Check your calendar, it’s September! I hate to break it to you but if you haven’t been following along with our blog…you should be in the midst of adeptly preparing your operations for the coming Holiday rush. The data doesn’t lie. Think With Google reported that holiday shopping in 2014 started “Halloween early”. Holiday creep is a spooky matter, especially if you’re a retailer who isn’t fully prepared for the holiday madness. Over the summer we’ve lent you our extensive eCommmerce expertise to help you fully prepare. In case you missed it we covered: Managing Promotional Content for a Holiday Sale with Magento, Magento Site Prep and Clean-Up for the Holidays, Designing for the Holidays, SEM Budget Planning for the Holidays, and many more!
Let’s start off a new month by circling back to the basics; the important holiday dates for retailers and merchants that you should know about, and plan for, to make the most of the sale season. Stay on top of your game this year. We have all the dates you need to know about to effectively prepare. Don’t become a victim of holiday creep, mark these dates in your calendar today! Some of these days are well known (December 25th – Christmas, of course!), but there are many more important sale and promotional days taking the commerce world by storm.
One month before American Thanksgiving, on the second Monday of the month of October, is Canadian Thanksgiving. Different country but almost the same type of celebration with one exception; it doesn’t have the same strong Holiday association like it does for our neighbours to the South. It does however, help to spark some Holiday shopping excitement in Canada, with Halloween following soon after, and Christmas seemingly right around the corner.
2015: Monday October 12th
2016: Monday October 10th
Boo! Boxes of various bite-sized chocolates have already hit the shelves, you better have your halloween costume ready because you’re next worry is what you’ll be getting to gift give this holiday season; or in the case of merchants, worrying about what awaits you in November and December. How did your SEM planning go? Can’t answer that question…you should be able to at this point in the quarter. But don’t forget any special promotions that can be had for this commercialized holiday too.
2015: Saturday October 31st
2016: Monday October 31st
American Thanksgiving is a PBD (pretty big deal)! Celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November with an emphasis on food, family, travel, and of course the anticipation of mega-sales. American Thanksgiving signifies the official kick-off of the holiday season with Black Friday and Cyber Monday following right after. These are huge dates for merchants to be aware and ready for. We’ve seen some nightmare situations occur where everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. More often we’ve seen promotions running the entire week of American Thanksgiving. You really want to ensure your eCommerce site can handle the extra traffic during the most profitable season of the year, which why we implement a Code Freeze for all of our merchant’s sites.
2015: Thursday November 26th
2016: Thursday November 24th
The day after Thanksgiving historically has been one of the busiest shopping days of the year since the early 2000s with retailers opening their doors to offer door-crashers to crowds of consumers. Last year $50.9 billion was spent during the 4-day Black Friday weekend. The shopping holiday isn’t limited to bricks and mortar retailer either, with many digital merchants joining in on the madness to take advantage of the growth opportunity.
Fun Fact: The day is called Black Friday because traditionally it was the first time during the year that retailers would turn a profit (go from red to black).
2015: Friday November 27th
2016: Friday November 25th
Cyber Monday was once a term coined to persuade consumers to purchase online, needs no more persuading with eager sale-shoppers thinking digital-first with each passing year. This online shopping holiday started in 2005 after Shop.Org released a press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year” dubbing the day an official online holiday success. Cyber Monday presents a unique opportunity for smaller retailers to compete against the bigger retailers. Last year, Cyber Monday sales broke $2 billion, up 17% over last year, making it the biggest shopping day ever (well…until Alibaba’s Singles Day). We’re excited to see the day hit new historic highs year-after-year, but we want your website to be able to perform during the rush.
2015: Monday November 30th
2016: Monday November 28th
This annual holiday traditionally has taken place on the second Monday of December. The term was first coined by eBay in 2007 in reference to their best sales day in the month of December (green as in the colour of money). Research organization has more specifically designated Green Monday as the Monday at least 10 days before Christmas. Green Monday 2014 sales grossed $1.6 billion, making it the third biggest online shopping holiday of the year.
2015: Monday December 14th
2016: Monday December 12th
Free Shipping Day
Another online shopping holiday that’s been growing in popularity over the year, Free Shipping Day occurs on the third Monday of December to keep the momentum of holiday consumer spend going.
“Free Shipping Day” is a one-day event that occurs on the third Monday of December. On this day, participating merchants and retailers offer free shipping on in-stock items that guarantees the delivery of orders by Christmas Eve. It’s report that over 70% of retailers will be participating in the shopping holiday. Last year Free Shipping Day saw $926 million in desktop spending as final week of online spending surges 18%. A big part of success in digital retail is providing your customers with a positive shipping experience, so ensure you’ll be prepared for this day to create a big win.
2015: Monday December 21st
2016: Monday December 19th
Or as I lovingly refer to as “Panic” Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas Day. It obviously acts as a major driver of revenue for retailers being that it occurs on the last full weekend ahead of Christmas. Typically Super Saturday nets $15 billion in retail sales. Super Saturday lives up to its name, as it offers consumers major one-day sales in an effort to accumulate more revenue during the holiday season, and creative a positive customer experience by giving your shoppers the chance to get items ahead of Christmas Day.
2015: Saturday December 19th
2016: Saturday December 24th
This day should be more familiar to you…. Christmas Eve occurs annually on December 24th; the Day before Christmas. Christmas Eve acts as critical last chance day for any late (or forgetful!) shoppers, with malls open later. Christmas Eve also acts an a last minute boost in revenue both online and offline for retailers before Christmas Day.
Each passing year logistics and shipping companies have been improving their shipping services, making Christmas Eve increasingly more important among online shoppers.
2015: Thursday December 24th
2016: Saturday December 24th (also the same day as Super Saturday)
Malls are closed, and people are at home enjoying their purchases for the time being. Christmas day is a relatively quiet retail day.
2015: Friday December 25th
2016: Sunday December 25th
Boxing Day falls the day after Christmas, and was named for the “Christmas Boxes” employees would receive from their bosses in the British Colonies. Known in the U.K., Canada, and Australian States as a shopping holiday, Boxing Day is an opportunity for retailers to clear-out holiday inventory and increase revenue. Boxing Day now extends for the entire week following Christmas, right up until New Year’s Eve. Retailers are offering deals for “Boxing Week” in-store and online to bring Q4 to the best close possible. Be aware thought, merchants tend to see a large amount of returns post-Christmas, so have your returns policy in order.
2015: Saturday December 26th
2016: Monday December 26th
New Years Eve
It’s the last day of Q4 and the last opportunity for retailers to lock in sales before the end of the year. It caps off the busiest month of the year and Boxing Week. Retailers are usually strategizing how to best sell excess inventory from the holiday season and which post-holiday campaigns will be most successful in enticing consumers back in January.
2015: Thursday December 31st
2016: Saturday December 31st
Have you Started Your Planning Yet?
After reading this post I hope you have a better idea of the time periods that are quickly approaching that your store needs to be ready for. Around the holiday season expectations are high from consumers, and if your eCommerce site isn’t performing up-to-snuff they’ll leave and potentially never come back. The best way to make the most of this revenue opportunity is to be prepared. To help you in your quest for Q4 digital commerce glory we put together a free downloadable Holiday Sale Kit containing photoshop templates for on-site promotions, a work-back calendar of important dates, and a checklist of action items. Download the kit for free by click below: