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How to Launch Successful Holiday Promotion Campaigns in 2023?
Anna Dawal
Anna Dawal
November 27, 2023
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How to Launch Successful Holiday Promotion Campaigns in 2023?

The holiday season presents a fantastic opportunity not just to celebrate but also to boost your company's visibility. According to Deloitte's Holiday Retail Recap Report, last year's overall retail spending during the holiday season (between Nov 1 and Dec 31), representing a 5.3% YoY increase, was $936.3 billion

Crafting engaging holiday marketing campaigns and sales promotions enables you to showcase creativity, garner customer goodwill, and distinguish yourself amid a sea of similar offers.

If you want to leverage the holidays to enhance sales and promote your business in 2023, continue reading for the do's and don'ts that will set your campaigns apart and ensure a season of thriving holiday success.

What should you do to create successful holiday marketing campaigns in 2023?

1. Start early

The early bird gets the worm, and the same principle applies to holiday marketing. 

According to Numerator’s 2023 Q4 Holiday Preview, over 56% of shoppers aim to complete their gift shopping by the conclusion of November, whereas 38% intend to continue their shopping activities until mid-December.

In the US alone, 56% of shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales or promotions before last Thanksgiving, as reported by Deloitte's 2022 Holiday Retail Recap  Report.

A linear diagram representing the number of thanksgiving shoppers over the years

Initiating your campaign well before the holidays allows for meticulous planning, effective coordination, and establishes brand presence in the minds of your audience. By starting early, you gain a competitive edge and ensure that your promotions are on the radar of potential customers before the holiday rush. 

So? Plan and schedule your promotions considering factors such as shipping times, inventory levels, and market trends. Being proactive allows you to capitalize on peak shopping periods and maximize your ROI.

2. Test and iterate your promotions before the holiday season

Prior to the festive frenzy, it's crucial to test the waters with your promotions. Launching small-scale experiments or pilot campaigns allows you to carefully observe and analyze the results as well as your infrastructure capabilities. 

Consider A/B tests to gauge the effectiveness of different strategies, from promotional offers to messaging tone. These experiments not only reveal what resonates most with your audience but also provide invaluable insights into customer behavior. By closely monitoring the outcomes and leveraging data-driven insights, you can make necessary adjustments and fine-tune your approach.

Learn more: Building A/B Tests for Product Managers

3. Define your goals

Clearly define your objectives for the holiday campaign. Whether it's boosting sales, increasing brand awareness, or driving customer engagement, having well-defined goals directs your marketing efforts. Align your strategies with these objectives to create a focused, impactful holiday campaign that delivers measurable results.

4. Go omnichannel

Embrace omnichannel marketing by integrating various platforms and channels. Whether through social media, email marketing, or in-store promotions, adopting a cohesive approach ensures that your message reaches your audience wherever they are. You can always count on marketing automation platforms such as Braze or Klaviyo to deliver timely incentives to your customers just when the holiday spirit kicks in. 

Additionally, prioritize a mobile-friendly design for your promotions to cater to the growing trend of mobile shopping, offering a smooth experience for users who are on the go. But – don't overlook the importance of integrating your promotions into the in-store POS system too. Such a step caters to the needs of customers who prefer the in-person holiday shopping vibe. 



Hints and tips on how to support your holiday promotion ideas

1. Enhance your promotions with discount qualification

Qualifying your promotions strategically becomes especially significant during the holiday season, as it allows you to tailor discounts based on specific customer criteria, contributing to a boost in AOV and an improved CX.

You can craft holiday discounts that align with individual preferences by delving into customer data, such as behavior, purchase history, or loyalty status. This targeted approach not only enhances the overall customer experience but also ensures that your special holiday discounts are directed toward customers who are most likely to convert, optimizing the impact of your seasonal promotional efforts.

An examplary cart view with holiday discount qualification, a way to enhance holiday campaigns

Learn more: Qualification API for Smart Discount Recommendations

2. Take advantage of discount stacking

Consider using promotion stacking, where multiple promotions complement each other to provide added value to the customer. This could involve combining a percentage discount with free shipping or bundling products for a comprehensive deal. However, exercise caution to avoid overwhelming customers with too many options or burning your marketing budget by allowing too many discounts to be used simultaneously. 

The key is to strike a balance that adds genuine value (without causing decision fatigue) and enough discount to promote the sale, but not more. Thoughtful promotion stacking not only increases the perceived value of your offerings but also encourages customers to explore and engage with various promotions.

Learn more: Stackable discount API

3. Personalize holiday promotions with automated discounts

Implementing automated discounts adds a layer of personalization to your holiday campaigns. For instance, you can leverage CDP platforms’ data analytics capabilities (like Bloomreach Engagement, mParticle, or Segment) to identify patterns such as cart abandonment, which happens frequently during the holiday shopping spree. Promotion automation systems can then trigger personalized discounts or offers for customers who have abandoned their carts, encouraging them to complete their purchases.

An exemplary view of automated discount for cart abandoners, making holiday campaigns more effective

Learn more: Maximizing Customer Loyalty with CDP-powered Incentives 

Additionally, consider using dynamic pricing formulas to adjust discounts based on real-time factors like demand, inventory levels, or even the customer's browsing behavior. This level of personalization not only entices customers but also demonstrates a proactive and customer-centric approach to holiday promotions.

4. Re-think your return policy

While the holiday promotion season is undeniably a season of buying, it is also a season of massive returns. Ultimately, not everyone is always happy with their gifts and purchases. 

Therefore, as reported by Deloitte, during the last holiday season, 60% of retailers made changes to their existing return policies:

  • Many major retailers shortened their return windows to within a month around the Holiday season.
  • Some apparel retailers began charging fees for returns via mail.

These adjustments were driven by the escalating costs of handling and processing returns, prompting businesses to evaluate their ROIs carefully. In the midst of the holiday shopping frenzy, maintaining a healthy balance between customer satisfaction and operational efficiency becomes of key importance. To address this challenge, consider offering gift cards instead of returning money, as gift cards help uphold liquidity while still providing customers with a valuable alternative.

5. Ensure scalability of your holiday promotions

If you anticipate a significant increase in website traffic or app usage during the holiday season, ensure that your technical infrastructure is scalable. Scalability is vital to prevent crashes or slowdowns during peak times, providing an uninterrupted UX.

Opt for solutions that can dynamically scale resources based on demand. One effective approach to achieving scalability is through the use of microservices architecture. Microservices break down the application into smaller, independent services that can be scaled independently. This modular approach allows for flexibility and efficient resource allocation, ensuring that your promotional campaigns can handle increased traffic without compromising performance.

Learn more: Voucherify joins the MACH Alliance

6. Create a sense of urgency during holiday promotions season 

Boost your holiday promotions with limited-time offers and exclusive deals designed to trigger a sense of urgency. Introduce dynamic flash sales, where time-limited discounts immediately engage your audience. 

An exemplary view of a holiday flash sale campaign

You can heighten the urgency by prominently displaying a countdown timer on your main homepage, signaling the fleeting nature of the offer. A visually striking timer not only grabs attention but also conveys a powerful message to customers – time is of the essence. This instills a genuine FOMO, encouraging swift action. 

7. Support charity initiatives as part of your holiday campaigns

Integrate social responsibility into your holiday campaigns by supporting charitable initiatives. Consider donating a percentage of your holiday sales to a chosen charity or running special promotions where a portion of the proceeds goes to a cause. 

Communicate the charitable aspect of your campaign through various channels, emphasizing the collective effort to make a difference. Customers are often more inclined to participate when they know their purchases contribute to a greater good, especially during the holiday season.

What holiday campaign mistakes should you avoid?

Where are the traps? What mistakes to avoid? Below you will find some examples of situations that may negatively impact the final tone of your holiday marketing campaigns.

1. Offering too big of discounts

In the fast-paced world of holiday campaigns, the allure of offering jaw-dropping discounts can be tempting. However, the first pitfall to dodge is the tendency to overshoot the promotion amount. While showering customers with deals might initially attract attention, your revenue might be deflated.

To navigate this, aim for a balanced approach. Consider maintaining a sweet spot of discounts that not only captivates customers but also safeguards your revenue stream. Keeping a watchful eye on your overall ROI is crucial; it ensures your brand remains enticing without compromising its financial health. Remember, the magic lies not just in the discount itself but in the strategic and sustainable value it adds to your holiday campaign.



2. Making your holiday promotions prone to fraud

Embarking on the journey of holiday promotions demands strategic navigation, as they bring various challenges:

  • The ever-present threat of fraud: From shady code swapping to outright theft, the challenges are diverse and demand a meticulous game plan. Picture this: unauthorized coupon duplications, fake account exploits, and deceitful refund requests – all lurking as potential hazards on your promotional journey.
  • Management of expiration dates: Ensuring that your coupons remain valid exclusively during the holiday season is a preventive measure, enhancing the exclusivity and strategic timing of your promotions. 
  • Incorrect redemption: When customers mistakenly apply for promotions, it can lead to disputes, potentially affecting overall CX and damaging your brand reputation.
A dashboard view with comprehensive validation rules presented
Voucherify Promotion & Loyalty Engine Dashboard allows you to set up multiple validation rules for your campaigns, including budget constraints.

To guard against these challenges, it's crucial to adopt a comprehensive solution featuring a strong promotion validation mechanism. This not only protects your coupons and vouchers from unauthorized activities but also nurtures a positive and secure shopping experience for customers during the festive season.

Learn more: How to prevent coupon fraud?

3. Not collecting and analyzing promotional data

Holidays present a prime opportunity to gather valuable customer data that can inform your marketing strategies for Q1 of 2024. Implement methods to collect information such as email addresses, preferences, and purchase behaviors. Leverage this data to create targeted campaigns, personalize promotions, and enhance customer engagement. Implementing technical tools like CDP systems can streamline data collection and analysis.

Logos of CDP platforms, possible to integrate for holiday promotions success
Integrate Voucherify with Bloomreach, mParticle, and Segment CDP platforms to effortlessly gather customer insights for personalized promotional campaigns.

4. Relying on simple discounts

While discounts are undeniably effective, relying excessively on them can devalue your products. To stand out during the holidays, balance your strategy. Add special services, exclusive products, or limited-time offers to maintain product value and avoid being seen as always discounted.

Don't overlook the power of gift cards in your holiday promotions. In 2023, they are expected to be the top Christmas gift, according to Numerator. Gift cards are shoppers' favorites, providing flexibility and choice. Therefore, incorporating them into your promotions not only aligns with consumer preferences but also adds an extra layer of appeal beyond traditional discounts.

A diagram presenting what gift categories are more popular amongst holiday shoppers

5. Overlooking AOV opportunities for profit during holiday promotions period

Don't miss the chance to increase AOV during the holidays. Implement upselling and cross-selling strategies to encourage customers to add more items to their carts. Consider bundling related products or offering tiered discounts based on order value. 

A dashboard view presenting a bundling option as a holiday promotion idea
Voucherify enables personalized product bundling, transforming your promotions with tailored deals that resonate with your audience.

Holiday sales promotions ideas your customers will love

Assuming you've already identified your target customers, chosen your channels, analyzed competitor trends, and planned specific campaigns, the next step involves deciding on the incentives and an entire campaign format. It's not just about regular coupons; think about creative Christmas-specific offers that integrate well with your chosen campaign format. The trick is to package it all in a way that makes customers feel pampered and satisfied.

For more inspiration on holiday promotion ideas, see 10 Promotion Ideas for Magical Christmas

As you gear up to launch your holiday promotion campaigns in 2023, remember this: success is not just about discounts and deals. It's about creating an experience that resonates with your audience. So, go beyond the traditional, think outside the box, and make your brand the holiday destination for shoppers.


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