Christmas Retail Promotion Ideas

A Sure-Fire Holiday Promotion

By Bob Negen

Looking for a sure-fire winner of a promotion for this holiday season? Have a "12 Days of Christmas" sale! This easy and fun Christmas promotion idea is a great way to stay in front of your customers during the last couple of weeks in that all-important shopping season. 

Here’s what you do. For each of the twelve days leading up to Christmas choose one item to feature on “super-sale” for that day only. Let your customers know which item is on sale each day via your email newsletter and on your Facebook page.

Your customers will probably want to know what's going to be on sale every day of the 12 Days of Christmas promotion but…. shhhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell. Keep the “super sale” item a secret until you send out your daily email and make your Facebook post.  It creates a lot of fun and excitement.   

Consider asking other stores in your area to join you.  Retailers find that when they join forces it brings more people to their shopping area, making this Christmas promotion idea even more successful than a solo event.

Here are a few tips to get you started…

Pick your items, pick your percentage.
Pick items to put on sale that are either 1) high-margin items that you can still make some money on even when you're giving your customers a killer deal or 2) items you are over stocked in that you need to get rid of before December 26th.

You can even "shop" in advance for merchandise especially for this event. At the summer trade shows ask your vendors for specials or closeouts that you can make part of your “12 Days of Christmas” line-up.

You don't have to pick all your items in advance, pick them the day before if you want to. As it gets closer to Christmas you'll have a better idea of what needs to move, and what is selling well even without a special incentive.

People sometimes ask if they should put an entire category of items on sale - like all candles 20% off. You could, but it’s generally not as effective. We think offering one great item at a really great discount - like 50% to 75% off - is what drives people into your store and makes this Christmas promotion work.


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Get the word out.
Email your customers the "super sale item" on each of the twelve days.  Make it a quick, one paragraph email with a really catchy subject line. With this promotion you can send emails to your customers for 12 days in a row without seeming like a pest.  In fact, they won't be able to wait to see what's coming up next!

Don’t put the name of the item in your subject line. Make them open up your email to find out what’s on sale, see a picture, and read about the item. Use great benefit copywriting to make the merchandise irresistible and the offer impossible to pass up.

But email isn't the only way to get the word out...  You should also post the deal of the day on your website, your Facebook page, tweet it if you're on Twitter, send a text to customers who have signed up for SMS messages, and so on.

BUT REMEMBER... don't post the entire list of items that are going on sale.  Just reveal one per day.

Make the merchandise enticing...
At a minimum you should include a picture of the super sale item in your emails and on your Facebook page. A good picture will entice people to come in and buy.

But why not go one better and use video? Take short videos of you or your employees talking about the special sale item of the day.  You can include links to the videos in your emails, post them on YouTube, on your Facebook fan page, and on your website, too! 

The videos shouldn't be long and don't have to be fancy.  You could use the camera that's right in your laptop computer, mobile device or cellphone. It doesn’t get easier than that. Or buy yourself an early Christmas present and get small digital handheld video camera. They are super easy to use, and many of them are not that expensive. 

Train your staff to sell.
Understand what this Christmas promotion is designed to do. Putting one item on super sale isn’t designed to generate lots of cash (although it may!) The super sale item is designed to drive lots of customers into your store.

It’s your job to sell them a bunch of other great, full-price stuff once they are there!

Make sure your staff is trained to sell so that every customer gets a great in-store experience leading to ‘unique gift finds’ and ‘last-minute gift’ add-ons. Selling is a skill and the more skillful your employees, the better this promotion will work.

Stack ‘em high and watch ‘em fly!
On December 13th (twelve days before Christmas), put a big display table of your first "super sale item" by the front door with a great "12 Days of Christmas" sign highlighting the item and the price.  You may want to consider having some of the featured items already wrapped up for handy gift-giving.

By Christmas Day your stockroom will be nice and bare, and your bank account will be nice and full.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thanks for reading about this great Christmas promotion idea, we have lots more great articles and videos about marketing your store, check them out! 


Want more great retail tips? Sign up for the FREE WhizBang! Tip of the Week. These tips are not high falutin-academic theory or pie-in-the-sky fluff, they are practical, proven ideas to help you run a successful retail store.