2022 Holiday Promotion Planning Guide: Our Recipe for Sweet Holiday Sales!

2022 Holiday Promotion Planning Guide: Our Recipe for Sweet Holiday Sales!

It's (almost) the most wonderful time of the year: the holidays. Though the holiday season isn’t quite here, we’re giving our clients a head start this year. With a sprinkle of our top-tier practices and a dash of recommendations from our holiday marketing experts, our recipe for success is fool-proof! 

We’ve been busy whipping up our 2022 holiday promotion planning guide to help our clients make this the sweetest Q4 yet. Our secret ingredient to success? Starting early! What are you waiting for? Have a slice of what we’ve prepared. 

2022 Q4 Promotion Recommendations

To get the best results during the most competitive time of year, we recommend the following when planning your holiday promotions: 

Longer Promotion Run Times

Due to shifting consumer behavior, our experts have adopted the policy, “The early (and longer) the better!” To accommodate consumers looking to make their holiday purchases earlier in the season, we recommend launching your holiday promos as early as October and running them longer than just Cyber Weekend (November 25th-28th). This ensures that even late holiday shoppers get to enjoy your deals. No customer left behind! 

Across our client board, we saw the following trends in November of 2021:

  • Online revenue (November 1st through 15th) was up 22% from the previous year.
  • Online revenue (November 16th through 30th) was down 9% from the previous year.

So, what does this mean? Essentially, clients who adjusted their promos to run earlier saw greater growth in Q4 than those who did not. Don’t buy it? Here’s another example: Last year, one of our clients (we’ll call them “Client A”) started their promo three days earlier than the previous year and saw a 115% growth in their Cyber Weekend revenue. Another client, “Client B,” shortened their promo period from five days in 2020 to two days in 2021 and experienced a 30% drop in revenue.

Deeper Discounts: Make Sure Your Sale is Really a Sale

Take it from us, there really is little to no “wow” factor with a deal any less than 30% off, especially during the holidays. With increased competition, to stay competitive in the marketplace this holiday season, we recommend clients run discounts greater than 30%. 

Last year, clients that paired longer promotions with deeper discounts saw stronger returns for the promotional period. One client ran a 50% off sale for a week and saw a return on investments (ROAS) of six. Clients who did not run steeper promotions and whose sale was only live Thursday through Monday saw minimal transactions. One of which only ran a 15% off sale without callouts in the asset and only had a ROAS of 0.7. 

Through surveying our own digital marketing and eCommerce experts here at CakeCommerce and Zero Gravity Marketing, we found that most team members were not engaged with a sale unless it was greater than 30%. It goes to show that we know how to spot a deal worth our while, and you can bet your shoppers do, too!

Offer Free Priority Shipping

Data from the 2021 holiday shopping season indicated that not only did customers make their purchases earlier in the season, but they also opted for curbside pick-up due to a fear of delivery delays. In fact, more than 50% of major retailers are offering curbside pick-up. To boost customer satisfaction and provide an extra incentive to purchase, this year, we recommend offering free priority shipping with a guaranteed delivery date (if possible). This will mitigate any concerns related to shipping delays and compromised delivery times. 

Lead Generation and Audience Growth Tactics

To take full advantage of holiday interests and collect first-party data before peak shopping periods, you should launch holiday lead generation and audience-building tactics as early as September. If you do not have a lead gen component live or a lack of organic presence, consult with your account team. Ensuring your emails run for the promotional period is crucial to driving sitewide revenue this time of year. In fact, we found that last year, one client was down $2K because they did not send a holiday email promo.

Increase Budget to Account for Rising In-Platform Advertising CostsLast year, we saw a significant jump in in-platform advertising costs. To accommodate for this, we recommended clients increase their holiday budgets. This year, we are advising clients to increase their Google budgets by 45% and paid social budgets by 30%. For example, one client increased their holiday spending by 162% year over year (YoY) and saw a 63% increase in traffic volume. Comparatively, another client cut their holiday budget by 43% YoY and saw a decrease in traffic volume of 30%. In the long run, it pays to account for these extra costs in your budget.

Channel Diversification

The secret ingredient to a holiday marketing strategy that performs: diversifying your advertising channels. Because the more, the merrier, right? In 2021, all clients who ran over three paid advertising channels saw a YoY increase in Q4 and during the peak holiday promo season.

Still need convincing? Last holiday season, clients that ran programmatic efforts saw an average increase of 92% YoY in total sitewide revenue growth. However, clients who paused or decreased their budget on advertising channels saw huge dips in their YoY performances. The average decrease was 31% YoY during Cyber Weekend.

Additional On-Site and Organic Tactics 

Top off your holiday promo planning with a few additional on-site and organic tactics. Ensuring your site is optimized for mobile is a must, as mobile drives almost 50% of all eCommerce sales. Here are a few features we recommend:

  • Buy Now, Pay Later features and One-Click Checkout. 
  • Display price cuts on product landing pages instead of requiring the shopper to input a promo code at checkout.
  • Live countdown banners during sales.
  • Implement organic tactics leading up to the promo period (Instagram Story countdowns, posts, and emails teasing what’s in the sale, etc.) to drive excitement.
  • Increasing email distribution during peak periods to reach abandoned cart users, past purchasers, and last-minute shoppers.

The Icing on the CAKE: The Rise of Big Box Retailers and Brick-and-Mortar Businesses

In 2021, big box retailers and brick-and-mortar businesses were top performers, and physical retail growth surpassed eCommerce for the first time on record as consumers returned to in-person shopping. In 2022, we’re likely to be contending with these factors alongside the added stress of Midterm Elections and increased inflation rates. But don’t be deterred: This is just something to be aware of going into the holiday season and why it is so important to prepare ahead of time. 

With a little help from CAKE’s 2022 Holiday Promotional Planning Guide, your business can expect to reach incredible results. While it's always important to consider the socio-economic climate during periods of increased purchasing, we’re here to help you see sweet results. For more information about how CakeCommerce can make your brand top-tier this holiday season, contact our team.