Why it’s never too early to start planning for the holidays

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For many brands, the holiday season brings a considerable boost of revenue to the bottom line. Both eCommerce and brick-and-mortar stores rely on that boost to hit sales estimates, pay invoices, and plan for the upcoming year. 

Sounds important, right? So why are you putting off your holiday email marketing planning until later in the year? 

With so much resting on these sales numbers and converting customers, the last thing you want to do is wing it. Here’s why it’s never too early to start planning for your holiday marketing push. 

Holiday sales are increasingly important

Holiday sales are a continually growing trend across the U.S., for both retail and eCommerce stores. Last year, eCommerce sales during the holiday season were over $185 billion and represented just under 20% of all sales. For the 2021 holiday season, the numbers are expected to be even higher. 

ecommerce holiday sales

Part of that online shopping growth includes buying from mobile devices. In 2020, approximately $71 billion in eCommerce sales was spent by consumers in November and December shopping on their phones.

While the pandemic did impact the trend of more people turning to eCommerce than they had in the past, there aren’t many signs indicating those numbers are going to change. Now that consumers know they can safely and easily buy online, it will continue to be a big part of their shopping experience. 

More consumers are spending during the holidays, and you want to make sure they are primed and ready to shop with you when the season rolls around. Plan out how you can send engaging real-time personalized emails that tie into the holidays. If you wait until the last minute, you’re likely missing out on potential sales. 

Customers start shopping earlier

For generations, the typical ‘holiday’ season was that short month-long time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Customers hustled and bustled into stores after Thanksgiving to begin their holiday shopping. Black Friday was coined back in the 1950s to describe the increase in retail stores in Philadelphia in the days after Thanksgiving.

In the early 2000s, a few big things happened. First, stores started opening early on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so there became more hype around the event. And second, the Internet became much more common in households around the country. That meant you could shop online. 

Since then, the craze around the holiday season has continued. Now, many stores are open on Thanksgiving, and pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and deals start appearing weeks before. In 2020, partially due to the pandemic, Amazon pushed its Prime Day from July to October, moving the holiday season up even further. 

holiday shopping trends

Now, according to a survey from Deloitte, nearly 40% of Americans start their holiday shopping before the end of October. 

Start planning now

That shift in time is the other reason why planning for your holiday email marketing push now is so critical.

In a practical sense, with more and more consumers getting ready to buy in mid to late October, you have a time crunch on your hands. That extra month you used to have to come up with your featured products, prepare your copy, and set your emails is now gone.

With the timeline moved forward that much, you have to act fast. If you’re not thinking about how you can start prepping your customers to buy before October, you could be missing out on potential customers who are already ahead of the game.

Starting your planning now can also help you optimize your entire email marketing approach for the holidays. Beyond one-off deals specials, you can prep your abandoned cart, loyalty rewards, and welcome campaigns now so they are ready to launch as you get closer to the season.

Plus, with your 2020 numbers finalized, take the time now to go through your data and find ways to boost your email engagement. See what emails and products converted, where you can double down on success and areas of opportunity to grab a few more customers. 

Getting your holiday email marketing right is critical for a successful year. So take the time to start planning your marketing now, before you’re in the thick of the holiday season.

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