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1. Preparing for the holiday shopping season: 13 best practices

Holiday ecommerce sales: How to prepare (+ holiday calendar)

Brace yourself, the ecommerce high tide is rolling in! While many are reveling in festive cheer with eggnog and merry gatherings, ecommerce entrepreneurs like you are gearing up for a season that promises rich rewards for a year of tireless dedication.

The good news? The clock's still ticking in your favor! Right now is the golden window to fine-tune your strategy, ensuring that your business not only thrives but dominates during the pivotal holiday shopping spree.

Tapping into the wisdom of Gelato's brightest and our esteemed customers, we've curated the ultimate playbook of insider tips to ensure you capitalize on the holiday shopping season like a pro.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Preparing for the holiday shopping season requires a holistic approach, from feedback collection to inventory management.

  • A successful holiday ecommerce strategy combines strong operational preparedness with customer-centric initiatives.

  • Enhancing user experience, such as optimizing checkout and boosting website speed, is crucial for the anticipated traffic surge.

  • Adapting to varied consumer needs – from mobile shoppers to global customers – can set a business apart.

  • To drive sales, infuse the holiday spirit into everything from packaging to promotions, and leverage influential personalities to amplify your brand's reach.

  • Effective marketing, whether through shareable content or tailored email campaigns, is vital for tapping into the festive buying mood.

  • Businesses should be aware of key international ecommerce holidays and strategize accordingly.

Preparing for the holiday shopping season: 13 best practices

The holiday rush is both exhilarating and challenging. Here are some expert-recommended strategies and best practices to prepare for this crucial period and minimize hiccups:

1. Gather feedback from loyal customers

Loyal customers have journeyed with your brand and know its ins and outs. Their feedback, especially concerning the holiday shopping season, is essential. By understanding their past holiday shopping experiences and expectations for the upcoming one, you can refine your strategies and ensure you meet, if not exceed, customer demands during the festive rush.


  • Surveys and questionnaires: Use tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to craft surveys specific to holiday shopping experiences.

  • Engage on social media: Use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to gather customer feedback in the form of comments, polls, or Q&A sessions.

  • Reward participation: Entice customers to give feedback by providing holiday-specific discounts or exclusive festive deals as a thank-you for their time and thoughts.

  • Act on feedback: With feedback in, prioritize the most recurring or pressing issues and suggestions. Act upon them, ensuring your business is in top shape for the holiday rush.

  • Transparent communication: Once changes are made based on feedback, communicate them to your clientele. It’s a way of showing gratitude and emphasizing how much you value their input.

2. Optimize the holiday checkout experience

As the holiday shopping season sees a surge in traffic, ensuring a frictionless checkout process becomes paramount. A smooth checkout experience not only curtails cart abandonment rates but also fosters repeat business and glowing customer reviews during this crucial time.


  • Reduce steps: The fewer steps shoppers have to take to finalize their purchase, the better. Especially during the holidays when many are in a hurry, a quick and easy checkout is crucial.

  • Guest checkout: Recognize that many holiday shoppers may be first-time visitors. Allow them to complete their purchase without the need for account creation, ensuring they don’t abandon their carts due to prolonged processes.

  • Multiple payment options: With increased spending during the holiday season, flexibility in payment is vital. Offer a broad range of payment methods, from traditional credit card options to modern digital wallets and trending buy-now-pay-later solutions, catering to all shopper preferences.

  • Holiday-themed error notifications: It’s festive time, and even your error messages should carry that spirit! Ensure any error notifications are not only clear and helpful but also maintain a cheerful, holiday-centric tone. Guide users effectively on the next steps, ensuring they remain in the holiday spirit even if they encounter a minor hiccup.

3. Offer outstanding customer service

During the bustling holiday season, shoppers are often pressed for time and might have many queries. Reliable customer service can set your brand apart, cementing loyalty and ensuring any hitches are resolved efficiently.


  • Live chat: Implement a holiday-themed live chat feature. This real-time assistance can guide customers, recommend products, or even spread a bit of holiday cheer. Consider using festive greetings and emoticons to keep interactions light and merry.

  • Holiday training: Equip your customer service team with knowledge specific to the holiday season. They should be well-versed with ongoing promotions, holiday return policies, and any special offers so they can assist customers effectively.

  • Clear communication channels: Ensure all contact methods, be it email, phone, or chat, are easily accessible and maybe even decorated with a hint of festivity. A holiday-themed icon or banner can remind customers of the season and your commitment to serving them during this busy period.

  • FAQ section: Proactively address customer queries with a comprehensive FAQ section and reduce the load on your customer service team. Dedicate a portion of your FAQ to tackle common holiday-related questions, ensuring a seamless shopping experience during the festive frenzy.

4. Boost website speed for the holiday traffic surge

In the throes of the holiday shopping frenzy, a slow-loading website can be a significant deterrent for eager shoppers. Rapid loading times not only enhance the user's shopping experience but also bolster your chances of higher sales, reduced site abandonment, and better search engine visibility during this peak season.


  • Optimize images: High-quality images can evoke the festive spirit but can also slow down your site. Use tools like TinyPNG to compress your images, ensuring a balance between quality and speed.

  • Implement CDN: With global shoppers looking for holiday deals, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) ensures your website's content is delivered rapidly, regardless of where your shoppers are.

  • Minify code: Cluttered code can slow down your site, especially when traffic is at its peak. Tools that minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML can help eliminate unnecessary lines, comments, or characters, ensuring faster page loads.

  • Regular audits: During the holiday season, it's crucial to ensure that your website remains at optimal speed. Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to regularly monitor your site's performance, identifying any festive additions or changes that might be affecting speed, and take immediate action to address them.

5. Tailor your website for mobile shoppers

The festive season sees a surge of on-the-go shoppers looking for the perfect gifts via their mobile devices. To capture this vast mobile audience, optimizing your website for a seamless mobile experience is crucial. A convenient mobile shopping journey can significantly boost sales and elevate overall holiday shopper satisfaction.


  • Responsive design: Ensure your website's design is flexible enough to adapt to all devices. With many festive shoppers browsing on their mobiles, your site's appearance and functionality on smaller screens is paramount. Incorporate festive elements that don't hinder mobile usability.

  • Prioritize mobile speed: During the holiday rush, every second counts. A lagging mobile site can drive away potential sales. Use tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights to pinpoint and rectify any speed challenges specific to mobile devices.

  • Easy navigation: In the festive hustle and bustle, mobile shoppers appreciate straightforward navigation. Design your mobile site with prominent call-to-action buttons, an easily accessible search bar, and uncluttered holiday-themed menus to guide users effortlessly.

  • Mobile payments: Given the time-sensitive nature of holiday shopping, a speedy checkout is essential. Incorporate leading mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay or Google Wallet, allowing shoppers to finalize their festive purchases in mere moments.

6. Refine inventory management

As the holiday season approaches, efficient inventory management becomes crucial. It's imperative to ensure that the right products are available in the right quantities, minimizing storage costs while also avoiding the pitfalls of running out of hot-ticket items or ending up with dead stock.


  • Predictive analysis: Delve into past holiday seasons' sales data to accurately predict the demand for certain products. By understanding the seasonal trends, you can prepare better, ensuring popular festive items are sufficiently stocked.

  • Invest in software: The festive rush demands real-time updates. Utilize inventory management software that not only tracks stock levels but also provides alerts for low stock. Some advanced options even facilitate automated restocking based on demand predictions, a boon during the busy holiday period.

  • Outsource: If managing the holiday inventory feels daunting, it might be time to consider outsourcing to third-party logistics providers. They specialize in taking care of storage, packaging, and shipping, increasing your production capacity while simultaneously allowing you to focus on boosting sales and enhancing the holiday shopping experience.

7. Diversify shipping approaches for the festive frenzy

To keep up with the influx of orders and maintain a reputation of reliability, diversifying your shipping strategies is vital. Doing so not only guarantees on-time delivery but also establishes credibility and potentially sets you apart from competitors.


  • Engage multiple carriers: The holiday rush can be unpredictable. By diversifying and collaborating with several shipping carriers, you insulate yourself from potential setbacks. If one carrier faces delays, others can ensure the timely delivery of your products.

  • Holiday shipping options: Festive shoppers appreciate choice. Offer a range of shipping options, from rapid next-day delivery for those last-minute gifts to cost-effective solutions for early bird shoppers.

  • Local partnerships: The festive season might be global, but local partnerships can make a world of difference. By teaming up with local delivery services, you can offer invaluable same-day delivery options in certain regions, delighting shoppers with the speed of service.

8. Optimize product images and descriptions

The holiday season is a visual affair, filled with bright lights, decorations, and vibrant imagery. Capitalize on this festive spirit by ensuring your product visuals are compelling and that descriptions paint a vivid, trustworthy picture of what you offer. This clarity can significantly influence purchasing decisions, especially during the gift-giving season.


  • High-resolution images: Invest in high-quality images that capture the essence of each product. During the holidays, it's especially beneficial to showcase products in festive settings. Ensure that customers can view products from various angles and utilize a zoom feature to inspect details.

  • Alt text: Enhance accessibility and boost SEO by adding alt text to all product images. This not only assists those using screen readers but can also improve your holiday-themed product's visibility in search engine results.

  • Festive and detailed descriptions: Optimize your product descriptions and make sure they're holiday-ready. While maintaining clarity and informativeness, incorporate festive undertones where appropriate. Emphasize how the product can make a perfect gift or add value to holiday celebrations.

  • User reviews: Customer reviews are golden, especially during the gift-giving season when many are shopping for others. Incorporate these reviews and ratings to lend authenticity to product descriptions, reassuring festive shoppers of their choices.

9. Ensure a secure shopping environment

Amid the holiday rush and excitement, customers want the peace of mind that their festive purchases won't lead to compromised personal or financial information. By bolstering your site's security, you not only protect your shoppers but also position your brand as reliable and trustworthy during the most crucial shopping period of the year.


  • SSL certificate: Displaying the SSL certificate badge (usually a padlock icon) on your website ensures visitors that their connection is secure. Especially during the holidays, this badge can be a reassuring sight for those inputting sensitive information for purchases.

  • Regular updates: Cyber threats often escalate during peak shopping seasons. Ensure that your ecommerce platform, plugins, themes, and other related systems are updated to their latest versions, which often contain patches for known vulnerabilities.

  • Payment protection: Rely on reputable payment gateways known for their security standards. During the holiday rush, consider adding an extra layer of protection, like two-factor authentication or payment verification for hefty purchases, to ensure that big-ticket items remain under the tree and not in the hands of fraudsters.

10. Implement a hassle-free return policy

During the festive season, gifting is at its peak, but so is the uncertainty of whether a gift will hit the mark. A straightforward and generous return policy can be the gentle nudge a hesitant shopper needs to finalize their purchase, knowing there's a safety net.


  • Clear communication: The holiday shopping frenzy can be overwhelming. Ensure your return policy is not only prominently displayed but is also jargon-free. This makes it easier for both gift purchasers and recipients to understand.

  • Extended return window: Recognize that many holiday purchases are gifts, which means they might not be opened until weeks after they're bought. Extend your return window to accommodate this, giving recipients ample time to process returns if needed.

  • Prepaid returns: By providing prepaid return labels, you eliminate a potential pain point, making the return process smoother and more appealing to customers.

  • Quick refunds: In the spirit of holiday goodwill, try to expedite your refund process. Whether it's an exchange, store credit, or money back, swift action can turn a potential point of friction into a positive brand interaction.

  • Gather feedback: Use the opportunity to gather feedback on returned items. It provides insights into product improvements or areas of focus for the next holiday season.

11. Capitalize on sustainability

The holiday season, marked by festive joy and warmth, also carries a stark reminder of our impact on the environment. However, businesses like yours can pivot towards sustainable practices, aligning with the spirit of giving, but in a manner that treasures our planet.

Sustainability appeals to an increasing number of consumers. Adopting green practices can enhance your brand image and attract a conscientious customer base.


  • Eco-conscious gifts: Offering sustainable holiday gift options gives your business a unique appeal and entices eco-conscious consumers all over the world.

  • Reduce waste: Efficient packaging practices reduce waste, meaning the gift joyfully received isn't followed by a pile of discarded wrapping.

  • Transparency: Clearly communicate your sustainable practices on your website, emphasizing the benefits to the planet.

  • Collaborate: Partner with eco-friendly suppliers or third-party certifiers to showcase your commitment to the environment and amplify the message of responsible consumerism during the festive season.

Positioning your business as a force for good during the holiday season is pivotal. Gelato takes this commitment seriously with our avant-garde approach to sustainability. By utilizing a vast network of localized production hubs, Gelato significantly diminishes waste, emissions, and delivery times. Not only does this ensure faster and smarter production, but it also cultivates a greener future.

By partnering with Gelato, businesses embrace a future where products are created closer to their end destination, fostering community growth and drastically reducing environmental impact.

12. Localize campaigns for global shoppers

The holiday season looks and feels different across the globe. To truly resonate with a worldwide audience, it's crucial to make every customer feel at home when they visit your store. Tailoring your message to cater to diverse tastes, languages, and traditions isn't just thoughtful; it's smart business.


  • Cultural awareness: While Christmas trees might be a staple in some regions, other areas have unique customs and holidays. Research and celebrate these differences to make every customer feel acknowledged.

  • Language & currency: Implementing multi-language options for your website can drastically improve user experience. But don't just stop at language; provide currency conversions to make transactions seamless.

  • Localized marketing: When marketing to an international audience, generalized campaigns are likely to miss the mark. Personalize ad campaigns, email promotions, and social media content to resonate with specific regional audiences. Whether it's Diwali in India or Christmas in the US, tailor your promotions to celebrate alongside your customers.

  • Local partnerships: Consider forging alliances with local partners or influencers. They can provide firsthand insights, potentially granting you an edge in regional markets. Their understanding can guide you in making localized strategies more effective.

13. Create a roadmap for the holiday rush

The holiday season in ecommerce can feel like a whirlwind. But with a meticulous holiday-specific to-do list in place, you can navigate through the bustling season with poise and precision, ensuring no detail is overlooked.


  • Timeline: Begin your holiday planning well in advance. Mark out a timeline that counts down to the major shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas. This will give you a clear perspective on how much time you have and what needs to be accomplished.

  • Prioritize tasks: With so many tasks at hand, it's easy to get sidetracked. List down the most crucial elements first — be it replenishing stock, launching new product lines, or starting early-bird promotions.

  • Review & adjust: The holiday season can be unpredictable, with sudden sales surges or unforeseen challenges. Regularly review your to-do list and be prepared to pivot. Use analytics, customer feedback, and sales data to refine your strategies as you go.

9 proven strategies to increase holiday sales

It's crucial to employ effective strategies to elevate your business performance during the festive season. Let's explore some proven methods to engage customers more effectively and boost online sales.

1. Communicate critical dates for holiday deliveries

In the whirlwind of holiday festivities, customers are juggling a multitude of tasks. To make their shopping experience stress-free, and to ensure their gifts arrive wrapped under the tree in time, setting clear delivery deadlines is paramount.

For many, the magic of the season rests on timely gift-giving. And while Santa might have his elves, ecommerce businesses need to provide crystal clear guidelines on shipping timelines. Not only does this guarantee a merry experience, but it also solidifies trust and reduces frantic, last-minute customer queries.


  • Highlight deadlines: Emphasize the importance of timely deliveries by featuring the final order dates for guaranteed holiday deliveries. Whether it's a banner on the homepage or a note on each product page, make it hard to miss.

  • Email campaigns: Launch email campaigns that not only spotlight holiday deals but also serve as a gentle nudge, reminding customers of the fast-approaching delivery cut-off dates.

  • Track & update: In the dynamic world of shipping, things can change quickly. Regularly review carrier capabilities, anticipate potential delays, and keep customers informed. After all, in the holiday season, it's the thought—and the timely delivery—that counts.

2. Delight customers with holiday-themed packaging

Tapping into the holiday spirit, themed packaging can elevate the unboxing experience, turning it into a memorable moment for your customers. Not only does it add an extra layer of personalization, but it also serves as a powerful marketing tool, encouraging organic shares on social media.


  • Limited-edition packaging: Design packaging that embodies the essence of the holidays. Think snowflakes for winter, pumpkins for Halloween, or warm hues for Thanksgiving. These designs can be temporary and exclusive to the holiday season, adding a sense of urgency for customers to purchase.

  • Eco-friendly options: While the festive feel is essential, sustainability shouldn’t take a backseat. Offer packaging made from recycled materials or that can be repurposed. This not only resonates with eco-conscious shoppers but also reinforces your brand's commitment to the environment.

  • Personal touch: A small gesture can go a long way. Include packaging inserts like handwritten notes, free gifts, or promotional offers to make customers feel valued and increase the likelihood they'll share their experience.

  • Promote on social media: Use your social media platforms to give a sneak peek of your holiday packaging. Create engaging posts, behind-the-scenes videos, or even collaborate with influencers for unboxing sessions. This builds anticipation and can lead to increased sales as customers will be keen to get their hands on the exclusive packaging.

3. Craft special promotions and product bundles

When the festive season is in full swing, customers are on the lookout for deals that not only save them money but also simplify their shopping process. Special promotions and product bundles are effective strategies to entice these shoppers and increase your holiday season sales volume.


  • Time-limited discounts: Create urgency with short-lived discounts. Use countdown timers on your website to emphasize the fleeting nature of the deal. This sense of scarcity can lead to impulsive buying decisions, increasing sales in a short timeframe.

  • Bundle popular products: Bundling complementary products can make shopping more straightforward for customers. These curated sets can simplify the gift-buying process, making it a go-to choice for those uncertain about individual product selections.

  • Gift wrapping option: The holidays are a busy time, and many customers will appreciate the convenience of receiving their purchases ready for gifting. Offering complimentary gift wrapping for high-value orders can be an added incentive, while charging a nominal fee for others can cover the costs and add a touch of luxury to the shopping experience.

  • Highlight exclusivity: Make it clear that your bundles or promotions are holiday specials. This exclusivity can enhance the perceived value and create a 'get it before it's gone' mentality. Use banners, newsletters, and social media posts to highlight the limited availability of these offers.

4. Enhance customer loyalty with holiday bonuses

The holiday season is a prime opportunity to deepen connections with your existing customers. They're already more inclined to make purchases during this period, so giving them extra incentives can not only boost your sales but also solidify their loyalty to your brand, making them more likely to choose you over competitors.


  • Double loyalty points: Rewarding frequent shoppers with extra loyalty points for their holiday purchases gives them a reason to choose your brand over others. These points can be redeemed for future purchases, encouraging post-holiday sales as well.

  • Exclusive deals: By offering exclusive deals or gifts to members of your loyalty program, you're showing appreciation for their continued patronage. These exclusives can be anything from a holiday discount to a limited-edition product available only to members.

  • Sneak peeks: Everyone loves being part of an exclusive group. Granting your most loyal customers early access to holiday sales or new product launches not only makes them feel valued but also increases the chances of them making a purchase before stock runs out or before they're swayed by competitors.

  • Personalized discounts: Dive into your customers' shopping histories. By analyzing what they've bought in the past, you can offer them personalized deals. This personal touch shows customers that you pay attention to their preferences, enhancing their connection to your brand.

5. Evaluate and refine your marketing campaigns

The holiday season is bustling with businesses clamoring to capture consumer attention. In this crowded space, refining and optimizing your marketing campaigns becomes even more vital. Ensuring your marketing strategies are tailored, evidence-based, and responsive can be the difference between a mediocre season and record-breaking sales.


  • Analyze past performance: Dive deep into the data from past holiday campaigns. Were there certain promotional methods that garnered more attention? Maybe a specific product was a hit last year, or perhaps a certain advertising channel yielded a higher ROI. Utilizing these insights helps in crafting an informed strategy rather than shooting in the dark.

  • Segmented campaigns: One size doesn't fit all. Segment your audience based on their purchasing behavior, location, age, and other demographic factors. By doing so, you can tailor your campaigns to cater to specific preferences.

  • A/B testing: A/B testing (or split testing) is your friend. Maybe a particular headline grabs more clicks, or perhaps a specific visual invokes a stronger emotional response. By testing different campaign elements, you can fine-tune your marketing material for maximum efficacy. For example, if you're unsure about a promotional banner's color scheme, run two versions and see which one gets more engagement.

  • Feedback loop: While planning is crucial, being flexible is equally important. Set up mechanisms to gather real-time feedback on your campaigns. Are customers responding well to a specific promotion? Do they have issues with a particular part of the buying process? By keeping your finger on the pulse, you can make on-the-fly adjustments, ensuring your campaign remains optimized throughout the season.

6. Leverage influential personalities for your brand

In a world saturated with advertisements, influencers bring a touch of genuine human interaction. These influential personalities have spent time and effort building a rapport with their followers, making their endorsements valuable. During the holiday season, when consumers are actively searching for gift ideas and trusted reviews, influencers can serve as a bridge between your brand and potential customers.


  • Engage relevant influencers: It's not just about the number of followers an influencer has, but the quality of the engagement and the relevance to your brand. Research influencers who align with your brand ethos and cater to the demographic you're targeting. For instance, if you're selling eco-friendly products, collaborating with an influencer known for sustainable living can be a great fit.

  • Start early: Timing is everything. Reach out to influencers well in advance of the holiday season. This allows adequate time for negotiations, understanding campaign specifics, and creating quality content that doesn't feel rushed. Remember, the holiday season is busy for influencers too, and their calendars fill up quickly.

  • Authentic collaborations: Consumers are savvy and can spot inauthentic promotions a mile away. Rather than pushing a scripted narrative, allow influencers to integrate your product into their authentic content naturally. This not only makes the promotion more genuine but also resonates better with the audience.

  • Diversify: Consider working with a mix of macro and micro-influencers. While macro influencers have larger followings, micro-influencers often boast a tighter-knit community and higher engagement rates. Collaborative campaigns, where multiple influencers showcase different aspects of your product, can also be an effective strategy.

7. Design compelling and shareable content

In today's digital age, content is not just king; it's the kingdom. Especially during the holiday season, consumers are flooded with choices, and it's the content that often becomes the differentiator. Compelling, shareable content can transform passive viewers into active brand ambassadors, amplifying your reach and driving sales.


  • Diverse content strategy: While blogs and articles provide depth, multimedia content like videos, infographics, and podcasts can entertain, inform, and engage in a more immersive way. For the holiday season, think of creating festive videos showcasing your products or tutorials on how they can be used.

  • Humanize your brand: Transparency is appreciated by today's consumers. Sharing behind-the-scenes looks – be it your team decorating the office for Christmas or the process of packing special holiday orders – can make customers feel involved and connected.

  • Inclusive content: While you should focus on your primary audience, ensure your content is inclusive. Featuring diverse customer testimonials, stories, or even user-generated content can give a wider range of people a reason to connect with your brand. This is especially important during the holiday season when festivities are diverse across the globe.

  • Interactive content: Engage your audience with polls, quizzes, and interactive posts. For instance, a holiday-themed quiz that suggests products based on results can be both fun for the customer and beneficial for sales.

8. Host memorable online contests

Online contests are a brilliant way to invigorate your audience, especially during the festive season. It's not just about the prizes; it's about creating a sense of community, generating excitement, and making your brand the talk of the town (or the internet).


  • Engaging themes: Think outside the box and design contest themes that resonate with the festive spirit. For instance, a "12 Days of Christmas" challenge where participants share their unique holiday traditions or decorations can inspire participation and get people talking.

  • Interactive contests: Move beyond the traditional "like, comment, and share" model. Consider photo contests where participants showcase how they're using your products during the holidays, or story contests where they share their most memorable holiday experiences.

  • Promote your product: While cash prizes are always alluring, offering your product as a prize can do wonders for brand promotion. Not only does it highlight the product's value, but winners are more likely to share their experiences, leading to organic marketing and testimonials.

  • Collaborate for bigger prizes: Partner with complementary brands to host a mega-contest. This not only boosts the prize value but also expands the contest's reach to both brands' audiences.

  • Encourage sharing: Incentivize sharing by providing additional contest entries for those who share on their personal pages or tag friends. This naturally increases the contest's visibility and might draw in a larger audience unfamiliar with your brand.

9. Craft effective holiday email campaigns

In the bustling digital world of the holiday season, crafting standout email campaigns is paramount. Not only can they drive significant sales, but they can also establish a deeper connection with your customers, ensuring brand recall even after the festive cheer dies down.


  • Timely promotions: Understand the behaviors of your target audience. Sending emails at the right time, like Tuesday mornings or Thursday evenings, can make a huge difference in open rates. Additionally, capitalize on high-open-rate periods like Black Friday. For holidays, early promotions can capture the early bird shoppers, while last-minute deals cater to the procrastinators.

  • Segmentation: Divide your email list based on past purchasing behaviors, interests, or demographics. Tailored emails based on these segments are more likely to resonate with the recipients and lead to conversions.

  • Enticing subject lines: Your subject line is the first impression. Make it count with holiday-themed, curiosity-spiking lines that compel the recipient to click open. Phrases like "Unwrap Your Early Christmas Surprise Inside!" can be effective.

  • Clear messaging: Avoid overwhelming your audience with too many messages in one email. Highlight one or two primary promotions or messages, guiding the recipient towards a clear call-to-action, such as "Shop Now" or "Unveil Your Discount."

  • Visual engagement: Incorporate high-quality, festive-themed images. Let customers imagine the experience — a product being unwrapped, festive gatherings, or the joyous reactions of gift recipients. This kind of visual storytelling can be a powerful motivator.

International holiday shopping calendar: Key ecommerce holidays

We've created a calendar with all the key international shopping dates to help you align your strategies with significant global holidays and generate the most profit.

Holidays celebrated cross-regionally or globally

New Year's Day & New Year's Eve

Marking the start and end of the calendar year, these are celebrated on December 31st and January 1st worldwide, with festivities, resolutions, and countdowns.

  • Capitalizing on New Year's Day & New Year's Eve: The focus is on celebration and resolutions. Ecommerce businesses can offer deals on fitness products and more as people gear up for a fresh start.

Valentine’s Day

Celebrated on February 14th, Valentine's Day is a worldwide observance where people express love to their partners, friends, and family, often through gifts and cards.

Women's Day

Observed on March 8th globally, International Women's Day celebrates the achievements and contributions of women, advocating for gender equality.

  • Capitalizing on Women's Day: Promote female-centric products and collaborate with women-led businesses or causes, emphasizing empowerment and achievement.

St. Patrick's Day

Celebrated on March 17th, primarily in Ireland but now more globally, St. Patrick's Day honors Ireland's patron saint with parades, green attire, and festivities.

  • Capitalizing on St. Patrick's Day: Green-themed promotions or products can be lucrative, tapping into the festive spirit of parades and celebrations.

Mother's Day & Father's Day

Observed globally on varying dates, these days honor mothers and fathers, celebrating parental bonds and the influence of parents in society.

Prime Day

A global shopping event created by Amazon, Prime Day typically occurs in July and is exclusive to Amazon Prime members, offering them significant discounts on a vast range of products.

  • Capitalizing on Prime Day: This Amazon-centric event generates billions in sales. Ecommerce businesses can tap into this frenzy by offering complementary deals or "counter-sales" to draw traffic from those already shopping online.

Friendship Day

Celebrated on the first Sunday of August, Friendship Day is a global observance where individuals express love and gratitude to their friends.

  • Capitalizing on Friendship Day: Push friendship-themed merchandise and gifts, or offer "buy one, get one" deals to promote the spirit of sharing.

Labor Day

Recognized in early September in the US and on various dates globally, Labor Day honors the contributions of workers and labor movements.

  • Capitalizing on Labor Day: A significant sales weekend, especially for summer clearance and back-to-school items. Emphasizing end-of-season sales can draw in shoppers.

Teacher's Day

Observed on different dates worldwide, Teacher's Day celebrates educators' contributions, appreciating their role in guiding and shaping futures.

  • Capitalizing on Teacher's Day: Offer deals on teacher-themed apparel or gifts ideal for educators. Highlighting the importance of teachers in promotions can resonate with consumers.


Celebrated on October 31st, primarily in the West, Halloween involves costume-wearing, trick-or-treating, and various spooky-themed activities.

  • Capitalizing on Halloween: Profit from selling costumes, decorations, and custom spooky clothing and accessories. Creating a unique Halloween shopping experience or limited-time products can attract more consumers.


A Jewish festival of lights lasting eight nights, Hanukkah commemorates the miracle of the Maccabees' victory and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple.

  • Capitalizing on Hanukkah: Offer specific Hanukkah-related products or bundles, ensuring shipping aligns with the holiday's timing.

Black Friday

Celebrated the day after American Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November), Black Friday is marked by significant retail discounts and is observed primarily in the US but has gained traction globally.

  • Capitalizing on Black Friday: Arguably the biggest shopping day globally, businesses can maximize profits with significant discounts, effective marketing campaigns, and starting promotions early, given its global traction.

Cyber Monday

Following Black Friday, Cyber Monday is the Monday after American Thanksgiving and is dedicated to online shopping deals, attracting consumers globally.

  • Capitalizing on Cyber Monday: Designed for online shopping, it's vital for ecommerce businesses to participate with discounts and promotions, optimizing their websites for a seamless shopping experience.


Commemorated on December 25th by Christians and many non-Christians worldwide, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ with gift-giving, feasting, and religious ceremonies.

  • Capitalizing on Christmas: A colossal shopping season, businesses can ensure timely shipping, offer gift bundles, and use holiday-themed marketing to boost sales.

Boxing Day

Observed on December 26th, primarily in the UK, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries, Boxing Day traditionally was when employers would give their staff Christmas boxes or gifts. Today, it's often marked by sales and shopping.

  • Capitalizing on Boxing Day: The post-Christmas sales on this day can rival Black Friday. Offering significant discounts can help clear out old inventory for the new year.


Celebrated from December 26th to January 1st, primarily among African Americans, Kwanzaa honors African heritage and culture, marked by feasting and gift-giving.

  • Capitalizing on Kwanzaa: Highlight Kwanzaa-specific merchandise and share its cultural significance, drawing attention to its traditions and gift-giving.

Holidays celebrated in North and South America

Super Bowl Sunday

Held on the first Sunday in February, Super Bowl Sunday celebrates the championship game of the NFL, enjoyed by millions of Americans and global viewers through parties and televised events.

  • Capitalizing on Super Bowl Sunday: Market party essentials, team merchandise, or themed promotions, catering to the massive viewership.

Presidents' Day

Observed on the third Monday of February in the US, Presidents' Day honors all US presidents, particularly George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, with many institutions and businesses offering special sales or being closed for the day.

  • Capitalizing on Presidents' Day: Align sales or promotions with the patriotic theme, emphasizing products related to history or American culture.


Typically celebrated in February or March (the dates vary depending on the lunar calendar), Carnival is a festive season that occurs before the Christian season of Lent. It's especially famous in places like Brazil and New Orleans and is marked by parades, masquerades, and revelry.

  • Capitalizing on Carnival: Offer festive attire or party essentials, capitalizing on the revelry and celebrations leading up to Lent.

Memorial Day

Observed on the last Monday of May in the US, Memorial Day honors military personnel who died in service, marked by ceremonies, parades, and the decoration of graves.

  • Capitalizing on Memorial Day: Promote with a respectful nod to its significance. Offer patriotic deals or summer kick-off sales.

Canada Day

Celebrated on July 1st, Canada Day marks the anniversary of the confederation of Canada in 1867 and is observed by Canadians through parades, fireworks, and various festivities.

  • Capitalizing on Canada Day: Celebrate by promoting Canadian products or offering special deals for Canadians, tapping into national pride.

El Buen Fin

Mexico's counterpart to Black Friday, El Buen Fin takes place the weekend before Mexican Revolution Day (November 20th) and features stores offering significant discounts and extended hours.

  • Capitalizing on El Buen Fin: A prime shopping period in Mexico, ensuring timely promotions, and significant discounts can boost sales to levels seen during Black Friday.


Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the US and the second Monday of October in Canada, Thanksgiving is a day where families and friends gather to express gratitude, often marked by a feast that includes turkey.

  • Capitalizing on Thanksgiving: Focus on home, kitchen, and festive products. Offering deals leading up to the day can capitalize on the preparation for the feast.

Holidays celebrated in Europe and Australia


Celebrated around the summer solstice, typically on June 24th, Midsummer is observed in many Northern European countries. It marks the longest day of the year and is celebrated with feasting, bonfires, and traditional dances.

  • Capitalizing on Midsummer: Midsummer drives purchases related to outdoor celebrations in Northern Europe. Promoting themed products can resonate with celebrants.


Held from late September to the first weekend in October in Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest is the world's largest Volksfest (beer festival and funfair). While it's primarily a celebration of Bavarian culture and beer, Oktoberfest has inspired similar events worldwide.

  • Capitalizing on Oktoberfest: While rooted in Bavarian culture, the global appeal means potential sales in beer-related items, traditional German attire, and festival kits. Offering Oktoberfest-themed bundles or discounts can attract enthusiasts globally.

Click Frenzy

Held in mid-November in Australia, Click Frenzy is an online shopping event introduced to promote and boost ecommerce, with numerous retailers offering significant discounts.

  • Capitalizing on Click Frenzy: Australia's answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Click Frenzy offers ecommerce businesses a prime opportunity to attract shoppers with compelling deals, extended shopping hours, and unique Australian-themed promotions.


Observed on December 5th in the Netherlands and early December in Belgium, Sinterklaas celebrates Saint Nicholas's day. Children receive gifts from Sinterklaas, a figure similar to Santa Claus.

  • Capitalizing on Sinterklaas: With similarities to Christmas shopping, there's a spike in sales of toys, festive treats, and Sinterklaas-themed items. Curating special gift sections or deals can capture the celebratory shopping spirit.

Saint Nicholas Day

Celebrated on December 6th, primarily in Europe, Saint Nicholas Day honors St. Nicholas, a Christian saint known for his generosity. Children often receive gifts or treats on this day.

  • Capitalizing on Saint Nicholas Day: The focus is on gift-giving, especially for children. Ecommerce businesses can offer St. Nicholas-themed children's clothing, toys, chocolates, or special gift packages tailored for the day.

Holidays celebrated in Asia

Lunar New Year

Marking the beginning of the lunar calendar, usually in late January or early February, Lunar New Year is widely celebrated across East Asia, including China, Vietnam, and Korea, with traditions that include dragon dances, feasting, and the giving of red envelopes.

  • Capitalizing on Lunar New Year: With huge cultural significance in East Asia, there's a surge in buying festive goods, clothing, and gifts. Ecommerce businesses can capitalize by offering New Year-specific products, deals, and tapping into the tradition of red envelopes with digital vouchers or discounts.


This is the Korean New Year, coinciding with the Lunar New Year. Celebrated over three days, it's a time for families to come together, pay respect to ancestors, and participate in traditional games and food preparations.

  • Capitalizing on Seollal: Like the Lunar New Year, Seollal sees a rise in purchases for traditional foods, clothing, and gifts. Tailoring online offers to Korean customs and traditions around this time can cater to consumers seeking cultural items.

Raksha Bandhan

Celebrated in August, Raksha Bandhan is an Indian festival that honors the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie a protective thread or bracelet around their brothers' wrists, and in return, brothers give gifts and promise protection.

  • Capitalizing on Raksha Bandhan: This festival boosts sales in traditional threads, gifts for siblings, and sweets. Online stores can offer curated gift sets or limited-time discounts to cater to the festival's essence.

Qixi Festival

Often dubbed the "Chinese Valentine's Day," the Qixi Festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, typically in August. It's inspired by a legendary love story and is celebrated with the exchange of gifts and special events for couples.

  • Capitalizing on the Qixi Festival: Leveraging this romantic celebration, ecommerce businesses can promote couple-themed products, gifts, and experiences, taking inspiration from Valentine's Day marketing.

Navratri/Durga Puja/Dussehra

Spanning nine nights, Navratri celebrates the divine feminine in Hinduism, culminating in Durga Puja and Dussehra. Falling around September or October, these festivals are celebrated with dance, music, and the worship of the goddess Durga, particularly in India.

  • Capitalizing on Navratri/Durga Puja/Dussehra: These festivals drive significant sales in apparel, religious items, and gifts in India. Tailored promotions highlighting festive colors, goddess-themed items, or dance essentials can be lucrative.


Also known as Korean Thanksgiving Day, Chuseok is celebrated around the autumn equinox, typically in late September or early October. Families gather to share food and honor their ancestors.

  • Capitalizing on Chuseok: Chuseok is a peak time for gift-giving in Korea, with many looking for the perfect presents online. Highlighting traditional and modern gift sets can attract shoppers preparing for family gatherings.


Known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is a major Hindu festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-November, marking the triumph of light over darkness. It's observed with great fervor by Hindus worldwide with lamps, fireworks, sweets, and prayers.

  • Capitalizing on Diwali: Diwali sparks an increase in sales of festive décor, gifts, and traditional wear. Creating Diwali-specific bundles or offering discounts on related items can engage celebrants looking to prepare for the festivities.

Single’s Day

Celebrated on November 11th (11/11) in China, Single's Day began as an anti-Valentine's Day celebration for single people and has transformed into the world's largest online shopping event, popularized by Alibaba.

Capitalizing on Single's Day: Single’s Day has surpassed even Black Friday in terms of global sales, making it essential for ecommerce businesses to offer deals and tap into the vast shopping audience, especially targeting singles looking for self-gifting opportunities.

Increase sales this holiday season with print on demand

Preparation is your key to successful online holiday sales. As we've explored throughout this article, strategic planning and timely actions can set you apart in this competitive landscape.

Don't let inventory management bog you down in high-demand periods; leverage the power of the print on demand business model. With Gelato's global platform at your fingertips, you can sell high-quality print on demand products internationally—not only eliminating the hassles of inventory management but also offering the allure of custom products, a major draw for online shoppers.

Elevate your holiday sales strategy and let our team handle the rest. Set your store up for unprecedented success and sign up for Gelato today.

Holiday ecommerce FAQs

How do holidays affect sales?

Holidays significantly boost sales as they often coincide with peak shopping periods. Many consumers look for gifts, decorations, or specific items related to the holiday, leading to an increase in demand. Moreover, holidays are usually accompanied by promotions, discounts, and special offers, making consumers more inclined to purchase.

What are the best sales months on ecommerce?

November and December are typically the strongest sales months for ecommerce due to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas shopping season. However, other months might see spikes depending on specific holidays or shopping events pertinent to different regions.

Which holidays have the highest sales?

Christmas, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are the holidays that tend to drive the most sales. In China, Singles' Day in November overshadows many global sales events. 

What are the busiest ecommerce days of the year?

The busiest ecommerce days are Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles' Day. These shopping events are known for massive discounts, promotions, and exclusive online deals, attracting huge numbers of online shoppers.

How can I increase my Christmas sales?

There are a number of ways to boost Christmas sales, including:

  1. Start marketing early to build anticipation.

  2. Offer holiday-themed promotions or bundles.

  3. Ensure fast, reliable shipping options.

  4. Optimize your online store for mobile shoppers and a seamless checkout process.

  5. Engage customers through personalized email campaigns.

What percentage of holiday sales are online?

The percentage of holiday sales online has been steadily increasing each year. In both 2021 and 2022, 57% of US shoppers "intended to shop online during the holiday season." However, this percentage can vary based on regions, and with the expansion of ecommerce, this figure is expected to rise continually.


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