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Holiday Marketing Ideas for Boutiques and Fashion & Lifestyle Stores

Holiday Guide for Promotions, Products, Packaging & Shipping

 

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by viktoria kanevsky in Fashion & Lifestyle Marketing
holiday marketing image

Holiday marketing is an essential part of your online marketing strategy for your fashion or lifestyle store/boutique. You should apply it to each of your channels. Preparing your store for holidays might seem overwhelming, but this work will pay off in the long run.

While there are lots of ideas around, I’m going to share what worked for me in the past. To make holiday marketing clear, I’ll walk you step by step on each channel.

Even though we talk about marketing, I will touch on products, packaging, shipping and customer service as well as promotions for each marketing channel because everything is related to each other during this time of the year.

I. HOLIDAY MARKETING –  PRODUCTS & PACKAGING.

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1. Holiday Gift Sets.

Holiday marketing starts with presenting your products right. Bundle your products by category and create different gift sets for different types your customers’ personalities and different price points. Also, you can provide an option to bundling products of customers’ choice with flexible discount.

For example, for two-three items x % off, and for and for four-five pieces xy% off.
You should be creative and make gift sets by categories, colors, price points, etc. because I assume you know the taste and shipping habits of your customers by now.

 

2. Holiday Gift Baskets.

Even if you never sold them before you should consider adding at least couple to your holiday product mix. There are more than ten thousand searches in Google last month for the variation of terms “holiday gift baskets.” The trick is to make them look unique and relevant to your customers’ taste. You also can make them one-of-a-kind – meaning each basket is different. This way you will protect yourself from the shortage of inventory. The most important to take amazing pictures that would represent real value and beauty of your products.

 

3. Cross-selling items.

Fill your cross-sell section with relevant cute non expensive products that everyone would love to add to their cart because it’s not only irresistible but also will make an additional gift to someone this holiday season. Your shoppers are mostly women and women love cute things while being practical.

 

4. Holiday Gift Wrap.

I believe in wrapping everything every time with or without holiday season. My numbers proved that stylish and creative packaging decreases return rates. I can’t emphasize more how important it is.

Recently, I came across the conversation in one boutique owners’ group where someone said that one huge well know retailer ships shoes in poly bag. She was saying if they do it, we (smaller boutiques’ owners) can do too. I’ve been quietly thinking that we absolutely cannot afford to do what big guys can. We have to think about each detail to win a customer who is already loyal to those big retailers.

For online boutiques each customer is priceless because we have smaller budgets and resources, so we have to go extra step to acquire customers and turn them from one-time purchaser into a loyal one.

So the moral of the story is to invest in holiday gift wrapping. Handwritten little “thank you” notes on the top of gift wrapping do miracles.

 

5. Free Holiday Gifts.

The same as I believe in gift wrapping, I find a surprise free gift with a purchase equally useful. Always. Just because she deserves something cute. Because she is stressed, tired, and this little-unexpected something will put a smile on her face. If you want to be in profitable business, you need to learn to make your customers happy with their purchases.

Just build gifts into the price of the product along with shipping and packaging. If you are in “boutique business,” it’s entirely ok to sell quality products that might be little expensive.
My clients ask me what the best surprise free gift should be? I suggest looking either at your sales history or product overstock and be generous.

For example, at some point, I overstocked my store with bangle bracelets. They are pretty, but for some reason, they did not move well. So, we started to include up to three bangles into packages. We gift wrap each free surprise gift to surprise our customers. They are curious when they see an extra wrapped package inside of their order.

Another my great example is soap bars. We had luxurious handmade, fragranced soaps, but for some reason, we could not get that realistic luxury look and feel on photos and videos. So, we decided to include one bar into hundred plus dollars order (it was pretty generous considering the retail price of the soap). However, my strategy paid off when almost seventy percent of people received soap bar came back.

II. HOLIDAY MARKETING –  SHIPPING & CUSTOMER SERVICE.

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1. Holiday Shipping Deadlines & Promos.

Holiday marketing also includes holiday shipping, exchanges and returns as well extra customer service. Your customers should be aware by now of your holiday shipping deadlines, rules, and conditions.

Your deadlines should be stated in the “Shipping” section as well as website banner to simplify order placing process.

I recommend free shipping during the whole holiday season with free two days and later overnight closer to holidays. This strategy will place you in winner position because free shipping is a convenience and convenience is often a deal maker.

 

2. Holiday Special Return/Exchange policy.

Holiday return and exchange policy should be as comfortable as possible. Providing with free return and free first exchange will put you far away from your competition. To cut your risks reduce return policy to ten days to two weeks making it completely free.

 

3. Extra hours’ customer service hours.

Extend your customer service support to the maximum because for many people late evening and night time is the most convenient way to complete their holiday shopping. Going overboard with customer support will put extra dollars in your sales.Your team should know that this is the busiest time of the year and everyone should watch for emails and social media messages.

 

4. Super-fast response time.

It does not matter what your usual response time is, but holiday responses should be extra-timely because each second can lead to winning or losing the customer. This extra second, also, can turn your buyer into the loyal shopper who will keep returning to your store during the year because your shop won their trust during the holiday.

 

III. HOLIDAY MARKETING PROMOTIONS.

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Holiday marketing is the most creative, exciting, and challenging.

Also, those efforts the most time consuming and detail-oriented.

 

1. Website.

1) Your main website promotions and free shipping offers should be displayed on the websites home page, categories, and subcategories pages themed with holiday images.

2) Customers should easily find free shipping offers on product pages.

3) Create holiday gift guide to showcase great products or push under-performers. I recommend eight to ten products in one guide. If you want to sell more products, create more than one guide.

Gift guides come in forms of graphic, infographic, lookbook or pdf, but any format should be clickable and should take your customer directly to the product page.

You can be creative putting together your products by color, price, theme, or any other criteria of your choice.

4) Re-targeting is a must during the holiday season because it will remind your shoppers how beautiful your products are.

5) Abandoned cart recovery emails should have images of products in the cart along with additional discount and all other benefits described such as free shipping/returns/exchanges, gift wrapping, and free surprise gifts.

6) You have to have a dedicated Holiday Landing Page with great keyword based long SEO text. This way if you “plant” or update your page this year, it will show up higher in search results next year.

6) Create a separate “testimonial” section or if you already have one, update it with new great words that your customers say about your business. You don’t have to stress much, screenshots from Social Media, or thank you emails will do the trick. Nothing, of course, can beat the quality of your social proof as videos, especially videos of customers wearing or using your products.
If you don’t have video testimonials by now, put video testimonials into the marketing plan for the next year, so you have time to create a strategy and execute properly.

 

2. Promotions to Existing Customers.

1) Email Marketing

You have to have an email schedule with holiday-themed graphics, discounts and product benefits. You can create a separate informational email including your holiday gift guide into this email. It is a great technique to remind your existing customers who did not visit your site yet that you prepared something great for them.

Remember, holiday email open rate usually goes down, so you can complement your email campaigns with Facebook and Instagram ads showing to people who did not open your email. Just make sure that you are re-targeting your existing customers or engaged visitors and not new people who don’t know you yet. During the holiday season, people prefer to shop in familiar places. Very few potential customers would test fresh waters.

You need to increase the number of your holiday messages and make subject line appealing. Including your promotion into the subject line always helps. If you modestly send one or two emails, they will get lost between tons of other not so modest emails from big retailers.

 

2) Influencer Marketing.

If you have an existing base of influencers who perform well for you during the year, definitely run holiday promotion with them in formats of holiday lookbook, gift guides, product reviews and unboxing.

However, you should avoid starting campaigns with new influencers. Holiday equals sales and you need to test their audiences first letting them buy with smaller promo during the regular days.

3) Social Media.

You should increase your content development and amount of posts during the holiday season. However, do not bombard your followers with products and discounts. You need to showcase benefits of your merchandise verbally and visually. So styled pictures with benefit descriptions will work the best.

If you run Facebook or Instagram Ads, increase your budget on re-targeting your website visitors and social media followers.
Engage your Facebook Group members with extra anything that they would like. Generosity pays this time of the year.

4) Google Ads – if you have an existing optimized campaign, increase your budget and add promotions. However, if you don’t have one, I would not recommend starting at this time. Wait until January and put together a new campaign for Valentines.

 

3. Promotions to New Customers.

Unless you have decent budgets, concentrate on serving better to existing customers than trying to get new ones. People tend to shop in familiar places during this time. Acquisition efforts work better in different time of the year.
If you have extra money, Google ads are always a good idea. The same goes for running Google Shopping feed or any other feed of your choice.

If you have affiliate program running, than yes, provide your affiliates with great promotions, custom creative, vanity codes and everything else that can improve your sales.

Holiday marketing can be challenging, but it is also effective, fun and must to implement for each online and B&M store.

Happy Holiday Marketing to your guys!

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GET MY FREE CHEAT SHEET

There are exact steps & key points I used for multiple clients & my own store to go from $0 to over $1,000,000 in online sales in less than 24 months (while having limited budgets & resources)

IT'S FREE
100% privacy guaranteed!
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