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How to Plan Your 2021 eCommerce Marketing Strategy: 2021 Calendar cover image

How to Plan Your 2021 eCommerce Marketing Strategy: 2021 Calendar

One of the most exciting aspects of eCommerce marketing is there’s a whole calendar of events to target and promote.

From Valentine’s Day and Cyber Monday to seasonal sales — with the right marketing strategy, you can leverage these dates to generate sales throughout the entire year.

So grab your diary, and let’s get planning.

Holidays

Holidays are centered around gift-giving which means people buy products they don’t typically buy for the need of someone else. These shoppers spend a decent amount of their time conducting product research, reading reviews, and comparing different price points — giving you a unique opportunity to tailor your marketing and reach to new customers.

Shoppers are on the hunt for the perfect gift (and the perfect deal). Using customer data collected through customer reviews or website analytics becomes a powerful tool for merchants looking to whip up an offer shoppers can’t refuse. With this data, they can finetune their messaging and create personalized offers — which is crucial when shoppers are being bombarded with other discounts and offers.

Last year, online sales grew 47.2% over the Christmas period, but Christmas isn’t the only holiday giving consumers a reason to shop. There’s a different holiday every day of the week, from the serious to the amusing. Find holidays most relevant to your customers and brand, and create tailored marketing campaigns.

For example, if you’re a dog food brand you might run a “most photogenic pup” competition on Dog Appreciation Day and award a bundle of treats to the winner. If you’re a clothing brand, you might offer large discounts on pink shirts in the lead up to International Wear Pink Day.

Here are just a few top holidays to consider as fuel for your eCommerce marketing strategy:

  • Valentine’s Day (February 14th): In 2019, Valentine’s Day sales added $27.4 billion to the US economy, making it the perfect opportunity to boost sales at the beginning of the year. Top Valentine’s Day gifts include candy, cards, flowers, jewelry, and an evening out. Help shoppers find the perfect gift by curating product collections “for him” and “for her” or create content that shows customers how to use your products for a special evening out.

    PDP for Gorjana
  • Mother’s Day (May 9th): Last year, consumers spent an average $205 on electronics, housewares, gardening tools, and books as the most popular gift categories. Start marketing products for Mother’s Day by mid-April and focus on these categories in gift guides and social media content.
  • Father’s Day (June 20th): Father’s Day gifts clock in slightly lower than Mother’s Day, at an average $148.58. Top categories include personal care, home and gardening, and tools and appliances. 37% of Father’s Day shoppers will purchase using a mobile phone or tablet, making social media marketing ideal for this holiday.
  • Black Friday (November 26th): Black Friday is a mass sales day falling the day after Thanksgiving. Traditionally, it was celebrated by brick and mortar stores, but online sales have been steadily increasing, with consumers spending $9 billion online last year. The top product categories for this holiday include apparel, electronics, games, gift cards, and health & beauty.
  • Cyber Monday (November 29th): Cyber Monday is the online counterpart to Black Friday, providing shoppers with the opportunity to reach big holiday sales online. In 2020, American consumers spent $10.8 billion online on Cyber Monday, making it the biggest online shopping day ever in the United States. Even if you’re not heavily discounting items, it’s still good practice to increase marketing efforts to take full advantage of the surge in online shoppers.

    Google Shoppng results for Boody
  • Christmas (December 25th): Christmas attracts four types of holiday shopper: early birds (September - October), seasonal (November - December), last minute (December 18th - 25th), and bargain hunters (December 25th - 31st). It’s also hugely profitable, with last year’s sales reaching an all-time high. Tailor your marketing messaging and offers towards the different shoppers, increasing the sense of urgency as time moves on.

Customer Example

WAG makes sure they send the right message and offer to each of their customers by using data collected from their customer reviews. This allowed them to tailor their product recommendation campaigns in Klaviyo based on key information like age, tastes, and past purchases.

WAG email

Best Practices

  • Seasonal Audiences: build lookalike audiences off of seasonal behavior for your ads, don’t just rely on purchase intent.
  • Dynamic pop-ups: use dynamic pop ups and inline forms to capture your site visitor’s data in order to build a strong list for email marketing promotions.
  • Segment Your Audience: segment your audience based on browsing or purchase behavior to customize your campaigns with targeted subject lines, imagery, email copy, and offers.
  • Reviews & UGC: collect customer reviews & ugc to display across your website and marketing channels to help build confidence with shoppers less familiar with your brand.
  • Reward Programs: implement a rewards program to give shoppers an incentive for shopping with you instead of competitors.

Seasons

Seasons don’t just signal a change in the weather. They also mark a shift in purchase behavior. Consumers are shopping for products best fit for the season (and you can bet the name of the season will be a key component of their search query). This could be shopping online for a pair of new sunglasses during the summer, rain boots in the spring, and heavy snow jackets for the winter.

Depending on your product offering, your online store can experience either a severe increase or decrease in order volumes based on consumer demand during each season.

However, online stores that look to remain competitive find a way to meet consumer demands by adjusting their business models, supply chains, inventory, shipping strategies and even sales and marketing promotions as a result of seasonal shopping.

For example, if you’re a sportswear brand, start the summer by running promotions on running shorts — then end the summer with promotions for bundled hoodies and beanies for the fall.

Each season offers a unique sales opportunity (if you know how to market your product year round). Even if you sell just one product type, you can still get creative by demonstrating different product uses throughout the year. For example, if you’re a coffee brand, you can run a campaign on brewing the perfect winter’s coffee during the colder months, and share recipes for iced coffees during the summer months.

Customer Example

Copper Cow Coffee let’s customers know their coffee can be enjoyed year round by providing insights and tips on how to create the perfect hot or cold brew coffee under their “learn” category. They even take it one step further by including customer generated photos to emphasize product usage.

Homepage for Copper Cow Coffee

Best Practices

  • Keyword research: use Google trends to identify popular products and their keywords for each season.
  • Target Audience: analyze your audiences demographic data to target your messaging based on their current season.
  • Product Collections: create seasonal product collections and include them in your SEO strategy to drive website traffic and conversions.
  • Product Usage: create seasonal content (or collect UGC) that shows customers how to use your product during each season.

Special Events

Every year brings a variety of events to celebrate. Even with the on-going pandemic, we can still expect consumers to be celebrating events virtually.

Sporting events, movie releases, award ceremonies, and music events create a wave of interest amongst consumers. It’s hard to ignore when they’re the hottest topic across social media, tv, and the internet for weeks and even months prior to the actual day of the event. As a result, consumers feel the need and desire to buy something fit for the occasion just so they can become part of the buzz.

Anything from clothing and accessories, to electronics and beverages can be a top product category for special events — it has everything to do with what’s trending.

For example, anyone attending Coachella will be shopping for the best festival looks. Those following Coachella from afar will take note of the latest trends and look for brands to help them recreate the look at home.

And it doesn’t have to be just a music event. Any event that appeals to your audience and is relevant to your products is something to make an appearance to. Some special events in 2021 include:

  • Coachella Music Festival — April 9th to 18th
  • The Academy Awards — April 25th
  • Tokyo Olympics — July 23th to August 8th
  • UN Climate Change Conference — November 1st to 12th

Customer Example

Beginning Boutique helps their female shoppers find the perfect festival outfit and accessories by creating a dedicated “festival outfits” collection. Displaying customer reviews and ratings only adds to the hype of this collection, allowing shoppers to get a feel for the most popular picks.

Homepage for Beginning Boutique

Best Practices

  • Celebrities: follow relevant celebrities to get a sense of this year’s trends.
  • UGC: ask existing customers to share their event look on social media.
  • Influencers: partner with influencers attending the event to provide behind-the-scenes access on your social media channels.
  • Competitions: run contests over the event to benefit from the hype.

How to Prepare for Your 2021 eCommerce Marketing Strategy

Now that your marketing calendar is full of events, you’ll need to start gathering content for your campaigns!

Okendo helps brands collect user-generated content (UGC) for their website and marketing channels to engage with customers, build shopper trust, and increase conversions.

Using Okendo’s integrations with top technology partners including: Google, Facebook, Instagram, & Klaviyo, merchants can stand out in organic and paid search results, display compelling UGC on social media, and deliver more personalized messaging via email.

Learn more about Okendo and the power of leveraging UGC throughout your eCommerce marketing strategy here.

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