Holidays are a golden opportunity for businesses all over the world to boost their sales and drive more revenue.
In fact, one of the simplest ways to set yourself up for success in 2022 is to plan out your sales and marketing initiatives around the key retail calendar dates for the year.
But what are these dates?
To make life easier for you, we’ve listed them all out month-by-month, so that you can start planning your promotional campaigns ahead of time.
The first month of the year is perhaps the gloomiest of them all, with shoppers on the Christmas-comedown.
But there’s definitely an opportunity to lift their spirits with January sales and Blue Monday special offers.
Boost Drinks used the power of social media to engage its audience in a competition and unite on the most miserable day of the year.
The concept was simple, but it really got people talking and engaging with the brand, with the messaging, “Forget Blue Mondays and bring on Blue Fundays. Watch this space for the Boost Wheel of Fortune!”.
It’s important to always remember who your audience are and which platform they’d best respond to. A social media campaign on Twitter might work great for one audience but not another.
Goodbye Blue Monday and hello the month of love.
February holds many key dates but arguably the most important for online retailers is Valentine’s Day.
This is a chance to capitalize on all the loved-up couples out there, while making sure the single among us don’t get forgotten.
As it’s such a major date in retailers’ calendars, it’s easy to fall into the trap of love hearts and roses, instead of thinking outside the box.
But this is a great chance to really stand out from the crowd and captivate your audience, just like Deliveroo did.
They carried out a “third wheel survey” questioning 200 adults and found out that 37% of couples would actually enjoy having a third person at the dinner table on Valentine’s Day.
They used this research to create a highly effective TV ad and social media campaign #ThirdWheelKevin, offering its customers a “third wheel meal deal”.
The fact that they took a totally different approach to everyone else, and made it funny, meant they really resonated with their target audience and pulled off a highly successful marketing campaign.
Spring is here, and with it comes a whole host of new sales opportunities and key retail dates to focus your marketing efforts on.
March signifies a change in mood, as the days become lighter and the trees become greener – it’s the perfect time to take advantage of this new-found optimism among your buyers.
Pandora shows us how it’s done with a series of Mother’s Day promotions via a drip email campaign.
They sent out an initial email a few weeks in advance, which offered customers some great gift ideas from their ‘Heartfelt Jewellery’ collection.
This was followed by a second email which focused more on the brand’s special offer for the occasion.
Customers already had the gift ideas in mind from the first email, and then when they received the second email with a special offer for Mother’s Day, they would have felt more inclined to act.
The key here is in the planning. Especially for a major date like Mother’s Day, it’s important to have a clear strategy in place.
April is well known for the Easter bank holiday weekend and April Fool’s Day, but don’t forget about Earth Day for a chance to promote your eco-friendliness as a company.
The long weekend brings with it a whole host of sales opportunities for a wide range of retail industries, and the London Marathon is a major event to take advantage of too.
Hotel Chocolat of course celebrated Easter in style with a well-thought-out social media campaign.
The “Beau Bunny” is a recurring campaign for Hotel Chocolat, which makes it memorable and provides a strong brand image.
A well-dressed bunny rabbit hopped about different mystery locations across the country and asked the public to fill out an online form (data capture, tick) and guess the location, in a bid to win an array of Hotel Chocolat products.
The competition ran on their website and across social media, featuring the hashtag #beaubunny.
The campaign generated new leads, loyal fans of the “bunny from the burrows” and great user content. It was a fun, quirky and engaging way to celebrate Easter.
There’s a huge up-kick in shoppers actively looking for wedding gifts, clothing, accessories and travel accommodation starting in May. Make sure you take full advantage of this by offering helpful information, incentives to buy and promoting your high value products.
As well as the start of wedding season, there’s also two more bank holidays to prepare for.
B&Q capitalised on the DIY trend over the May bank holidays with a series of transformation TV adverts focused on bathrooms.
The campaign aimed to further establish B&Q as the leader in DIY home improvement, using their own orange-aproned staff to rescue a family bathroom not currently working for their busy lives.
The “Calm the Chaos” ad demonstrated how B&Q can transform your bathroom to make life as easy as possible.
B&Q were able to relate to their target audience and boost sales over a busy period for DIY-ers with a slick advert and clear message.
But you don’t need a TV budget to take inspiration from B&Q and achieve a similar marketing campaign around the bank holidays.
Time to turn your attention to summer.
For many ecommerce retailers this will mean a pre-summer sale in time for new season stock, and a marketing campaign to attract holiday-makers.
Father’s Day is another great gifting opportunity to take advantage of and social media will play a vital role in reaching your audience and driving up sales here.
Glenlivet used Facebook to deliver a highly effective campaign, in order to launch their new ‘Founder’s Reserve’ in time for Father’s Day.
They managed to combine an interactive and personalized experience with the power of social media to engage gift-givers and whiskey-loving Dads.
Users were able to personalize their bottle label and then send as a gift or send a free miniature. The campaign centered around the message “#CheersDad, thanks for everything.”
This award-winning campaign established a new product range with an 11% sales uplift and had Dad’s up and down the country raising a glass to Glenlivet.
The summer is notoriously slow for ecommerce, but there’s plenty of big events and retail dates to take advantage of and center your marketing efforts around. Avoiding the summer sales slump though means preparation is key.
Planning your campaigns in advance will go a long way in helping you through this particularly difficult month, and Amazon Prime day is definitely a date you want to get involved with, whether you sell on Amazon or not.
Quite literally a ‘prime’ example.
Amazon Prime Day is a key date for your ecommerce diary, with marketplace sellers seeing an 80% spike in their sales in 2017 – and that’s not just from Amazon sales. So, whether you sell on Amazon or not, capitalize on the increased online shoppers looking for deals.
Instead of simply discounting their products like everyone else, Burt’s Bees decided to put together some of their bestsellers into a beautiful gift-set. They took popular products they knew that would sell and used Amazon Prime Day to promote their product bundle.
Think about what products normally appear in the ‘frequently bought together’ section on your Amazon page and bundle together to make it easier and more appealing for potential customers to want to buy.
Summer is winding down, which means it’s your last chance to sell old stock and start thinking about your new season marketing campaign ahead of Autumn.
You should also be aware that most schools go back early September, so parents and students will be shopping in August and preparing for the colder season ahead.
A really simple yet effective example of a brand making the most of World Photography Day, was Aristocrat Bags’ social media competition.
They created a clean-looking graphic with the messaging “unpack your best travel photographs to win travel goodies”.
The social media campaign not only capitalized on the hashtag #WorldPhotographyDay, engaged their audience and captured their details, but it also increased their brand awareness with over 14,000 likes, 347 comments and 105 shares on Facebook alone.
This is a really easy retail date to get involved with, as with minimal spend on social media you have the potential to reach a highly engaged, much wider audience and generate leads off the back of it.
The leaves are changing color and summer fun is finally coming to an end in place of hats and scarfs. There’s a brand-new school year as well as a brand-new season to center your sales and marketing initiatives around.
Known for their creative marketing campaigns, Absolut Vodka position their alcohol as the drink of the season.
For a recent autumn campaign, they used elements that remind customers of the season like acorns to form the shape of their infamous bottle.
Other ads included images of pumpkins, witches and moons carved out of ‘wood’, preparing customers for Halloween the following month.
The ads used warm tones of orange and brown to leverage memories of time spent with friends and family, and open-fires ahead of the Christmas season.
Absolut Vodka relies on simple messaging and traditional imagery to reflect their brand’s longevity.
Use autumn to remind your consumers of the warmth that can come with the season and demonstrate to them how your products can fit into their lives.
It’s also a great time to raise your brand awareness with well-designed ads that are memorable.
A month of pumpkin-spiced lattes and fancy-dress parties. Halloween is a key retail date for October, with retailers releasing their spooky-themed items early on.
As well as Halloween, October is a time to really enjoy traditional Autumnal activities and capitalize on the general culture of your audience staying in more often.
M&M created a series of engaging social media posts, relevant to their target audience, and posted on Instagram and Instagram Stories.
They clearly know their target audience well and have a good understanding of the kind of content they want to consume, with a “Fall starter pack” and easy “caramel apple pops” recipe.
As well as developing a special range of Halloween flavors, colors and packaging, M&M thought outside the box by providing their audience with another use for their product in the form of a delicious recipe.
If your products are very visual, Instagram would be an ideal social media platform here and a great place for reaching the 18-24 year old market.
There’s no doubt about it, the Black Friday weekend is a huge opportunity for all retailers. It’s critical that you plan your strategy way in advance and anticipate a surge in website traffic.
Autumnal celebrations are taking place up and down the country and the nation remembers and honors those who sacrificed themselves in two world wars.
This is a really interesting example of how one brand decided to go against what everyone else was doing in order to stand out, and it certainly worked.
Considered a rather rebellious brand in general, Cards Against Humanity decided to actually increase their prices for the Black Friday weekend. They took the risky approach of adding an extra $5 to all their products and amazingly Amazon gave it the green light.
The crazy ‘sale’ was widely shared on Twitter and Tumblr and was even the top Reddit post at the time and covered in worldwide press.
Their extremely unconventional pricing model worked in their favor because it raised the stakes even further in their battle against consumerism. This Black Friday stunt made sense to their audience and therefore not only earned them a ton of exposure but sales too, even at the higher price point!
It’s definitely not going to work for the majority of ecommerce businesses, but a great takeaway from this example is to think outside the box and not always follow the crowd.
It’s important to always consider what will your target consumers respond to best when designing a campaign around a key retail date such as Black Friday.
It’s Christmas…the busiest shopping period of the year for most online retailers, and great news for sales if you can get your strategy right. Following on from the Black Friday madness, there’s also Cyber Monday to prepare for and winter officially starts.
As the year draws to a close, it’s time to celebrate how far you’ve come as a business and put your plans in place ready to do it all over again in 2020!
Well-known bookselling giant, Waterstones, made the most of the gift-giving season by creating a beautifully illustrated, interactive gift guide.
The interactive guide featured a Winter Wonderland scene with categories including ‘stocking fillers’ and ‘festive reads’ to help the buyer pick the perfect gift for their loved one.
This campaign took a simple idea and means of promoting their products at Christmas and set itself apart with an exceptional design and user experience.
As well as helping their audience to find the perfect gift, they created a digital marketing campaign that was unique and highly creative, meaning people wanted to share it with their friends and come back to it as a reliable source for great gift ideas.
If you don’t have the budget to produce something as well-designed and interactive as this, consider how you could create useful and shareable content that your audience will benefit from at Christmas.
You’re now fully equipped with all the key dates you need to know as an online retailer. It’s important to be aware of these dates throughout the year, but remember that not all of them will be relevant to your eCommerce business.
Make sure to prepare your sales and marketing strategies well in advance around the dates that can offer your business the most opportunity, try to think outside the box and prioritize your initiatives so you can allocate your budget effectively.
Speak to us to find out how Linnworks can connect and automate your commerce operations so you can capture every revenue opportunity.Book a demo