Important E-Commerce Dates for 2021

February 22, 2023

As 2020 comes to a close, we highlight the key retail dates in the coming year to help you make the most of 2021.

1st January, New Year’s Day

Call it a cliché, but for many, New Year means a fresh start. Focus your marketing campaigns around resolutions, challenges, and bucket lists.

Welcome the new year on social and use this period to hint at what’s to come from your brand. You might even have a new product to launch? Why not offer an exclusive discount to New Year’s Day customers? Don’t forget, post-holiday blues are very much real, and little gestures like this could go a long way.

18th January, Blue Monday

Speaking of January blues, the third Monday of the month, dubbed “Blue Monday”, is said to be the saddest and most depressing day of the year. And let’s be honest, it’s the perfect storm: your wallet’s dry, it’s the Christmas-comedown, your jeans are tighter, and you’re back at work.

For these reasons, brands strive to flip Blue Monday on its head and encourage positivity through the likes of giveaways, competitions, and charity donations. Take Moonpig as an example, who one year buddied up with mental health charity, Mind, to launch a pop-up wishing well post box in London, urging passers-by to send free card to a loved one suffering with mental health. Bonus points for raising awareness of year-round suffering, as well as raising money for an appropriate cause!

7th February, Superbowl Sunday

It’s the single, most-watched program in states. Year and year again. And whilst you’re talking crazy money for airtime, there are more affordable ways to get in on the action.

If you’re a sports, foods, or drinks brand, offering promotions will likely be on your agenda. For others, there’s still the social media hype to jump on. Solid creative, a stong Twitter-game, and a bit of budget to boost content can be a good way to engage your audience as they’re flicking between screens.

13th February, Galentine’s Day

What stemmed from a 2010 episode of Parks and Rec has become a popular Valentine's-eve tradition. Galentine’s Day brings an opportunity to celebrate the joys of platonic female friendship, with typical celebrations including gifts, brunch, and mimosas (which we’re totally on board with).

And you don’t have to be a greetings card or letterbox flower brand to seize Galentine’s Day, either. There are ways to get savvy with your marketing so you, too, can get on board — think Galentine’s Day gift guides, pop-up events, nominate-a-friend campaigns.

14th February, Valentine’s Day

An easy one to remember, Valentine’s Day falls on the same date every year. And more than just chocolates and flowers nowadays, it can make early February a pretty big deal for your sales (especially if you sell anything romantic).

Make use of your homepage to highlight gift ideas. Send out an email to your existing customers. Create a buzz in the build-up.

14th March (UK) / 9th May (US), Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day applying to such a wide audience, many brands notice a decent surge in sales in the run-up. This year, UK Mother's Day will fall on 14th March, and the US a few months later on 9th May. Sell to both markets? Even better! Make sure you’re set to capitalize on Mother’s Day and promote your deals as much as you can:

  • Email marketing. Email marketing. More email marketing! Though do remember, Mothers’ Day can be a triggering time for some, so it might be worth offering your contacts the option to opt-out of these sorts of emails (same goes for other sensitive holidays).
  • Utilize your social media accounts to reach the widest possible audience.
  • Give your followers a good reason to promote your content with shares/retweets/comments, such as exclusive deals on Mother's Day gifts.

4th April, Easter weekend

Spread the Easter spirit with some sweet savings, especially if your product offering includes kids’ gifts or chocolate!

You should also use this time to get creative with your design (now’s your chance to stretch your brand guidelines!). Think seasonal themes and tasty pastel palettes.

Spark some Easter fun through seasonal games like Easter egg hunts that keep customers clung to your site. These are actually pretty simple to implement. For instance, ‘hiding’ photos of Easter eggs on some of the deeper pages of your site is a fun idea and quick to execute. Incentivize this by offering a discount, gift, or promo code for winners! Hint: slip in a branded hashtag and you might even get some UGC back on social.

8th June, Best Friend Day

It might seem like there’s a national holiday day for everything these days, but this could be a fruitful one for your brand, especially if social’s one of your key marketing channels.

Though not a traditional date for gift-giving, Best Friend Day does present an opportunity for running campaigns such as giveaways or competitions that are geared towards your audience interacting with one another. E.g. “Tag your best friend in the comments for a chance to win…”.

Also, if your product offering includes things like photos albums, jewelry, engraving, then you’re winning. Great time to advertise these categories specifically.

20th June, Father’s Day

Father's Day falls on June 20th this year. And as with Mother’s Day, for many brands, there’s a strong chance of increased traffic. Take the time to do some targeted marketing. Here are some few promo ideas:

  • Discount codes: use social media to push these out to customers around the beginning of June. Select the products you want to promote for the holiday.
  • Free gift wrapping: this should help entice those stripped for time (and those without a knack!) for DIY wrapping.
  • Make your ‘order by’ date clear: don't just bang it on your homepage and landing pages. Make sure it’s up there on your product pages, too.

Early September, back-to-school

As Coronavirus has unfolded and there’s been more at-home learning, the demand for educational supplies has only boomed. And whilst the beginning of the next school year could still be quite unique, interest in these product types is never going to vanish.

Think about what back-to-school products might still be in demand come September. Might anti-bac become a back-to-school staple?

Spend the time before the new school year reminding students and their parents what they’ll need in preparation for a successful first day back.

31st October, Halloween

October means cooler weather, warmer leaves, and, of course, Halloween. Even if your brand doesn’t have a direct link to the date, it could be worth adding some Halloween-themed offers to your shop.

If all else fails, encourage your team to dress up and load up your social media with some snaps. Bonus points for getting some nice employer brand content out there!

11th November, Singles’ Day

It’s the antithesis to Valentine’s Day and since originating at Alibaba back in 2009, it’s surged way beyond China’s borders, bolstering the revenues of many worldwide brands. In fact, it’s arguably become the biggest day in retail, with Alibaba’s and JD’s sales alone this year amounting to $115 billion.

So, how do you cash in on it? We’d recommend discounting those top-tier products, or items on your customers’ wish lists — it’s a great time to encourage a little self-indulgence.

Also, be sure to highlight your best bait products. The data tells us that brands typically do well on women’s cosmetics, perfumes, and accessories, and for men, gadgets come out top. P.s. if your brand looks at a young-adult audience, you really can’t afford to miss this!

25th November, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving’s a staple US national holiday that falls on the fourth Thursday of November. It started as a day of counting blessings and showing gratitude. Today, many use it to gather with loved ones, typically over a feast and some gifts.

For brands, it’s not just a busy shopping period and a good time to pump up your ad spend. It’s also nice to use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to lift the holiday mood and show appreciation for your staff, customers, and partners. Many brands use it to thank connections for their loyalty, for example. Whatever you do, it needs to be centralized around appreciation.

26th-29th November, Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM)

Kick-starting the Christmas shopping season is BFCM — the biggest weekend in the e-commerce calendar. Here are a few thoughts on how you can boost your traffic and conversion next time round:

  • BFCM-related blog content: if you run a blog alongside your e-commerce business, write posts at least 2-3 weeks before the big weekend. Aim for about one a week; you don't want to overwhelm your readers, but you also don't want them to forget the date. Find a balance that works for you.
  • Send out topical emails a few weeks before: Amazon’s a good example of this. Year on year, we see them hit back with effective email marketing. If you've shopped from Amazon in the past, you’ll have likely received emails from them with their various BFCM promotions. Try these techniques yourself.
  • Have a Black Friday homepage: you’re bound to be switching up your offers around this time. Keep customers informed so they can see which they’ll be making use of.
  • Put up a countdown: tell visitors how long until the sales start to create that bit of extra hype!

14th December, Free Shipping Day

It seems leaving Christmas shopping until the last minute has become part of the festive tradition. Chances are, your customers will still be shopping for their gifts 10 days before the big day.

It was entrepreneur, Luke Knowles, and his wife who cottoned onto this and launched Free Shipping Day. The idea being: an annual free shipping day in December would give brands’ customers confidence that their purchases would arrive in time for Christmas. And has it proved to drive sales? Absolutely. Don’t miss out.

25th December, Christmas Day

25th December. For many lucky families, this means turkey, mulled wine, and lots of lovely presents. Making it one of the best times for marketers to increase revenue.

Next Christmas, be sure to maximize your sales with compelling PPC campaigns. Combine Christma-themed ads with strong CTAs that will really draw your customers in. Make sure to get it all going at least 6 weeks before the 25th for those eager-beaver shoppers.

26th December, Boxing Day Sales

Whilst we’re seeing the Christmas sales creep into pre-25th territory, Boxing Day Sales still remain a big deal. Especially for those who got gift vouchers for Christmas and are keen to get out and spend them.

The sales are a good opportunity to update your graphics and offer new products and lines for extra revenue ahead of the January slump. 31st December, New Year’s EveBut, who’s shopping on New Year’s Eve? That might be your knee-jerk reaction. But the figures suggest otherwise… so be sure to keep the festive cheer going (think end-of-year discounts, free delivery).

That’s a wrap! If you need help improving your Shopify store for a successful 2021 and beyond, get in touch.


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