Holiday sale strategy: 10 tips on holding a successful year-end sale in India

MarketingCategory
13 min read
Quentin Aisbett

The holiday season is a crucial time for businesses in India. It presents a unique opportunity to boost sales, attract new customers, and build brand awareness. With the festive holiday spirit in full swing and holiday shoppers actively seeking gifts and deals, it is essential for retailers and e-commerce businesses to plan and execute a successful holiday sales strategy.

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are fast gaining popularity in India, the biggest sale of the year in India is, without a doubt, the Diwali sale.

In this article, we will explore holiday marketing tips on how to hold a successful year-end sale in India. These holiday marketing ideas would give you a head-start on your holiday marketing plan to capture customers looking to shop for Diwali, Christmas and New Year.

1. Start early and plan ahead as part of your holiday sale strategy

To improve your holiday sales, it is crucial to start planning early. Begin by creating a comprehensive marketing plan that outlines your goals, target audience, marketing channels, and budget allocation. Consider using templates to help you organize your thoughts and strategies effectively. By having a well-thought-out marketing plan, you can ensure that you are prepared for the holiday season.

2. Craft the right deals, and offer limited-time promotions and special deals

This is perhaps the most important step in creating any sale strategy. Get it right and you’ll generate the sales volume you’re hoping for. But get it wrong and you won’t generate sales or — perhaps even worse — hurt your pre-holiday trading.

To entice customers during the holiday shopping season, offer special deals and incentives. Consider providing free gifts, limited-time discounts, or special offers for loyal customers. Create a sense of urgency by promoting a countdown to your sale or highlighting the limited availability of certain products.

A few time-tested tips:

Embrace the holiday spirit in your marketing campaigns

Holidays such as Diwali, Christmas, and New Year are celebrated with great enthusiasm in India. Incorporate the holiday spirit into your marketing campaigns by using holiday-themed visuals, hashtags, and festive language. This will help create a sense of excitement and encourage holiday shoppers to engage with your brand.

Choose specific products

Don’t just discount your products storewide. Choose wisely. Discount products you’re looking to turn over and reduce the prices heavily. Choose products where you have good sales margins so you can still make money.

Create bundles

Create product bundles and discount them. This way you are increasing the order value and turning over more stock. It will also ensure customers are not discouraged to pay full retail price on individual products later.

Provide add-on value

Value isn’t exclusively a discount factor. Provide some sort of value add. This could be a free product, monogramming or an exclusive add-on.

Include free shipping

Yes it’s an expense to retailers. But consider the impact that free shipping has for the consumer.

One study found found that ‘‘Free shipping offers that save customers $6.99 appeal more to shoppers than $10 discounts on products. Even though they save more with the discount.”

Discount by dollars, not percentages

Traditionally retailers are recommended to use percentage discounts for items under $100 and dollar discounts for products above $100.

But with consumers being flooded with holiday deals, I’d recommend you stick with dollar discounts regardless of the price of your product. Make it super clear how much money they’ll save.

Pro tip: Put the savings right in the Subject line of your email campaigns — people can’t resist a sale.

Design a few up-sells and cross-sells

To improve sales for your small business, you can either:

  • Attract more customers or
  • Increase your average order size

When considering the products you’ll discount, think about whether you have the ideal cross-sell or up-sell for each discounted product.

Related: How to use discount coupons to increase your e-commerce sales

3. Get your sales platform ready

The second step in any holiday sale strategy is to decide where you’ll sell your products. You can choose to:

  • Create your own online store
  • Sell direct via social media
  • Join one of the leading marketplaces

Let’s discuss the options.

Overhead view of a woman shopping on a laptop

Creating your own online store

If you have a website for your business already, you may choose to keep to the same platform and simply add an e-commerce feature.

Launching your own store takes effort, but it gives you complete control of your profits.

For example, if you have a WordPress website, you will want to get WooCommerce added. This will make it possible to sell on your site. If you don’t have a website, then you have the opportunity to choose the best-suited platform, like GoDaddy’s simple Online Store.

Selling on social media

There are three leading options — Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. It’s very simple to set up a Facebook store or Instagram shop and begin selling. Pinterest allows you to sell via your individual Pins.

One downside to selling only on social media? There’s no tracking system, so you’re liable to lose a sale if you miss a DM. And everything is manual — from payment processing to shipping.

Plus you don’t own customer data like emails — social media channels do — so you can’t create email lists and retarget customers with newsletters/website offers etc.

Joining a marketplace

One of the early hurdles for new online store owners is bringing people to your website.

However, marketplaces won’t be the right sales strategy for everyone. Some, like Etsy,  specialise in particular kinds of items. If you sell handmade goods, then you have a great opportunity.

You can sell just about anything on platforms like Amazon, but these tend to be very crowded marketplaces. It can be hard to get attention.

Person handing product in shopping bags through an open door

Another downside to marketplaces is that you can’t gather emails to start marketing to your customers — as with social media, the marketplace retains all direct contact with your buyers. And of course, you pay fees for the right to sell on each platform.

If you don’t have the resources or know-how to build an online store or join a marketplace, you can simply take phone orders and offer curbside pickup.

Related: How to start an online store?

Optimize your In-Store and E-commerce experience

Another good sale strategy that’s often overlooked by small retailers is conversion optimisation. With some smart adjustments, you can turn more of the people who are already visiting your website into paying customers.

Both in-store and e-commerce experiences play a vital role in holiday sales. Ensure that your physical store is decorated with holiday-themed displays and create a festive atmosphere to attract holiday shoppers. For e-commerce businesses, optimize your website and landing pages for a seamless shopping experience, including easy navigation, fast loading times, and mobile responsiveness. This can help to drive greater conversion rates on your website.

There are a number of factors that can boost conversions:

– Site speed (this relates to your web hosting)

Product descriptions

– Really good product photos

– Tantalising up-sells and cross-sells

– Abandoned cart emails (easily automated with GoDaddy’s Online Store)

Any time you spend getting these elements just right will pay off in more sales.

4. Work with other small businesses as part of your holiday sale strategy

As a small business, it can be difficult to steal any small slice of the customer’s attention during sales seasons. So consider working with other small businesses that sell products that complement (but don’t compete directly with) yours.

This sale strategy will boost your reach, because you’ll also be exposed to your partner’s customers, and improve your sales.

5. Collaborate with partners and influencers

Collaborating with partners and influencers can significantly amplify your holiday marketing efforts. Partner with complementary brands to cross-promote each other's products or services. Engage influencers who have a strong following and align with your target audience to endorse your holiday deals and spread the word about your brand.

6. Set up a referral program

The big brands have their advertising budgets, but as a small business owner you need to be creative and efficient.

The basic concept is to present a customer with the opportunity to earn rewards for sharing your deal with their friends and family. 

If their friends and family purchase their deal, they get rewarded.

One incentive you may want to consider is a future discount. This will encourage a repeat customer and turn a discount buyer into a loyal customer.

But you will need to present real value in this incentive for it to work. If you are rewarding them with a discount for a time where they’ll be buying at regular price, then you have margins to work with hopefully.

7. Start your promotions early

This is a key component of your holiday sales strategy. Don’t wait until the last moment to start promoting your deals. By that stage the big brands have already flooded the marketplace.

Implement a promotional campaign to run in the one or two weeks before the event. But don’t go too early or you run the risk of discouraging sales prior to the event.

Consider these opportunities to promote the event early including:

Invite customers to join a waitlist

Give them a sneak peek into the offers you’ll have and then encourage them to sign up to be notified. You won’t be the only business or brand doing this, so make sure you give them enough to grab their attention.

Craft compelling email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is a powerful tool for holiday marketing in India. If you’re lucky enough to already have an email list and newsletter, then this is a great vehicle for the pre-sale promotion. Consider getting a professional email address that matches your web address to build the kind of credibility and trust that leads to higher email open rates.

Holiday email marketing campaigns are an effective way to reach your existing customer base and engage potential customers. Craft compelling holiday-themed email campaigns that offer personalized recommendations, special offers, and exclusive discounts. Use eye-catching subject lines and holiday-themed templates to grab attention and drive conversions. You can also segment your email list based on customer preferences and purchase history to provide targeted content that resonates with your audience.

Leverage digital marketing channels

Digital marketing is essential for holiday marketing in India. Leverage search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to increase your online visibility and attract potential customers. Optimize your website, blog, and social media platforms with relevant keywords to rank higher in search engine results. Additionally, consider running pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns to target specific audiences and boost your online presence.

Leverage social media marketing

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are valuable channels as part of your holiday marketing strategy in India. Leverage the power of social media to create a buzz around your brand and drive traffic to your online store. Create engaging and shareable content that resonates with your target audience. Share sneak peeks into what you’ll be offering and get them excited. Use holiday-themed hashtags, contests, and giveaways to boost engagement and reach new customers. Collaborate with influencers to increase brand awareness and promote your holiday deals.

As you engage with customers on social media, consider getting them to subscribe with their email address. This will give you a more direct way to contact them when it starts.

Related: How to use Instagram ads to sell gifts

8. Day-of promotion

Person tying a red ribbon on a gift box

When it’s time to launch and promote your deals, you need to use every channel at your disposal.

  • Your website. Display a sale banner at the top or in a pop-up to ensure that every visitor to your website is fully-aware that you have deals on. Link to sale pages.
  • Email. Hopefully you’ve built up a waitlist of people just waiting on your word to take action. Or perhaps you have an email database you’ve built up over the years. Learn about email marketing in this post.
  • Social media. Let everyone know on your social accounts. Spend a small budget ensuring that the posts are boosted to your entire community and consider advertising to a wider audience.

9. Provide exceptional customer experience

The holiday season is not just about making sales. It is also an opportunity to prioritize the customer experience. Provide exceptional customer service, offer gift-wrapping services, and ensure prompt delivery of orders. By going the extra mile to make your customers' shopping experience hassle-free and enjoyable, you can build loyalty and increase customer satisfaction.

Offer excellent customer service, fast shipping, and hassle-free returns to ensure customer satisfaction. Consider providing gift-wrapping services or creating a holiday gift guide to assist customers in finding the perfect gift.

10. Turn the attention into future sales

If you’re able to carve some of the attention for your own small business, then think about how you can bring these new customers back again. Here are three holiday sale strategies to try:

Give them a reason to sign-up for regular emails

This is the simple solution. But don’t make it a generic ‘Subscribe to our email newsletter.’ With a ton of sale emails in their inbox, they’ll be dealing with email fatigue, so present some real value if they are to subscribe. Free samples or exclusive downloads are popular incentives to sign up.

Leave personal notes with your products

As a small business, you have some advantages, so play to them. Write personal, hand-written messages for customers when shipping their purchase.

Encourage online reviews

Take it a step further and ask these new customers for reviews. This will improve the likelihood of other new customers clicking Buy in the future.

Nail down your holiday sale strategy now

The holiday season is a critical time for businesses in India to boost sales and increase brand awareness. Remember to start early, utilize social media and email marketing, optimize both in-store and e-commerce experiences, offer special deals, leverage digital marketing channels, collaborate with partners and influencers, and provide exceptional customer experience.

Find a way to make it to work for you.

I can’t overemphasise the importance in getting your deals right — don’t just run with the standard 20% off storewide.

Spend time on your products and pricing and get those sale offers right. Then use your size to your advantage, get creative and do what the big brands can’t do. It might take some time to figure it out but experiment!

With careful planning and execution, your holiday marketing campaign will be a resounding success. By implementing these tips on holding a successful year-end sale, you can boost sales, attract new customers, and build brand awareness during this festive season and even all-year round.

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