Understanding Seasonality in eCommerce and its Impact on Sales

If you’ve been running an eCommerce store for at least one full year, you might have noticed that more sales tend to come in during specific times of the year.

The reason this happens has to do with the time of the year.

People are more likely to splurge out on an expensive gift during Christmas or New Year’s than in the middle of the year.

Even if you’re not in a seasonal business, your customers react to particular seasons differently based on work expectations, their financial situation, and overall marketing trends and sales happening around them. And knowing corporations, it’s safe to say that this trend of repeating sales based certain months will continue. 

According to BigCommerce, almost 40% of online sales happen during the last three months of the year – October, November, and December. 

But there are many other seasonal times and celebrations happening around us. 

Valentine’s Day, Black Friday, Halloween, and other such holidays are a testament to businesses capitalizing on these trends to drive more sales. Consumers, meanwhile, are programmed to spend more during these holidays than at any other time.

Whether it be through gifts, celebrations, or some other occasions, there will always be a reason to get into the mood to give.

In short: seasonality still influences retail shopping and as a result, other types of purchases. Both offline and online commerce base their biggest sales around the times of the year.

Seasonality has a lot of impact on your sales, whether you capitalize it or not. Depending on your niche and products, customers might be more inclined to buy them during a specific time of the year, either as a gift or because of necessity.

Once you understand this, you’ll see there are a lot of different ways (and times) you can capitalize on seasonality. 

Here are some tips on how you can use seasonality to drive more sales and just what it means for eCommerce from a marketing standpoint.

Seasonal SEO Trends

What people look for (in terms of SEO keywords) also depends heavily on the season of the year, more so in eCommerce than anywhere else.

For example, it makes sense to assume that most people are searching for Father’s day gifts during that specific week. The same applies for Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and so on.

And when people get on their favorite search engines to look for “the best Father’s Day gifts for…”, you should be ready for them. Ideally, you should look into ranking for the keywords around a week or so before the holiday. SEO usually takes some to rank but if done right, you can expect an increase in sales during the specific holiday you’re capitalizing on. 

If you do start even earlier, you can capitalize on scarcity and have a count-down timer on the page, reminding your visitors the said holiday is coming up and that they’re going to need a gift. 

This tactic also applies to your email marketing. If you have a solid amount of customers subscribed to your newsletter, don’t be afraid to remind them of the upcoming holiday (and when it finally gets there as well). Make sure you don’t come off as spammy here. 

You can send a count-down reminder email a week before the event and then another follow-up email during the specific day. If done well, expect to see a high conversion rate as long as your product pages are optimized for sales.

Seasonal re-design

This tactic might work better on holidays which last more than a few days, but it’s still an effective one as far as seasonality goes.

Web design is an essential factor when it comes to your website and your conversion rates. UX, interface, color palette and your other design attributes are important as they contribute to your customers’ first impression.

Most people make a decision based on their first impression and decide if they’re going to buy or not the second the website loads. 

If you want to stand out and leave a lasting impression on your customer, consider the design of each touchpoint you have with your customers.

This includes, but isn’t limited to, your newsletter, email marketing, social media pages and content, and most importantly – your unique description pages where the main sales happen.

Most companies already reshape their branding depending on the holiday season (e.g. a Halloween or a skull emoticon on their logo during Halloween). But why stop there?

You can also implement special Halloween 24 hour discounts or sales (again, scarcity comes in here), and get creative within your marketing.

Applying a Halloween template or a re-skin to your brand are particularly popular marketing techniques brands employ. These small details are effective when it comes to leaving an impression and can imprint your brand within the customer’s mind even after when the holiday passes.

As long as you can leave a unique and memorable impression during the celebration, you can show off your humor and professionalism at the same time.

Other seasonal trends and preparing in advance

While keywords and good design are both great ways to launch a successful marketing campaign, especially during holiday campaigns, knowing your own unique audience is what will ultimately give you the most profit.

E-commerce is a hard niche to generalize because there are too many factors that influence your business. Holiday and life events, weather seasons, and celebrations are different in each country. And customers react in a different way as a result. 

So, the best way to capitalize on seasonality, at the end of the day, is by knowing your target market and doing your research.

As such, your traffic and sales might differ based on different holidays, days of the week, time, and so on. These factors differ everywhere, so, if you really want to target your customers based on them, you should research beforehand and prepare your marketing material in advance as well.

Understand how your target market thinks, what they want, and of course – when they want it.

Once you do that and know your audience, you can increase your marketing success dramatically.

By leveraging opportunities such as national holidays or season changes throughout the year, you can generate more revenue, build a stronger brand and boost your online presence.

These are all important factors that influence your bottom dollar. When you spot recurring patterns based on your unique situation, you can form a marketing plan and based your promotions accordingly.

Last but not least, consider your seasonality trends in terms of your pricing. Each occasion is a unique way to capitalize on the time of the year. For instance, people tend to spend more money during specific holidays.

So, be sure to have your calendar open and plan your sales in advance if you want to boost your overall revenue!

This is a guest contribution from Uwe Dreissigacker. Uwe is the founder of online invoicing software InvoiceBerry and also offers free invoice templates to businesses. Small businesses and sole traders can create, send and manage their invoices, quotes and credit notes with the tool. In his free time, Uwe travels the world and enjoys experiencing different cultures.


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