Memorial Day means many things to many people. At its heart, it’s a day to commemorate the brave American soldiers who died fighting for this country. For many, the Memorial Day weekend also marks the start of summer and a chance to grab a deal in the annual holiday shopping event.
The shopping event is no longer the preserve of brick-and-mortar stores. Research by Namogoo shows e-commerce fashion sales soared over Memorial Day 2020, up 380 percent compared to the year before. Conversions increased by 335 percent, too.
These kinds of figures don’t happen by magic, however. Marketing plays a crucial role in your store’s success.
That’s why I’m going to show seven strategies to send your Memorial Day sales soaring.
7 Tips for E-Commerce Memorial Day Sales
A record-breaking Memorial Day doesn’t happen by luck. By using one or several of the following tips, you give your store a better chance of getting noticed, winning new customers, and having a great weekend.
1. Run a Paid Ad Campaign Showcasing Your Sales
Succeeding over the Memorial Day weekend is all about standing out. Big brands may do this with television commercials or billboards. Smaller brands often stick to social media. I recommend combining the two via a paid ad campaign on social media.
While few brands can afford to go all out on a TV ad, many e-commerce brands can afford a short paid ad campaign, especially if it’s optimized for conversions.
There are two crucial factors you need to get right: The channel you advertise on and the creative you use.
I recommend sticking to Facebook or Google for your paid ads. These platforms offer the greatest reach and the best targeting tools to help make sure your paid media budget goes the furthest.
When it comes to ad creative, it’s all about standing out. Using red, white, and blue, and an American flag are a given. But also consider including summer-related imagery that so many consumers relate to the holiday.
It’s essential to remember that, unlike Independence Day, this is a day of remembrance. Keep your tone respectful of the fallen and their loved ones, even if you’re focusing on summer fun. This ad from My Mind’s Eye does a great job of finding this balance: It’s eye-catching, positive, and still reminds viewers of the reason for the holiday.
Use Memorial Day hashtags on social media platforms, but be careful about the kind of content you post. Some people may be using these hashtags to search for information around the holiday itself and may be offended by overly promotional material.
2. Tease Your Sales on Social Media Without Revealing What They Are Until Memorial Day
Teasing your Memorial Day sales on social media is a fantastic way to drum up anticipation and build a potential customer base well before the big day. By running it on social channels, you have the chance to pick up thousands of new users who have never shopped with you before.
Get your social media calendar in place well ahead of the holiday. The more time you have to post, the more anticipation you can build. This is as true for your email marketing campaign as it is for your social media posts.
For example, The Pampered Iggy—an artist who makes outfits for Italian Greyhounds—teases their upcoming Memorial Day sales in this simple but effective image:
3. Run a Flash Sale
Unlike the winter holiday shopping season, Memorial Day sales last for a couple of days at most. This makes it ripe for flash sales.
These sales typically come with substantial discounts and are all about encouraging consumers to make impulse purchases. They’re also a great way to grab some press attention and make sure customers visit your store over your competitors.
Focusing on your new summer products is the best strategy here. Many consumers wait until Memorial Day weekend to make their spring and summer purchases, so they’re on the lookout for this season’s items. Make the discounts too good to avoid.
Getting the word out about your sales will be just as important. Consider using a paid ad campaign as I described above to promote your sales, but don’t forget about your email list or social media followers.
4. Sell Winter Items at a Deep Discount
Everyone loves a discount, especially on Memorial Day. Price drops between 20 percent and 90 percent are common. There’s no better time to get rid of leftover winter items while attracting new customers than to sell them cheap.
These sales can run alongside your standard Memorial Day sales events, or they can stand on their own. It all depends on what products you stock for summer. Brands that tend to do well during the summer months may prefer to emphasize their new line of products. On the other hand, winter sports stores may just want to make their steep discounts the center of attention.
5. Honor Veterans and Their Families
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers. This is why it’s essential to stay positive but not too celebratory about the unofficial start of summer.
Richard Levick, chairman and CEO of LEVICK, says:
Remembrance and relaxation both play important roles in our lives, but they should occupy separate spheres…When brands forget to respect that separation, and when executives who don’t understand the true meaning of Memorial Day are in control of a company’s marketing and social media outreach, insensitive—even offensive—things happen.
In particular, he recommends against potentially exploitative imagery of military funeral services, families in mourning, and so forth. Many companies juxtapose these images with messages of “FLASH SALE!” and “Happy Memorial Day!” which can ruffle feathers.
Not all veterans and families want to hear “thank you for your service” on Memorial Day and want the day focused on those who have been lost. That said, honoring veterans, active duty military, and their families can be done tastefully and well, without drawing focus away from the meaning of the day—chances are many of them have lost someone in the line of duty.
There are many ways you can honor veterans and active service people. One option is to give them early or preferential access to your sale. Another is to offer them discounts or special offers. You could even give away small items as gifts.
But a particularly special thing you can do to show your understanding and gratitude? Donate a portion of your proceeds from your Memorial Day sale to a charity supporting the families of fallen soldiers, like the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) or the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. Mention this plan in your Memorial Day marketing materials, but keep the focus on those who need the help, not how awesome you are for doing this.
6. Contact Websites Running Sales Roundups to Get Your Store Featured
The Memorial Day weekend is a fantastic source of content for new publications, many of which include roundups of all the best sales. It’s not an accident when brands get included in these roundups. More often than not, it’s the result of a lot of outreach work.
Start by finding publications in your industry that have produced Memorial Day roundups in the past. If they did a roundup last year, there’s a good chance it will be on the editorial calendar this year.
You can also target bigger, broader publications that aren’t necessarily tied to one industry. Here are just a few websites that have created Memorial Day sales roundups in the past:
Next, draft an email to send to each of these publications. Personalize it a bit, but you can keep the bulk of it the same. Highlight what you have on sale over the Memorial Day weekend, the kind of discounts customers should expect, and why your deal is better than your competitors.
7. Set Up a Virtual Event With a Live Sale Segment
You don’t have to have a brick-and-mortar store to run a live sales event.
There are even some pretty significant benefits stores can realize by running virtual sales events. They are way more accessible for one. You’ll be able to accommodate significantly more attendees (which means more customers), and they’ll be able to tune in from anywhere in the world, too.
It will also be much cheaper to run a virtual sales event than an in-person one. Webinar software and a high-quality camera will cost a few hundred bucks at the most. That’s pretty much all you need. It will be much cheaper for customers who don’t have to travel to your store, too, meaning more money to spend on the sale.
You’ll want to make your sales event as fun and inclusive as possible. To this end, make sure to run games and activities and not just showcase your products. You could even run giveaways and competitions to give away some of your newest products for free.
Make sure that you devote a good chunk of time to your sales products, though. The whole point of running this kind of event is to increase sales, so it makes sense to spend at least the latter half of the event modeling your new clothing range or showing your new products in action.
After the pandemic, you may be facing more competition than usual when it comes to online events. It will pay to get the word out early and promote your virtual event as much as possible. Social media, email campaigns, and your website are all great places to start.
Memorial Day Sales FAQ
Facebook, Instagram, and Google are three of the best platforms to run paid ad campaigns on this Memorial Day weekend.
It can last as little as a few hours, but don’t let it go on for longer than the weekend.
You can incorporate both summer and solemnity. Don’t overdo it on the joy, but keep the message positive. Consider donating proceeds to relevant organizations.
Keep your email as short as possible, but try to stand out. State how much consumers can save, what products are on sale, and any other essential details.
Facebook or Zoom are two popular platforms that are relatively inexpensive (if not free) and stable to run events on.
Conclusion: How to Increase Memorial Day Sales
Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest shopping events on the calendar. You can’t just launch a sale and expect customers to turn up, however, especially if you’re an e-commerce store.
Running ads, making the most of social media, and reaching out to online publications are vital to get the word out. Making sure your sale strikes the right tone with customers will be key to increasing conversions.
But don’t stop there. The best e-commerce stores use the Memorial Day weekend as a jumping-off point and do everything they can to keep holiday sales high after the Memorial Day spike.
Which tactics are you going to use this Memorial Day?