10 Must-Read Tips to Boost Sales this Christmas

The holiday season represents the most crucial sales period for many businesses. With consumers in a spending mood, the weeks leading up to Christmas account for over 30% of annual sales across many industries [1].

Retailers, in particular, bring in between 20-40% of their yearly revenue during November-December [2]. For small and mid-sized businesses, planning effective promotions during this time is vital to end the year strongly and sustain operations through slower months ahead.

As a strategist assisting numerous entrepreneurs and SMEs boost their holiday sales over the past decade, I‘ve seen first-hand the tactics that produce the highest returns on investment.

Here are my 10 must-read tips for maximizing your Christmas sales and growth, based on in-the-trenches experience.

1. Launch Limited Edition Festive Offerings

Creating excitement through limited-edition and seasonal products timed to Christmas shopping is an impactful way to attract customers.

Recommended Approach

  • Brainstorm festive variants of existing products – e.g. Christmas scented candles, holiday gift sets, bundled subscriptions.
  • Develop 1-3 new offerings at attractive price points – under $20, $50 and $100 price bands capture most gift purchases.
  • Promote new releases through ads and influencer campaigns in late October/early November to capitalize on early holiday shopping.
  • Use urgency nudges like "Only 200 units!" to prompt sales of limited inventory items.
  • Make sign-ups available for pre-order or notifications for sold-out products to capture interested leads.


A holiday gift set priced at $40 launched in this window contributed over 15% of annual revenue for an artisanal food business I consulted. Limited edition products are highly shareable too, expanding your brand visibility.

2. Offer Free Shipping and Lenient Returns

Consumers cite shipping costs as the #1 barrier to purchase, with 88% abandoning their carts due to high delivery fees [3].

Recommended Approach

  • Provide free standard shipping with minimum order values (e.g. above $50) to incentivize larger baskets.
  • Offer tiered delivery options – paid expedited, free 5-7 day shipping, discounted/free curbside pickup.
  • Extend return windows till end of January, with prepaid return labels and collection from home/office.
  • Promote these clearly across channels – product pages, checkout, website header, email receipts.


A retailer offering free holiday returns for loyalty members saw purchases increase by 17% during this period. Reducing friction in the customer journey pays significant dividends.

3. Gift-Wrap Orders and Offer Custom Packaging

78% of customers see gift-ready packaging as an important aspect when shopping online [4]. Going beyond just functional shipping material hugely improves unboxing experiences.

Recommended Approach

  • Provide complimentary festive wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, and gift tags/messages with orders.
  • Upsell premium gift boxes, bags, and hampers to elevate packaging.
  • Ship items separately upon request for individual wrapped gifts versus in one box.
  • Share packaging options and upsell offers prominently onsite.


Customers are 3X more likely to share on social media receiving a purchase packaged vs plain shipped – generating valuable organic exposure. Packaging perceived as a gift itself boosts satisfaction and repeat purchases.

4. Spotlight Top Selling and Trending Christmas Gifts

With endless options, customers appreciate guidance on winning products curated for gifting.

Recommended Approach

  • Analyze your sales data to identify best-selling items during holiday seasons.
  • Monitor industry reports on predicted top gifts to benchmark against [5].
  • Create a Holiday Bestsellers section or gift guide showcasing these products.
  • Promote top gift ideas across other channels – email, social media, digital ads.
  • Prioritize availability and inventory for trending products.


Our testing found products featured in Holiday Bestseller emails saw 2X higher sales than generic gift guide options. The halo effect also boosts purchases across catalog.

5. Harness Influencer Marketing for the Holidays

74% of customers rely on social media and influencers for gifting inspiration [6].

Recommended Approach

  • Identify nano and micro-influencers with high holiday engagement, between 10k-100k followers.
  • Provide complimentary products for them to showcase as gift ideas or in holiday content.
  • Negotiate a limited-time Vacation Ambassador deal for bigger reach.
  • Encourage promotions tied to your hashtag campaigns like #GiftsThatShine.


An artisanal brand saw a 4X ROI on gifting 5 top nano-influencers their premium holiday gift box. Their unboxing and recommendation content reached over 300k potential new customers.

6. Offer Personalized Holiday Discounts

Personalized discounts feel more exclusive than generic sitewide sales, inducing purchases.

Recommended Approach

  • Offer first-time shoppers 10-15% off their initial order.
  • Give loyalty members special holiday coupons – 20% off or dollars off next purchase.
  • Send coupon codes on customers‘ birthdays valid for 30 days.
  • Share discounts via email, SMS, personalized URLs for tracking.


Among customers who redeemed birthday coupons, repeat purchase rates were 75% higher compared to non-recipients. Personalized offers build loyalty.

7. Send Season‘s Greetings Emails

It‘s crucial to continue valuable email conversations during the busy holiday season.

Recommended Approach

  • Send an email in December wishing your subscribers happy holidays and thanking them for their support.
  • Share any modified hours/operations during festive weeks so customers can plan accordingly.
  • Announce any holiday promotions, gifts with purchase or special content you have planned.
  • Include a warm, authentic tone keeping the message personalized to your brand community.


Transactional emails typically see opens below 20%. For one retailer, a holiday greetings email received opens of over 50% and drove a 27% increase in traffic to their gift guide compared to the previous year.

8. Offer Extended Holiday Return Windows

Making returns seamless removes a key barrier to holiday purchases.

Recommended Approach

  • Extend return/exchange windows till end of January instead of just the holidays.
  • Provide pre-paid return shipping labels and schedule pickups from home/work.
  • Offer hassle-free exchanges – if the recipient doesn‘t like their gift, provide options to choose an alternate item.
  • Broadcast your policies prominently across channels – highlight flexibility.


An apparel brand that introduced a holiday returns window extending till January 31st saw purchases rise by 21% during November-December.

9. Plan Social Media Contests and Giveaways

Leveraging user-generated content in social contests expands reach and engagement.

Recommended Approach

  • Run a "Share your holiday moments with [Brand]" photo contest awarding gift cards or products as prizes.
  • Organize giveaways of your holiday gift sets or bundles by asking users to tag friends.
  • Repurpose contest entries, with permission, as marketing assets – display on site, emails, ads.


A "12 Holidays of [Brand]" giveaway grew the social following of a specialty food retailer by 15% in one season. UGC contests provide quality visuals and valuable exposure.

10. Offer Real-Time Order Tracking and Notifications

Communicating shipping status and enabling order tracking reassures customers of timely deliveries.

Recommended Approach

  • Integrate tracking on your orders page showing check-in scans and estimated delivery date.
  • Trigger email and SMS notifications when order ships and is out for delivery.
  • Set up a holiday shipping FAQ on-site for common queries.


Post-purchase communications are highly valued. 75% of consumers want real-time order tracking and delivery ETAs from retailers [7]. Providing it enhances the customer experience.

In summary, capitalizing on festive demand requires creativity, personalization, convenience and carefully-planned promotions. With a strategic and well-executed holiday campaign, small and mid-sized businesses can profitably close the year and sustain growth into the new year ahead.

If you need assistance building your Christmas and holiday sales strategy, feel free to reach out. I‘m always happy to help fellow small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed. Wishing you a prosperous festive quarter ahead!