Holiday Sales Planning Strategies

Everyone is starting to think about what they’re going to do for the holiday season and holiday planning, but this can be a daunting task for a small designer.

What you may not know is that the holiday season really starts in October. Traditionally, we always think about opening up presents around Christmas time, but ultimately those gift giving opportunities start around the beginning of October. Right after you’ve done your denim launches and all the things traditionally associated with September, you quickly launch into holiday marketing and holiday plans. It takes time to really figure out what it is you’re going to do and to really build the right relationships and get everything together when you’re just launching.

Start by answering a few questions:

  • What does my assortment planning looking like?
  • What styles will I push for holiday?
  • Are these the same styles I’ve been trying to sell for Fall-Winter, or is there something new?

If you have something new, great. If you don’t, don’t worry. You can still remarket and reconfigure what you’re pushing and selling for Fall-Winter to make a more holiday-focused marketing strategy.

When you take a look at the different ways you want to interact with your customer, figure out where your customers live and what they’re doing with their time around the holiday season. It may not be what you think. You might say, “Well, I only have an e-commerce platform. How do I take my e-commerce platform and make that into something that’s more of a direct message?” It can be a little bit challenging but the ideas below can be a big help.

Pop-Up Shops

Pop-up shops are excellent ways of getting in front of your customer. If you currently have an e-commerce platform and you’re looking for a way to bridge that relationship, a pop-up shop in a strategic market is going to help you figure out, “Are my products really marrying and getting matched up with the right customer base? Is my customer really reacting to my products the way that I want?” You almost have to do a little bit of holiday marketing/price point analysis and do some behind the scenes work to figure out, “How are my customers really reacting to my product when they get to touch it, feel it, and ultimately they get to experience it and hopefully buy it?” This is just one way of taking an e-commerce platform and turning it into something a little bit more tactile.

You might think pop-up shops are expensive. Maybe you’re used to reading about companies like Nasty Gal and other larger e-commerce platforms launching pop-ups. However, you can actually execute and do a pop-up shop in a really easy way. I like to use platforms like Storefront, which is great because you’re able to see what platforms and spaces are available on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, or even on a monthly basis- and they cover markets all over the country.

Digital Marketing

The holiday season is a great opportunity to start planning how you’re going to seed the market with Facebook ads, potentially Google AdWords, and drive traffic to your site and holiday promos. All brands have holiday promos- you won’t be the first. A lot of brands are hesitant to put things on markdown or offer special coupons, but if there’s any time of the year you’re going to do it, this is the time.

Plan your digital marketing strategy in a very cohesive manner. Make a list of the graphic assets you need. What assets will you need on your website to support those graphic assets on Facebook? And ultimately, what’s your budget? Again, your advertising starts in October and slowly starts to ramp up from there. When you take a look at the sales cadence, October usually consists of full-price merchandise. Come November, you’re going to start to see companies discounting at 25 to 40% off, right around Thanksgiving. Then when Christmastime rolls around, the period of the 21st through the 25th, you’ll see deeper discounts being taken- somewhere up to 50%.

Advanced planning will save you money, so start even before you plan your Fall-Winter Collection. Also remember to consider markdowns, marketing budgets and whatever else you’re going to have to do to actually get that sale when it comes to pricing your assortment.

Brand Collaborations

As the owner of a small brand, you’re likely spending much of your time trying to figure out the right price points, distribution points and digital strategies. The benefits of cross-marketing and cross-branding are often overlooked. Start exploring cross-marketing and do a little bit of research on complementary brands, brands that will potentially want to show your product on their sites.

Start to take a look at like-minded brands within your sphere. If you’re an accessories brand, look at clothing brands, vice versa. If you’re an e-commerce platform looking at a brand that traditionally does wholesale, maybe there’s an opportunity for you to do some cross-marketing. Maybe there’s an opportunity for you to get in front of buyers, through that cross-marketing. This is a fantastic time for you to sit down and say, “How can I leverage the three most important months of my selling year and really get the most benefit out of it from a marketing and sales and branding standpoint?”

Hopefully you gained some really valuable insights here. Looking for assistance for your holiday planning? Get in touch. Send us an email at