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[Google] Make the Sale: Build, Launch, and Manage E-commerce Stores: Marketing for special events and holidays

In a previous video, you learned that seasonality refers to the regular and predictable fluctuation of e-commerce traffic around special holidays, events, and weather on a quarterly or yearly basis. This reading will continue to develop your knowledge of seasonal marketing and help you understand the importance of planning for “special events” and holidays to increase traffic to your business.

Understanding geographic segmentation

When considering holidays and special events, an online business must start with a sense of where their audience is located. Earlier, we discussed that a target market is a group of customers at which a business aims its marketing efforts and resources. You’ll use this as an indicator of who your audience is and what they care about on a large scale.

For example, in the United States, “Black Friday” is the single busiest shopping day for retailers. It occurs the Friday following the United States’ Thanksgiving holiday, and includes massive discounts and sales on retail products. Knowing whether or not your audience is located in the United States is helpful for marketing to that audience. If a company’s target market is in a country that does not participate in Black Friday, having a campaign marketed for Black Friday may not gather the desired attention.

Holidays and events

Once you’ve identified where your target audience is located, it’s important to identify popular holidays and special events. Identifiers of popular holidays include religious observances, cultural happenings, and education events. The following are a few holidays that are often used to promote sales in many parts of the world.

Some events are specific to regions or cultures

  • Diwali: Also called the festival of lights, Diwali is celebrated on November 4. It’s arguably the most widely celebrated holiday in India, although Hindus around the globe make time to celebrate it.
  • Black Friday: One-day super sales event on the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States.
  • Singles Day: Celebrated on November 11th, Singles day is an unofficial Chinese holiday and shopping event that celebrates people who are not in relationships.

Annual events celebrated across regions and cultures

  • “The holiday season”: An annually occurring period of time recognized in many Western and other countries that is generally considered to run from late November to early January.

Some events are annual and celebrated across regions and cultures

  • New Year celebrations: This is the time or day at which the new calendar year begins. Much of the world celebrates January 1 as the start of their new calendar year. Additionally, there are many New Year variations that honor specific cultures or religions happenings, such as East Asian celebrations of the Lunar New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and Songkran.
  • Back-to-school: The period in which students and their families purchase school supplies and apparel for the upcoming school year.
  • Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: These are holidays honoring parenthood and parental bonds. Dates for Mother’s day and Father’s day differ by country.

Planning for events

Once you discover which events you want to plan for, take the following steps into consideration.

1. Create a promotional calendar

Creating a promotional calendar is a great way to identify dates you anticipate an increase in sales and potentially want to create promotional events for your business. Build a list of important holidays and special events, then connect those holidays and special events to specific periods of time ahead of the holidays and special events that you will likely see an increase in traffic.

For example, if children in the Paris, France area usually begin a new academic year between September 2nd and September 9th, a school supply retailer whose target audience is located in Paris will first mark those dates on a calendar.

Then, they’ll decide when is the best time to promote their items. Based on research and trends, they discover that back to school sales activity occurs most between July 20th and July 28th. They’ll mark these days on their calendar. In a future reading, you’ll learn about Google tools where these dates will become handy for marketing.

2. Choose additional marketing and promotional tactics

Earlier in the program, you learned about digital marketing techniques to promote your brand like social media and email marketing. When creating a plan for your holiday or special event, choose which of these marketing and promotional tactics will be most effective. This can vary depending on the types of products or services your business offers but ultimately should fit your audience.

For example, social media marketing is a great way to reach new audiences during the holiday season. However, certain social media sites like Instagram or TikTok tend to have younger audiences than other platforms like Facebook or YouTube. With this knowledge in mind, you can easily make a decision on which marketing or promotional tactic will fit your audience best.

3. Assign specific promotions to each holiday or occasion

During this step, you can decide what specific sale or promotion you want to assign to a holiday or special occasion. Do you want to provide 50% off of an entire purchase? Or, do you want to offer free shipping on all orders over $50 USD?

You can do this by ranking the holidays and events you expect the most gain in traffic to your site and adjust your yearly advertising budget accordingly. Using preselected holiday and special event dates allows you to create a balanced budget for the sales you expect for your business to have. You’ll be able to capture your audience’s attention while also being mindful of your return on investment.

You should also be sure to be competitive among your competitors. If you have the least generous promotions compared to your competition, chances are you may lose out on potential sales.

4. Prepare inventory

And finally, prepare your inventory stock months in advance to plan for the natural increase of traffic to your site. In addition to losing out on potential revenue, running out of stock during holidays and special events can be viewed as unfavorable to potential customers. Analyze sales data and stock up on products that are most popular on your website.

To be mindful of creating a surplus of merchandise, most retailers loosen efficiency goals during the on-season. For example, if a company reduces the sales efficiency goals by 20% during the holidays, they are likely to sell more products sooner and avoid having too many products during the off-season, which they would potentially have to discount significantly more to sell.

Key takeaways

Understanding who your customers are allows you to decide what is important to them. Once you have a grasp on the holidays and special events that they care about most, you can easily begin to create a plan for how you can market your products successfully when it matters most.

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