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The Ecommerce Marketing Blog

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Our 10-Point Checklist to Get You Ready for the Holidays

By Kayla Lewkowicz
5 minute read

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s the most wonderful time of year for ecommerce. We’ve made our list—and checked it twice—so you can make the most out this holiday season of sales.

Read on for our full list and stick around for a free downloadable PDF you can print out so you’ll sail through the holiday season without spilling your cocoa. No cotton headed ninny muggins here!

1. Set Goals for the Holiday Season

For every campaign, you should always set a goal. Whether that’s a certain amount of revenue, sign ups, traffic to your site, or total number of orders, your goal is your compass. It keeps you from doing too much at once, and gives you a guide to what you should gain from all the effort you put in.

If you’re not sure, that’s ok. The trick to being successful is to constantly set higher and higher goals. So if you set a goal and crush it within 24 hours, then it’s time to think bigger.

2. Figure Out What Your Holiday Sale Will Be

This time of year, consumers expect a good deal. This is the boring, but necessary part: Crunch the numbers and figure out what kind of sale you want to run. Remember, that doesn’t have to be a discount, though that’s certainly an effective offer. That can be:

  • A certain % off

  • A certain monetary value off

  • A general offer, like free shipping

  • A free gift or free sample if they spend a certain amount

It’s up to you what will work best for your business.

3. Use One of Our Holiday Templates for Instant Cheer

Once you have your messaging down, use one of our holiday templates to add instant cheer to your site.


The best part? You can customize any of our templates so you can get your offer up on your site faster.

4. Choose Your Target Audiences

Once you have your offer, think about who should see it. Some segments to think about are:

  • First timers to your site, most likely looking for a gift

  • Returning customers

  • Customers with a cart value over a certain amount

  • Visitors coming to your site from an advertisement

  • Visitors viewing your site on a mobile device

Depending on your audience, you may need to adjust your offer or messaging based on each segment. This is really easy to do in Privy with audience targeting—for example, if you want to target your mobile users, you can set your targeting by device and then use the mobile version of the same template to ensure the best experience.

5. Create a Gift Guide

This time of year, many visitors to your site won’t be your typical buyers. They’ll be buying gifts for your typical buyers! Showcase your products and who they’re best for—the foodie, the techie, the sports fanatic, and everything in between—with a gift guide.


These don’t have to be fancy. Post a list with product screenshots to your blog, create a special product page based on the category, or create a gift guide email.

6. Promote Your Offer

Because it’s gift-giving season, it’s a great time to try and draw in brand new visitors to your site. Consider advertising on Facebook or Google for your products—and your holiday sale. Then, create an on-site offer that matches the creative from your ads for a seamless shopping experience.

And don’t forget organic social! Let your followers know all about your sales and products throughout the season.

7. Nail Down Your Deadlines

It takes time for your product to be made and shipped, especially if you’re the one actually making it. Go through your supply chain and processes to make sure you have everything in order for the holiday rush. Determine the last possible day someone could order so that they would get the product by Christmas. Then, make sure you make that clear on the site and in your emails. You want to make sure their gifts arrive on time!

8. Clean Your Email List

The key to a successful email marketing program is a clean email list. This season comes with plenty of emails to send for holiday sales—so make sure you’re maximizing your chances for high deliverability by going through your email list and marking anyone who has been inactive for a year or more. This means anyone who hasn’t opened an email or visited your site.

Rather than deleting them, suppress them from your marketing campaigns by moving those contacts into their own “do not email” list. While it’s frustrating to have email addresses you can’t use, it’s much better to email to the people who do want to hear from you. Those inactives aren’t actually making you any money anyway if they never open your emails or visit your site.

This is important because you’ll want to...

9. Promote Your Offer and Products to Your Subscribers, New and Old

Once you’ve determined your holiday offer, it’s time to promote it to your subscribers. Think about an email cadence that works for them. If you only email once a month, for instance, then you won’t want to jump suddenly to a daily digest. And make sure to welcome your new Black Friday and Cyber Monday subscribers now that they’re on board.

Generally, we recommend:

  • An email after Cyber Monday to announce your holiday sale

  • An email letting your customers know the last day they can order for it to arrive by Christmas

  • An email promoting your gift guides

  • An email to procrastinators promoting any last-minute deals the week before Christmas

Focus on a mix of your sale and general product information. Your email list is also a great place to share your gift guides, bundles, or other products that go together.

10. Make a Coverage Plan

The holidays aren’t just for your customers. They’re for you, too. If you plan on shutting down for a day or two, figure out a communication plan so that your customers know you won’t be available.

People totally respect this—there’s been a growing backlash to the intense consumerism of Black Friday. REI’s #OptOutside campaign is one such example. It’s completely doable to not be available—the important thing is to make sure customers know ahead of time, especially if your customer support team will be taking a much-needed break, too.

Bonus: Take a Break and Celebrate the Holidays

You deserve it! Pencil in some family time and enjoy the holiday season. You can do it!

Bring this List With You

As you load up your sleigh with goodies, it can be hard to remember all the little details. We made a downloadable version of this list you can print out and keep with you so you won’t forget.

Topics: Email Marketing

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