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7 Great eCommerce Campaigns to Inspire Your Holiday Marketing

a shop with gifts

It’s never too early to plan for the holidays. After all, for most merchants the holidays are their most lucrative time of the year. In 2020, U.S. buyers spent $201.32 billion online during the holiday season, a 45.2% jump from $138.65 billion in 2019. Online sales were also projected to grow by 6.1% in 2022. But with so much digital noise, it can be hard to differentiate between a good campaign and a great one.

To get you up to speed on what goes into a successful ad, we’ve compiled some of our top holiday marketing campaigns and will break down what made them so successful. Take these insights into Q4 and the new year as you plan out your upcoming campaigns!

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The biology of a great holiday campaign

Holiday marketing campaigns come in all shapes and sizes, spanning offline and online channels. However, there are some common characteristics that top-performing campaigns share. It’s important to note that a single ad may not always have all these qualities, but if they have a few of them, you could be on to a winner:

A memorable story

An enticing storyline complete with a knockout hook gets an audience to sit up and pay attention. It also evokes emotion from the viewer and illuminates the brand’s personality. These qualities help to increase viewers’ affinity with the ad and business, makes the ad more memorable, and increase engagement.

Festive cheer

A holiday campaign isn’t complete without some good, old-fashion festive merriness. However, this cheer can be applied to any holiday campaign, whether it be the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, or any other important dates. So, whether it’s making people smile, laugh, or, as we mentioned above, evoke emotion, your campaigns should spread joy and positivity.

Discounts and offers

When the holidays roll around, shoppers often have many gifts to buy, so discounts and offers can go a long way. The ads that stand out the most have offers related to their storyline and serve customer buying preferences. Therefore putting a new spin on your customers’ favorite promotions can pay off. Outside of the holidays, discounts and offers are an effective way to convert customers who were previously on the fence, about making a purchase.

Themed products

Helping shoppers with holiday-themed items and packaging can ease the load and provide great props in your holiday campaigns. Along with Christmas-themed gifts and wrapping, this could also be applied year-round for birthdays and other large holidays throughout the year.


Tis’ the season for giving. Running competitions, hosting giveaways, and adding gifts to orders are effective strategies to improve customer acquisition and retention, making it the gift that keeps on giving.

User-generated content (UGC)

Reviews, testimonials and inspirational content improves an ad’s trustworthiness and gives shoppers further insight into what the items look like in real life, boosting the ads’ conversion odds. Incentivizing UGC is a great way to create an abundant flow you can use in ads.


Ad costs have been rising for the past few years and show no sign of decline. With the extra competition for shoppers’ attention, advertising has become pay-to-play. To get your ad seen, you’ll need a sizeable ad spend budget and the skills to optimize campaigns for results.

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7 winning holiday campaigns to inspire your own

Aside from the tell-tale characteristics, holiday marketing campaigns take planning, creativity, and accurate targeting to pull off. To get your creativity flowing, let’s dive into some tips, tricks, and strategies from brands who executed their holiday campaigns in true pro fashion.

1. LookFantastic 

Each Christmas, LookFantastic lives up to its name by helping its customers look and feel their best with competitive deals that keep flowing throughout the festive period. From BOGO offers to discount codes paired with high-profile brand collaborations, LookFantastic ensures all eyes are on them.

This health and beauty brand shares Christmas-themed gifts and dedicated collections to help shoppers find the goods they want quickly.

Look Fantastic shares its best deals via a dedicated holiday email campaign, but also broadens its reach by tapping into its global audience.

What they did right:

  • Customized discount codes
  • Inviting aesthetic
  • Email specific deals
  • Leverages big-name brands to drive traffic
  • Used its global reach to increase the distribution of offers

2. PrettyLittleThing (PLT)

Never a brand to disappoint with its impressive product drops and discounts, PrettyLittleThing ups the ante when the holidays roll around.

60% off sitewide plus an extra 10% off for its email list subscribers and $1 flash sales on Black Friday are just a few components in PLT’s multifaceted holiday campaign that cause a stir.

Influencer collaborations to design collections combined with heaps of personality build an affinity with their target audience.

PLT distributes Christmas-themed content across all its social media channels, including TikTok and Instagram, and drives engagement by combining influencer marketing with like & comment competitions for followers.

What they did right:

  • Unbeatable offers.
  • Exclusive offers to build community.
  • Shareworthy imagery.
  • Blends various marketing channels and strategies from email to referral marketing to amplify content and offers.

Top tip: plan and schedule content ahead of time. Days like BFCM will be highly trafficked, so it pays to have multiple content assets ready to go.

3. John Lewis

While you may not be running TV ads, there’s a lot to learn from John Lewis’ Christmas marketing approach that has solidified its position in British Christmas.

Known for its legendary Christmas marketing, John Lewis’ much-anticipated adverts never disappoint. Not only does the ad create a buzz before it launches, but there’s also always a meaningful story.

John Lewis zeros in on powerful storytelling and expert cinematics to signify the start of Christmas and supports its TV ads with online and in-store decoration and content.

The engaging storyline, media, and suspense surrounding its launch date help John Lewis turn views into sales year after year.

What they did right:

  • Creates anticipation by providing the release date last minute and changing the ad release date every year
  • Funnels traffic to its physical and online stores
  • Provided supporting content after the ad launches to keep the excitement going

4. Walmart

During the busy Christmas season, in which many brands are trying to convince shoppers to buy from them with a hard sell approach, Walmart decided to go against the grain with a less direct approach.

Walmart tapped into the power of user-generated content and emotive stories on their unique traditions and ways their customers celebrate the festive season. From extravagant Christmas decorations to extensive food spreads, there’s something for each to relate to, which encourages viewers to Walmart’s website and stores for Christmas wares.

What they did right:

  • Emotive storyline
  • Worked with real Walmart customers as the cast
  • Shared customer stories and testimonials

5. Dunkin Donuts

Already world famous for its enticing treats, Dunkin Donuts knows how to make its offers even sweeter for the holiday season. From customized merch to tailored treats and seasonal packaging, Dunkin Donuts gives shoppers plenty of choice during the festive season. Dunkin Donuts also showcases it on social media platforms like Instagram to increase engagement and sales.

What they did right:

  • Crafted limited-time custom merchandise
  • Relaunched popular offers from previous years to drive back existing customers
  • Created launch content to create a buzz

6. Nespresso

If there’s one thing Nespresso is an expert at during the holiday season, it’s creating memorable bundles. For example, the 50 capsules festive assortment and much loved Nespresso advent calendar, complete with high-quality campaign shots. Nespresso backs its offers with a solid in-store and social media strategy combining Facebook and Instagram ads as well as in-store promos to share its limited-time offers.

What they did right

  • Sold festive-themed products
  • Provided limited-time bundles and promotions
  • Used a multichannel marketing strategy

7. The Body Shop

For Christmas 2021, Body Shop decided to do something different with their holiday campaign, distributed across social media like YouTube, TV, podcasts, and content creator partnerships. The mission was to revive festive cheer and drive home the motto “Spread the Love. Share the Joy”.

The campaign combined live footage and animation with The Body Shop products featured in acts of kindness. The campaign was designed to drive shoppers to The Body Shop’s Joy Hub.

Body Shop also got their audience involved by launching a competition in which they were invited to nominate a person that brought them joy.

To amplify the content, The Body Shop implemented a social media funnel strategy across Facebook and Instagram while Influencers and ambassadors worked to spread the word and drive traffic.

What they did right:

  • Multichannel marketing strategy spanning Facebook and Instagram
  • Upbeat tone
  • Unified storyline
  • Partnerships with popular influencers
  • Seasonal and limited products

Drive growth with knockout holiday marketing campaigns

As we’ve seen from these inspirational holiday marketing campaigns, even in the highly competitive festive season, it’s possible to capture your target customer’s attention, drive leads, and close sales. All you need is some creativity, the right targeting, an enticing storyline, and the budget to execute it.

It’s best to start early to ensure you have the time to launch, test, and optimize your campaigns for optimal results. So, don’t delay. Take steps today to hash out your next holiday marketing campaign, and your store could have winning holiday campaigns to call its own.

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