Convincing Ecommerce Holiday Shoppers to Buy Early

Your Christmas ecommerce campaigns should be in full swing by October if you want to take full advantage of online shoppers.  For the business-to-business (B2B) market, you should start even earlier.  The online holiday season starts early because it ends early due to shipping time, and other factors can amplify the urgency (such as a pandemic).  If you serve Canadians from another country or export your products outside of Canada, even more time is required for guaranteed delivery.

Every year, more Canadians do their holiday shopping online, citing convenience, crowds and selection as their primary motivators. This year, supply chain issues have both merchants and their customers in a panic.

“With regards to Canadian retailers, it’s not surprising that more than half of respondents shopping within Canada are shopping online,” said Craig Calvert, Director of Customer Solutions, UPS Canada. “We continue to see an increase in e-commerce, which plays a key role in the growth and success of Canadian small and medium sized businesses.”

How to Convince Online Holiday Shoppers to Buy Early

Unfortunately, consumers may object to facing this expensive season so early.

Here are a few tips to get online shoppers into the holiday spirit:

  • Focus on shipping – Explaining yourself is the best way to overcome objections of early promotion.  Mention the shipping consideration in your marketing so it not only explains why you’re promoting holiday shopping so early, but also reminds shoppers that they should get at it. It’s a good time to offer free shipping as well.
  • Have an early ‘Black Friday’ or ‘Cyber Monday’ sale.
  • Offer an early bird discount – It could be savings on their entire order or a screaming good deal on one product to get them into your website (like an offline ‘door crasher’ deal).
  • Offer a freebie with all orders placed before October 31st.
  • Have a contest with a Christmas shopping theme, offering holiday cash or gift certificates as prizes.
  • Add a shopping guide to your site with your products and/or affiliate products.
  • Put together your own online version of the ‘Sears Wish Book’ catalogue.
  • Kick start your holiday email and sales funnel marketing. It’s a good time of year to invest in professional email marketing tools, such as the popular Thrive Themes Funnels, or the  Systeme suite of tools (with a free level). An early start allows you to test and track, so you’re ready with your top-performing ads and funnels when the shopping season is in full swing.

B2B sites can get in on this too!

  • Encourage companies to order what they’ll need for their own holiday campaigns.
  • Company parties are booked from mid-November, which necessitates early ordering.  Recommend gifts for employees and bosses, feature office party supplies, etc.
  • Advise businesses to get their purchasing done for last minute tax deductions.
  • Create urgency by mentioning employee vacations and other reasons that ordering later in the year is inconvenient. For example, if you sell manufacturing equipment that staff must be trained to use, you can suggest a company order the unit early to ensure everyone is available for training.

Once your strategy is in place, utilize everything in your marketing tool box to get the message out there ASAP.  Social media will be your best friend over the holidays for promotion and to gain ideas, identify needs that aren’t currently being met, provide customer service, etc.

??? Have you started your ecommerce holiday marketing yet?  How do you introduce early Christmas campaigns? Join us in our Facebook group to discuss!

You may also be interested in reading:
How to Use Content Marketing to Skyrocket Holiday Sales
8 Things to do Online to Make Holiday Season Sales Soar
17 Tips for Your Store’s First ONLINE Holiday Season


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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Sales start to pick up in October but it doesn’t hurt to give people a nudge. Costco has Christmas decorations ALREADY!

Marc Foster

Before Halloween is a tough sell but we have to do it. I don’t usually use any holiday pictures or words until after Halloween but I do push gifts more. We do a gift guide every year too with mixed results. I do affiliate marketing though so it might be different for people who have their own products. Happy holidays!

Linden Carter

The earlier the better! Well…within reason obviously. Merry Christmas everyone!


Thanks, I thought my boss was going to commit me when I brought up Christmas in September but he liked your article.

Ruth Burgess

We ran our first holiday sale at the end of September!!! Catalog merchants know how early you have to start in any mail order situation, just look at the sears wish book.


I don’t even want to think about Christmas yet so I totally understand how others feel. It’s the nature of the online beast though and if we don’t hopt to it we’ll fall behind. Great advice.


it’s tricky and a lot of people do object but I agree that if you just let them know why you’re starting promotions early they’re ok with it.