year it topped $2.29 billion in sales.

People begin searching for Cyber Monday deals as early as Thanksgiving Day when “Cyber Monday” was a top trending search on Google. Cyber Monday was the biggest day for e-Commerce in 2013. Online sales rose 21%, according to IBM, and were 31.5% higher than on Black Friday. Whereas apparel and toys were popular items on Black Friday, tech gifts dominated Cyber Monday’s list of most popular items. Tablets, video game consoles, and phones were all trending on Google as people hunted for gifts for themselves and others.

Cyber Monday in the UK has become as big its US counterpart. Cyber Monday 2013 was the biggest and busiest day ever for online retailers in the UK. UK consumers made 115 million visits to online retail sites in one single day and spent a total of 15.3 million hours shopping online on Cyber Monday (source: Experian)

9th December – Green Monday

This is usually the cutoff for standard shipping to reach customers in time for Christmas

18th December – Free Shipping Day

The name says it all. On this one-day event eCommerce sellers are encouraged to offer free shipping – more details about Free Shipping Day

22nd December – Super Saturday

This is the last Saturday before Christmas. It’s traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

25th December – Christmas Day
26th December – Boxing Day

Boxing day sales – traditionally when bricks and mortar retailers start their sales in the UK and Canada.

Take Our Advice Get Yourself Ready Now

With the Holiday Season only a few weeks away, here are 4 simple tips for getting yourself and your online store ready to make the most of this busy period.

Tip 1 – Promotional Calendar

Take a tip from successful online stores and plan ahead. Start to plan how you are going to exploit these dates.
The easiest way to do this is to create a promotional calendar. Your promotional calendar can include:

Dates when you will update graphics or share relevant graphics and promotions on which social media
Dates when you’ll send your email newsletters
Dates for different promotions
Get your blog posts, landing pages ready
Start building the anticipation about a week out. Think about offering an early deal to your email subscribers. A simple, “Be first to hear about our Cyber Monday specials” can help build your email list.
Tip 2 – Discounts and Deals

Run time sensitive discounts or deals. This will help create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to share any deals online with their friends.
If selling physical items take note of delivery deadlines for domestic and international deliveries. Consider offering Free Shipping on the 18th of December. The conversion rate (transactions over clicks) for emails that had any mention of free shipping was 72% better than those emails that did not. Even more interesting is that emails that had free shipping: revenue per email was 53% higher over those that did not. Revenue was 36% higher for emails that had free shipping with some sort of qualifier (such as a dollar amount or category purchase requirement). This tells us that subscribers are spending more money when free shipping is offered.

Tip 3 – Get Graphic

Get graphic. Think about how you can grab people’s attention with topical images. You don’t have to be a designer yourself, you can easily use free tools like Canva or Pixlr Express to create professional looking graphics. Or you could get them done cheaply using freelance designers using services like Fiverr.

Tip 4 – Timing

Tweak the timing of your promotions to get the most from what consumers are naturally searching for. Coupons are searched most often during the beginning of November. Searches for delivery pick up in December (source)

Over to you

Start planning and preparing for the biggest sales period of the year.

The good thing is that if you don’t have an online store you’ve start got time to start selling online.

If you’re already using Selz,  you can focus on the important stuff like promoting your products and maximizing your sales. You don’t have to worry about technical things associated with running an online store. Your Selz store performance is optimized no matter how many customers try to purchase at the same time. So over to you, start getting yourself ready for a bumper Holiday Season.

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About the author

Geoff Austin

I talk and write a lot. Some of it about ecommerce, selling online, startups, SEO, digital marketing.

Currently, head of analytics for an automotive business in Sydney, facilitating a culture of data-driven decisions. Delivering data-based insights and intelligence.

Chauffeur to twin daughters and a pizza chef master.

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