Holiday Marketing Guide: Your Ultimate Checklist for the Peak Shopping Season

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s more than just twinkling lights and merry songs. It’s a pivotal time for e-commerce. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales during November and December have made up roughly 19% of total retail sales over the past five years, and the figure can be higher for some retailers.1 This data underscores the monumental potential the holidays bring to online merch stores like yours. It is not just recommended, it’s critical to have a robust holiday marketing plan in place.

Navigating the sea of promotions, campaigns, and customer demands can be daunting. But fret not! The Artist Shops Holiday Checklist is crafted to be your compass, steering you confidently through the bustling holiday market. Our method? Organized action. This year’s checklist is methodically divided into four easy-to-follow sections, prioritized for your convenience:

The structure of this holiday marketing guide empowers you to focus on the pivotal tasks first, ensuring your foundation is strong before diving into the finer details that elevate your holiday campaigns.

After immersing yourself in this guide, make sure to download the PDF version of the Artist Shops Holiday Checklist. It’s packed with links to invaluable resources tailored to support you at every step.

In the spirit of the season, we implore you: If you prioritize anything this festive period, let it be these five crucial tasks. They form the bedrock of any successful shop’s holiday strategy.

1. Refresh your product lineup.

Spruce up your shop’s Homepage Collection and promotional messages with your most giftable and seasonally relevant products. To kick things off, Regular T-Shirts remain a bestseller across all Artist Shops and are a foolproof gift choice. However, with 2023 introducing Mini Art Prints, Double-Sided Fleece Apparel, and four new Jacket styles, you’ve got a whole new range of exciting items to showcase.

And as the mercury drops, be sure to spotlight winter must-haves like Sweatshirts, Hoodies, and Blankets. On a budget? Mugs, Stickers, Buttons, and Zip Pouches are wallet-friendly and perfect stocking stuffers. Don’t overlook unique picks like Puzzles and Yoga Mats—they might just be the standout gifts your followers are seeking.

Homepage Gallery Example
Abyss Arts by Britt’s Homepage Collection showcases a variety of giftable products and has a distinctly wintery feel.

2. Opt into managed pricing (or plan your sales in advance).

Feeling a bit lost in the world of holiday marketing? No worries, we’ve got your back! By opting into managed pricing, you’re handing the reins over to the Threadless team. With a wealth of marketing insights from over the years, we’ll execute timely sales in your shop, ensuring you reap the benefits during this peak shopping season.

Shop Settings
To activate managed pricing, go to your shop settings and turn on “Let Threadless manage my Artist Shop’s pricing and promotions.”

Each time we roll out a limited-time promotion during the festivities, we’ll make temporary price tweaks to select products in your shop. Your only job? Shout out about the sale to your followers.

For those artists who like to steer their own ship, no problem! Just make sure you’ve chalked out your holiday promotions ahead of time. This way, you can channel more energy into crafting art and amplifying your brand.

3. Create and schedule social media posts in advance.

Let’s be real: the holidays are for indulging in cookies and carols, not for being tethered to your social media accounts. So, why not get a head start? Design, draft, and schedule your promotional posts well into December, ensuring you’re free to revel in the festive cheer when your sales go live.

von Kowen IG post
Back in 2021, von Kowen posted about a new design she had just debuted in her Artist Shop. Whenever you release something new in your shop, post about it!

And if you’re thinking, “Where do I begin?” – our Promo Toolkit is here to save you time. Dive into a treasure trove of resources and tools, tailor-made to assist artists like you in whipping up captivating promotional images and assets for social sharing. Start crafting those catchy captions and plotting out your social media calendar as soon as possible. Procrastination and the holiday rush? Not a great mix.

Example of a social media calendar created with Google Calendar


Throughout the holiday season, your customers will receive free US shipping and a $10 flat-rate for international orders, provided they spend over $99. With the holiday budget juggle being real for many shoppers, free shipping can be the cherry on top that seals the deal. Make sure this sweet offer is front and center in your promotional messages to your audience.

5. Share holiday shipping cut-offs.

No one wants to be in the position of gifting an ‘IOU’ note because their order didn’t arrive in time. Ensure your customers are in the loop by broadcasting the upcoming shipping deadlines. Give them a heads up by sharing the image provided below, so their gifts from your shop land under the tree right on time.

Holiday Shipping Cut-offs
Right click and “Save Image As…” to save.

5 Things You Should Do

Now that you’ve tackled the must-dos, let’s step it up a notch. These next pointers are geared to elevate your customers’ shopping journey and give your shop that extra buzz it deserves during the holiday season.

1. Opt into managed email.

Taking advantage of managed email is like gifting your shop a megaphone for the holidays. Not only does it broaden your reach and foster a deeper connection with your audience, but it also propels your sales through this bustling season. By enabling this Artist Shops feature, you’re giving Threadless the green light to auto-send marketing emails on your behalf, ensuring your loyal customers stay in the loop about all your holiday offerings.

Activating managed email also adds a newsletter popup to your shop’s homepage, making it a breeze for visitors to subscribe and join your email community. Plus, each email channels your brand’s personality by incorporating your logo, cover banner, and shop name to ensure every communication feels uniquely yours.

Managed email examples
Managed email examples from Wawawiwa ComicsTragic GirlsObinsun, and Teenage Stepdad

Ready to amplify your reach? Head over to your shop settings and toggle on “Let Threadless send email marketing communications to my customers and gather potential subscribers.”

2. Make an impact with Threadless Causes.

The holidays are all about giving, and what better way to embrace the spirit than by supporting causes close to your heart? With Threadless Causes, you can choose to donate any percentage of your earnings from specific designs to a charity that resonates with you. For every sale of those designs, Threadless matches your donation and ensures it reaches the chosen charity. It’s a beautiful way to make your mark, especially during events like GivingTuesday.

"We Are One" by Pez Banana
Pez Banana donates 50% of their earnings from the sale of their “We Are One” design to The Bail Project.

The list of Causes you can support includes, but is not limited to, Racial Injustice, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, and Mental Health Awareness. Want to get started? Visit our help page for details on setting up charity donations for your shop.

Threadless Causes
From your Artist Dashboard, you can select the Cause and charity you’d like to support and the exact percentage of earnings you’d like to donate. Click here for more detailed instructions.

3. Set up your About Page.

Think of your About Page as the welcoming mat to your creative universe. It’s where you can weave the tale of your artistic journey and shed light on the inspirations that fuel your craft. By forging this personal connection, you not only resonate deeper with your followers, but you might just nudge them closer to supporting your creations.

Hillary White Rabbit's About Page
Hillary White Rabbit’s About Page uses popular keywords such as “horror,” “fantasy movies,” and “video games.

But there’s another perk! A well-curated About Page can be a beacon for search engines. By sprinkling in SEO-friendly keywords and linking to your main website and social platforms, you boost your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), paving the way for a broader audience to discover you.

4. Spotlight Gift Cards and Promo Codes.

When the clock’s ticking and holiday shipping windows start to close, Gift Cards emerge as the superheroes for procrastinators everywhere. Promote these digital lifesavers as the ideal solution for those last-minute gifting dilemmas. Not only are Gift Cards a breeze for your customers, but they’re also a golden ticket for you to amplify brand visibility, rake in sales, and soar through the festive season.

Gift Cards Page

And let’s not forget the allure of Custom Promo Codes. These little gems offer an irresistible nudge for your audience to splurge. Whip up unique codes and broadcast them across your social channels, drawing both new admirers and loyal followers to your shop’s treasures.

5. Curate specialized Gift Guides.

The Collections feature in your Artist Shop lets you create a unique landing page for designs and products that share a common theme. Think of collections as a curated aisle in a vast shopping mall, guiding your visitors straight to what they’re seeking. Whether it’s an overarching festive feel or niche guides that cater to specific tastes, your themed collections can help boost your sales. Some themes to spark your imagination: “Secret Santa Gifts,” “Purr-fect Gifts for Cat Lovers,” “Winter Essentials,” and so on.

Example: Nathan W. Pyle's Holiday Collection
Nathan W. Pyle’s Holiday Collection

5 Things You Could Do

If you’re looking to sprinkle some extra magic on your holiday promotions, these tasks are your pixie dust. By dedicating a little time to them, you’ll weave a cohesive narrative for your shop, making it a top destination for gift seekers.

1. Order product samples for multiple purposes.

Ever thought of being your own customer? You can order product samples from your own Artist Shop at just the base cost so you can use them for taking lifestyle photos, recording unboxing videos, and more. These will help you elevate your social media promotions and make your seasonal items look even more enticing to your fans.

Unboxing Video
Watch this great example of an unboxing video from Letter Shoppe, who really lets their personality shine! These types of videos can help humanize your brand and build excitement around your merch.

2. Snap lifestyle photos for your homepage and social media.

Capture the festive spirit of the season with lifestyle photos. Let your customers picture just how perfect your products would look as gifts under the tree or in a stocking. And the beauty? These photos are multifunctional. Parade them on your Homepage Collection, sprinkle them in your email newsletters, and showcase them in your social media posts. Deck the halls and your digital storefront.

Lifestyle Photography
Read our Creative Resources post on how to make your lifestyle photos festive for the holidays.

3. Give your shop banner a festive facelift.

Your banner sets the stage the moment a visitor enters your shop. So, why not deck it out with holiday vibes? A refreshed banner not only teases new seasonal offerings but can also be a billboard for promotions, free shipping alerts, or any juicy tidbits your followers shouldn’t miss. Think of it as wrapping paper for your digital storefront—it promises something special inside!

Shop Banner
Abyss Arts by Britt has a banner featuring the shop’s mission statement framed by winter imagery.

4. Create an interactive social media post.

Engaging posts aren’t just fun; they’re strategic. Every like, comment, and reshare expands your reach, giving you a pulse on what resonates with your audience. So, why not stir the pot a bit? Roll out an interactive post, maybe a cheeky poll. Pose festive conundrums like “When do you officially kick off your holiday playlist?” or “Debate time: Is Die Hard a Christmas classic?” and brace yourself for the flurry of opinions in the comments!

5. Unveil an exclusive, limited-time design.

Give your fans a tantalizing offer: a design that’s here for the holidays and then gone… possibly forever (or, you know, until next winter). This ticking clock strategy infuses a dash of urgency, nudging shoppers to snag that special piece before it vanishes with the holiday magic.

5 Things to Boost Traffic

To turn the tide in your favor, you need to usher in the crowd. Here are some strategies to drive traffic to your shop and kindle the spirit of purchase.

1. Add new designs as often as possible.

Consistency is key. Regularly rolling out new designs not only keeps your shop buzzing with fresh vibes, but also ensures your audience stays hooked. Our insights reveal a clear trend: shops that stop adding new content often see their sales dip. If you’ve been selected for the Threadless marketplace, frequently adding designs boosts your visibility, especially in search queries filtered by “New,” potentially drawing in a fresh set of admirers.

Example of a search query filtered by “New.”
Example of a search query filtered by “New.”

This is the most effective way to keep your customers engaged with your Artist Shop and a crucial step in building a successful merch brand over time.

2. Make a “link in bio” landing page.

A “link in bio” landing page creates synergy between your social media accounts and your Artist Shop. From a single, easily shareable web link, a landing page enables you to list out multiple links to your shop and any other site featuring your content. Using this landing page as your bio link will allow you to more effectively direct traffic from your social media to specific products and gift guides you want your followers to see.

Landing Page Example
On their “link in bio” landing page, shop owner Alan Defibaugh links to their “Trans Rights Are Human Rights Crocogator” design, which raises money for the National Center for Transgender Equality.

3. Run a social-media giveaway.

Freebies? Yes, please! A well-orchestrated giveaway can ignite enthusiasm and expand your fanbase. Encourage your followers to engage by liking, sharing, and commenting for a chance to snag exciting rewards—think custom promo codes or those snazzy product samples you ordered.

4. Share works-in-progress to build anticipation for new designs.

Share the magic behind the curtain. Post glimpses of your art in the making—be it rough sketches or mesmerizing time-lapse videos. Once the masterpiece is ready, loop back with a post flaunting the final design available in your Artist Shop. For some behind-the-scenes inspo, check out the talented Ink Tuesday on TikTok.


And now I’m worried 😧

♬ Merry Metal Christmas – Public Domain

5. Collaborate with a social media influencer.

Every share is a doorway to a potential new follower. By teaming up with a social media influencer, you tap into their vast audience, increasing the chances of converting them into your shop’s fans. While it might be a tad challenging to get an influencer to talk about your merch during the holiday rush, it’s a gamble worth taking! Need guidance? Check out our handy tips on influencer outreach.

Download the Artist Shops Holiday Checklist

Your holiday marketing roadmap awaits in the PDF version of the Artist Shops Holiday Checklist. Packed with links to essential resources, it’s designed to be your trusty sidekick this season. Whether you prefer it digitally on your desktop or printed and pinned up in your workspace, it’s here to guide you every step of the way.

Holiday Marketing Guide

FOOTNOTES: 1. National Retail Federation – Winter Holiday FAQs

Related Posts