For online retailers, the last quarter of the year is an exciting time with huge potential for sales and promotions, due to a series of important dates in the online shopping calendar.
In Europe and the United States, the last few months of the year are a busy time due to the run up to Christmas, however most orders are placed on specific shopping days. Some of these can be attributed to traditional occasions, while others have been invented by the retail industry.
As an online retailer, you should definitely mark these dates in your calendar. Preparing a good marketing campaign for this period will result in a rewarding and successful end to the year.
In order to simplify the upcoming season for you, we’ve put together a list of the 8 top shopping days for the holiday season.
31 October: Halloween
Halloween is especially popular in the United States, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. But in recent years Halloween has become more popular in European countries too, even though many of them have their own harvest-related celebrations. Halloween is best known for costumes, scary stories and horror movies, and this leads to a large number of costumes, decorations and special candies being sold.
11 November: Singles Day
This festive tradition does not come from the United States, but from China. Singles’ Day was started by four students who decided to celebrate their single status. They did it on 11/11, because of the four single digits. The day caught on after the major Chinese online retailer Alibaba informally embraced it. Now it has also spread to Europe and other parts of the world.
24 November: Grey Thursday
Grey Thursday is one of the more controversial shopping days, because it was invented by large stores in the US to attract shoppers before Black Friday, on the day they celebrate Thanksgiving. In the last few years its popularity – and spending on that day – has increased, but there are people who think it is wrong to encourage people to shop on a day traditionally reserved for quality family time.
25 November: Black Friday
Black Friday takes place the day after American Thanksgiving and is symbolically seen as the start of the holiday shopping season. American Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday of November, and despite the roots of Black Friday coming from the US, over time the concept has spread to other parts of the world. Black Friday was originally an in-store retail event, but in the last few years it has also become a huge online event.
29 November: Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday was created for online commerce in response to Black Friday, and both of these dates are now a crucial date for online retailers, making the whole “BFCM” weekend a time for discounts and offers. They have their origin in the US, but have become very popular in Europe in recent years, and are popular both with retailers and customers.
5/6 December: Saint Nicholas Day
Some countries in Europe celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. This mythical figure is inspired by Nikolaos of Myra, a 4th century Greek bishop. He was the patron saint of children and sailors. According to legend, he was in the habit of giving secret gifts. In the Netherlands, “Sinterklaas” is very popular and many children receive presents on 5 December. Every year, Sinterklaas arrives from Spain with a steamship full of presents and sweets. In Belgium, they celebrate this day on the morning of 6 December. Also in Central Europe, Saint Nicholas gives presents to children who have behaved well.
14 December: Free Shipping Day
This day has emerged in recent years and was chosen by many small and large companies to offer customers free shipping and guaranteed delivery before Christmas Eve.
Mid-December: Last shopping weekend before Christmas
The last shopping weekend falls on 17-18 December this year. Both in-store and online retailers should take advantage of this weekend to attract shoppers, as it is most likely the last opportunity to increase marketing efforts and boost the number of Christmas orders.
There are many opportunities to be creative and attract new and existing customers with appealing marketing campaigns and interesting offers. However, there are also side effects caused by this period, one of which is an increased operational workload, often a source of stress for online retailers. Make sure you mitigate these by taking appropriate measures. And then go ahead and make the most of the biggest shopping season of the year!