How online sellers can get prepared for Christmas

How online sellers can get prepared for Christmas

What can online sellers do to prepare for the Christmas season? We examine how e-commerce businesses can get ready for a highly lucrative time of year.


Sales figures for the Christmas season in the Western hemisphere are regularly used as a barometer of the retail economy’s health. In the US alone, consumers spent more than $188.2 billion (USD) in 2019. The opportunity for online sellers everywhere is clear: a winter boom spurred by Christmas sales offers the chance to help cement their customer base, expand their business in new markets and help shift additional stock.

Online sellers asking themselves how to get prepared for Christmas should plan ahead for a busy season. In this article, we’ll cover which markets e-commerce sellers should aim for when expanding internationally to generate strong Christmas sales, what businesses should do to get ahead of the competition, and how to run successful e-commerce Christmas campaigns internationally.

Identify the best target markets

We’ve identified the economies which have the greatest consumer spending over the Christmas season. The markets featured below, and their sales figures from the 2020 Christmas period, by no means form an exhaustive list of optimal targets for your e-commerce Christmas campaign, but should provide your business with a strong foundation:

  • USA: $188.2 billion
  • UK: $107.7 billion
  • EU: $269 billion*

*All figures are represented in USD. The EU figure represents combined sales from France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

International sellers should tailor their e-commerce Christmas campaigns for the nuances of each target market. Different countries have individual traditions around the festive season, providing creative marketplace sellers with a wealth of opportunities for themed promotions.

Get set up early

Putting all the pieces together months in advance can save a lot of headaches closer to the time. It’s never too early to start planning logistics, generating ideas and strategies for individual markets.

Figuring out how to pay international suppliers way ahead of time is also highly important. A World Account can simplify the approach, helping you to pay multiple suppliers quickly, wherever they’re based.

Prioritise international shipping

If you’re an international business selling into the US, UK or EU market, it’s worth arranging international shipping capacity as early as possible.

International shipping providers and logistics firms might be especially stretched due to qualified driver shortages, especially in the UK. Expressing shipping difficulties to customers ahead of time can help you manage expectations and avoid incurring refund requests.

Check the websites of shipping companies you intend to use to see whether they have contingencies for driver shortages, or what happens if deliveries don’t go according to plan. Depending on which market you’re targeting, you’ll need to keep in mind that different sales holidays apply to individual regions.

Check which holidays and festivals are taking place

In the US, Black Friday takes place just after Thanksgiving, and could dramatically impact shipping capacity. In the UK the similar promotional event Cyber Monday, which occurs the Monday after Black Friday, has become more established over the past decade. With increasing popularity across a host of events, it is sensible to identify how you can take advantage of seasonal sales opportunities.

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Reward early purchasing

Marketplace sellers should start generating buzz early by rewarding keen shoppers with the best bargains. A recent survey found that 85% of "Baby Boomers" said the most valuable aspect of any loyalty programme is a discount. Sellers should consider tapering their offers, so that shoppers making a purchase slightly later can still benefit from better-than-average rates.

Repackage and repurpose your stock to boost appeal

Christmas is considered quite a stressful time of year for consumers. Sellers can carve out a niche for their stores by making shopping as easy as possible. Help your customers by providing ideas for how your products are relevant to the season. Try adding one suggestion into each product description, positioning your stock as useful for specific seasonal use cases.

For example, your business might specialise in inexpensive goods that are perfect to mark as "Santa Stocking Fillers". Perhaps your products make excellent "Secret Santa" gifts for professional colleagues. If your items are more luxurious, consider positioning them as the ideal gift for young couples without children, or for older parents whose children have left home.

Get prepared for Christmas celebrations worldwide

Preparing for the Christmas season can seem intimidating for small businesses tackling the festival for the first time, especially if you’re based internationally. But with careful resource planning and scheduling, e-commerce companies can dynamically scale up their earning potential in Western economies.

If international e-commerce sellers keep a cautious eye on expenses, they can substantially increase the viability of their business. 

If you export your products overseas, you need reliable currency transfers to send and collect international payments. With WorldFirst, you can open up to 10 local currency accounts, and lock in exchange rates for months, not days. To learn more about WorldFirst products and services, chat with us online or call 0207 801 1065 today.

Jason Kaye
Experience: 10 years writing within the e-commerce, finance and tech landscapes

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