According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, over $1 billion will be spent in a single day on Cyber Monday. And, nearly $586 billion will be spent over the 2012 holiday season. That’s a lot of holiday cheer!  The survey also found that 36% of shoppers decide where to shop based on offers for sales and discounts. So, what kind of promotions can you offer to get your registers ringing? Grab some jingle bells and a dreidel and let’s go!

Free Shipping – The Tried and True Promotion that Everyone Will Use
Free shipping rules when it comes to holiday promotions because people are buying and sending gifts to family and friends, near and far. Did you know there’s a day purely dedicated to free shipping? It’s called “Free Shipping Day” (intuitive, eh?) and it’s on December 17th. You can get the details at

Free shipping is such an important factor in holiday shopping that the NRF’s survey indicated that 90% of retailers plan to offer some form of it for online shoppers:

  • 37% plan to offer free standard shipping with conditions (e.g., with a minimum purchase)
  • 30% will offer free standard shipping without conditions.
  • 30% said their free shipping offers will start earlier this year than last.

Don’t Just Get it There – Get it There in Style
How can you go the extra mile and make your free shipping offers stand out from the rest? Try offering your free shipping earlier (like pre-Thanksgiving), or offer an upgraded shipping service (2-day express) if you can afford it. Amazon Prime draws a lot of shoppers who take advantage of their 2-day shipping, especially during the holiday season.

You may want to try offering free gift-wrap as a complement to your free shipping. It’s a great way for the gift giver to ensure their gift arrives on time and is ready to open – and you save your gift shopper precious time and energy. Offering free shipping and/or free gift-wrapping can cut your margins, but there’s a good chance you’ll more than make up for it in volume. You’ll have to invest in some manpower to wrap and pack too.

Take the Ordinary and Make it Extraordinary
It’s pretty easy to take a standard promotion, put a creative spin on it and come up with something fun and unique that can surprise and delight your customers.

How about the following ideas:

  • Shake the Snow Globe for a Sprinkle of Savings – Save 20-50% (Allow customers to click on, or “shake up” a virtual snow globe to reveal a discount, or simply link customers from a snow globe image in an email or social post to a web page with the offer.)
  • Spin the Dreidel to Reveal Your Offer (Same thing, allow customers to “spin” a virtual dreidel to land on a particular offer, or link customers to a web page to reveal their offer.)

With both of these examples you can entice your customers to actively participate in the offer to see what kind of offer or discount they might receive. Most people assume they’ll get the lowest percentage off. Surprise and delight them by giving them a higher percent off  like 40 or even 50%. It’s much more compelling than just a straight offer for 40% off. And, it’s memorable. You can bet the next time you send out an offer, your engagement will improve too.

The following types of promotions can also be highly effective during the holiday season:

  • Daily deals – Offer a deal or special product for each day. Ideas include: “12 Days of Gifts,” “8 Nights of Offers,” or “24 Days of the Holidays.”
  • Doorbusters – Create specials for a select amount of hours, or until you run out of the item.
  • Gift of the day – Highlight different items each day.
  • Gifts by price point – Feature gifts by price point like under $25, under $50 to appeal to shoppers with a limited budget in mind.
  • Gift by end user – Provide grouped products like gifts for him, or her, gifts for the home
  • Come back & save – Send an offer to customers who recently made a purchase.
  • Save now & save later – Give an offer or discount with a purchase so customers can return post-holiday to save again.

Make it Last…Or Don’t
Put some thought into how long you want your promotion or offer to last. During the busy holiday season, shorter, more frequent offers work better on time-crunched and instant-gratification-seeking shoppers. For instance: 12-hour sale, weekend only offer, 3 day sale. Time your offers to best serve your customers. You can also try sending email offers out at night when most people are at home relaxing and browsing online. You can even host special shopping hours early or late to accommodate your customers and offer deals during these events.

I hope these ideas get you in the holiday spirit and inspire some great promos that’ll get your registers ringing!

If you want to learn more, have a listen to our recorded webinar: Promos for the Season.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

© 2012 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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