Michal - Senior Digital Marketing Executive

Michal Ciszewski

13th March 2020

How To Plan Your Marketing Effectively Around Seasonal Volume Spikes

There are key retail dates in the calendar that every online retailer should be aware of. In this article we will identify the key retail events and explain how to prepare for them from both an online marketing and logistics point of view.

Key Retail Events

In this section we will cover key retail events throughout the year. Some won’t apply to your business but others will – and there may be some that don’t obviously apply to your business but after a little thought you may find that you can actually write some content or build advertising around them.

1st January: New Year’s Day - It’s not an obvious one and it comes just after busy Christmas season, but if you have some great sales on offer or if you sell alcohol or fireworks, you should prepare for this event.

12th February (2021): Lunar New Year – It’s not a major festival in the UK, but in Asia it’s as important as Christmas is here. Especially if your audience targeting includes those living in Asia, you should definitely push your products during the time leading up to this event, if those products are relevant.

7th February (2021): Super Bowl – This is a big event in the USA for football fans. It costs millions of dollars to advertise on television but with smart online digital strategies, you could score a big win if you target US audiences or American football fans here in the UK.

14th February: Valentine’s Day – This is a great event if you sell small gift such as chocolates, roses or teddy bears. It’s also a great opportunity for jewellers or travel agents – so take action to market towards those looking to make a grand gesture on this day.

March (Full Month): Spring season starts in March, so if you sell bulbs, flowers, garden machinery or tools, that’s the time of the year when you should be the most active.

17th March: St’ Patricks Day – Not only is this a big event in Ireland but it’s also celebrated in the rest of the UK and other countries, too. Especially if you sell green hats or hoodies, with the right digital marketing strategy your products will fly off shelves.

22nd March (2020): Mother’s Day - We all want to show appreciation to our mums, so this is a perfect opportunity if you advertise flowers or small gifts.

12th April (2020): Easter Sunday – A big retail event with bunnies, chocolate eggs and other Easter decorations in demand.

May (Full Month): Wedding season starts- If you sell wedding dresses, run hotels or other wedding venues, sell cakes or other wedding-related items, that’s the time of the year when you want to be the most active.

 29th June: Wimbledon - The most famous tennis tournament. It’s your time to shine if you sell sport accessories and tennis equipment in particular.

24th August: Olympics Games – A global festival of sport with people getting excited about competing. This is a great time to encourage your customers to buy fitness apparel and sport equipment.

6th September (date varies across regions and years): Back To School - Summer holidays are over and the children need to go back to school. If you are bookshop or stationery retailer this is the time when you should level up your marketing efforts.

22nd September: Autumn starts - Trees are becoming colourful and it’s getting colder and wetter again. The perfect time to advertise warmer clothes, boots and coats. Also, for gardening retailers, autumn is the top season for selling bulbs and leaf blowers.

31st October: Halloween – Trick or treat? If you sell costumes, decorations or sweets that’s a great time to push marketing activity. But as with many of these dates, other retailers can get into the spirit of things and tweak their social media, content or email campaigns accordingly.

27th November: Black Friday – Initially popular in the US, Black Friday is now a big retail event in the UK as well. If you plan your marketing strategy well and take care of your profit margins you could increase your revenue greatly during this time. Take a look at our blog post “The Retailer’s Ultimate Guide To Black Friday Success” to find out more.

24th December: Christmas – Christmas season, for which marketing can start as early as September, is the most important event for many retailers. Plan smart and well ahead, and you could bring in record high revenue during this time.

How To Plan Around Your Seasonal Spikes

Plan ahead

Preparation is key. Now you know your main retail dates, you can plan for them well in advance. Ensure that you have at least one or two months before the event to plan, deliver and execute your marketing strategy.

 Agree on a marketing strategy and set clear objectives

You should think carefully about which marketing events are right for you. For example, if you sell sporting equipment, Mother’s Day might not initially seem like the biggest opportunity for you – but there may be an opportunity to sell gifts for sporting mums, or encourage families to be more active together.

You should also think about your sales targets and how much revenue you would like to generate. Then based on that, decide your marketing budget and what is an acceptable return on ad spend for your business.

Refresh your ad copy and take advantage of advertising tools

Before the retail event, you want to tell the world about your products and offers. If you are using Google text ads, make sure that your ad copies highlight your products. You can also include some extra features such as the countdown feature. This will tell the customer how much time is left before the offer in the ad expires. Make sure that you also take advantage of promotion ad extensions and sitelinks. All of these tools can help to encourage customers to click through to your website, and it’s important to make the most of all of the features at your disposal so you don’t miss an opportunity.

For display campaigns you need to ensure that you creatives reflect the event. For example, for Easter adverts make sure that your banners contain bright and spring-related colours and images so the customer quickly realises the messaging your advert is trying to convey.

If you use Google Shopping campaigns, take advantage of Google Merchant Centre, where you can create dedicated promotions for your ads.

Think carefully about ad spend

You should carefully think how much you want to spend on advertising. It is very likely that you will want to spend more during the promotion period. If you’re on a tight budget you may want to decrease spend during quiet periods so that you have budget available to increase spend for those big retail events that are so important to your business.

Make sure you have enough stock

It’s important to realise that it’s not all just about marketing. If you don’t get your logistics right, even the best marketing campaign will not help. You should communicate with all teams within your company so that you’re clear on which items are available in stock and which are likely to run out quickly.

You may also want to promote some products or product lines based on your profit margin rather than actual price. If that’s the case, make sure that you have relevant campaigns in the account to target the right products.

Automate where you can

It’s important to take advantage of automation where possible. With Google Shopping campaigns, you will not lose any money if your products are out of stock. However, for search campaigns it is good to have some sort of automated solution, which would automatically pause keywords for products that are currently unavailable. Here at SilverDisc, we are always striving to create the right automated solutions for our clients to maximise ad spend in this way.

In conclusion

There are many retail events taking place all year round and some of them will be more relevant to your business than others. There may be more niche days we haven’t listed here that are relevant to your business, or you may find you can take advantage of calendar events in ways you hadn’t previously considered. For online retailers, it is important to use a combination of digital marketing strategies and logistical backup to prepare for those events and maximise your revenue.

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