5 Competitive Alternatives to Deep Holiday Discounts
Posted Nov 2, 2016 by Kristen Pinkman, Ecwid Team

6 Settings That Turn Your Store Into a Magnet for Holiday Shoppers (Without Discounting)

You may have noticed many retailers have already started offering discounts for their products. Every year, the period from early-bird deals to post-Christmas flash sales becomes longer and longer.

But not only sales time is growing — discounts themselves are becoming deeper and deeper to entice customers that are focused on pricing.

For a big company, it’s much easier to offer an 80% discount than it is for a small retailer. When the market is flooded with special offers, how can you compete? How do you not get sucked into the deep discounting carousel?

Check out these six ways to turn your online store into a magnet for holiday shoppers without any discounts.

Related: 11 Practical Tips for Marketing on a Budget

Add Holiday Keywords to Your Product Descriptions

If you read our feature digests regularly, you might have seen the release of manual meta tags.

Meta descriptions are words that Google uses to crawl your content and to display it when people type in relevant search words.

Between October 25 and December 26, people’s interest in buying gifts grows very fast. Look at Google Trends:

Google Trends

Searches for “buy gifts” increased by 300% during the holiday season last year.

So, if you want to get more free traffic this holiday season, consider adding words like “gift for him”, “gift for her”, “gift guide”, “Christmas”, “Thanksgiving”, etc.

Spend some time researching keywords for your particular niche, for example with the WordStream tool.

Then open your control panel at Catalog → Products → SEO and add SEO-friendly keywords to your product descriptions.

Learn more: Manual Meta Tags: a Simple Way to a Better SEO Now In Your Store

Use a Holiday-Themed Chat Assistant

This idea is about adding some fun to your storefront.

It doesn’t promise you eight-figure sales, but it definitely guarantees an improved user experience and, as a result, a lower number of unfinished orders.

You might know how it feels to wander around online stores offering “creative gifts” and to get lost in tons of useless stuff.

Help your customers find what they need and make them smile at the same time, by adding a holiday character instead of an ordinary assistant.

Adding an online assistant to your store can help your customers choose gifts for friends and relatives.

Here’s how to make a holiday assistant:

    • Install Chatra (it’s free).
    • Create a character. Use all your imagination.

Chatra live chat

Could you resist chatting to Bad Santa?

Learn more: Chatra: Modern Live Chat For Your Online Store

Partner Up

Since the need for creative holiday gifts increases everywhere during the holiday season, there are plenty of apps that help people find the best gifts.

Such services crawl the best gift ideas from online stores. If you submit to partnering with a gift ideas app, tool or service (especially if you sell unique products), chances are you’ll receive a lot of free (or at least cheap) well-targeted traffic.

Here’s what Shannon from SouthernPawz.com Ecwid store says about partnering:

Partner up with other local small businesses to unite forces and boost sales for everyone.Shannon Jones, SouthernPawz

Last year Shannon created a high-end pet treat business and had early success distributing to local pet retailers.

She’s recently launched a side venture marketing pet gift baskets that include her treats, an adorable “Simply Southern Scarff” and other doggie goodies like the “Rawhide Rollup” from White Oak Pastures and Wildflower Honey from H.L. Franklin’s Healthy Honey.

Partnering up is fun, too :)

Partnering is fun, too :)

To get even more from partnering, submit related products from your assortment to gift guides – you can even sell right on your own or someone else’s blog by using Single Product Widget.

Not sure where to find partners for your store?

Learn more about affiliate programs here: Affiliate Marketing: A Valuable Strategy To Make Money Online

Announce Taking Part in a Charity Program

Though sales shouldn’t be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of entering a charity program, it’s a good alternative to attract more attention to what you do.

This model works best when done meaningfully. Think of how your business relates to solving big world problems and add a personal touch.

Maybe someone you know suffers from a disease, maybe you belong to a charity organization, or maybe you come from a region with specific issues. The problem should be connected to your niche and background so that you can make your customers feel that their purchases mean something.

There are many ways to donate to charities. For example, you donate $1 from every purchase or 2% of your total sales for a certain period, or you let customers donate as much as they want at the checkout.

Aspects Of The Dead sells artworks by professional tattoo artist and illustrator Brandon Stewart. Brandon created a separate product category with necklaces to collect money for Kristin, his long-time friend who is fighting breast cancer.

Aspects of the Dead


Images: www.aspectsofthedead.com

You can collect money just like Brandon does, or ask for donations at the checkout. In this case, customers can decide how much they donate, with or without a minimum threshold.

Below we’ll show you how to add product options and start collecting donations in your online store.

Learn more about how non-profit organizations use Ecwid here:

Add Value

Sometimes, the lowest price is not what matters the most.

Beautiful packaging, fast shipping, or a wide assortment of colors/sizes may influence a customer’s decision to shop in your store. That type of features attracts those who are searching for perfect gifts.

Let’s say you sell bikes, like www.sutterstreetcruisers.com does. Make a nice move by allowing shoppers to customize their orders:



You can easily set up additional parameters in Product Options too.

Offer Free Shipping

Most likely there’s no need to explain why this is a proven killer tactic to replace discounts in your store.

It’s easy to say “offer free shipping”, but how can you be sure it won’t break the bank?

We’ve got you covered: read our guide to creating a perfect free shipping strategy for your online store.


Do you think you know more tactics to avoid deep discounting and stay in the competition this holiday season? I can’t wait to read your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the author
Kristen is a сontent creator at Ecwid. She finds inspiration in sci-fi books, jazz music, and home-cooked food.
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