Gearing Up for the Festive Season: A Primer for Dropshipping Businesses

festive season dropshipping business marketing

With an annual growth rate of 51%, eCommerce in India is booming at an unstoppable pace, more so today than ever. However, with more and more players jumping upon the bandwagon, competition for market share and buyers’ attention is also at an all time high. Moreover, as easy as it is to set up a flashy online store, running and maintaining it can be quite challenging. 

Dropshipping, therefore, is increasingly gaining ground as a popular alternative to the traditional eCommerce approach wherein you can profit from selling products online, without having to actively maintain your own inventory. By listing products sold by third-party supplies and merely fulfilling them, you can completely avoid the hassles that come with logistics, supply chain, and inventory management. You have the flexibility to easily add or remove products from your catalog, without spending a single penny on stocking up items. 

Not only is setting up your dropshipping eCommerce store cost-effective and risk-free, but you also get to direct your efforts towards marketing and branding and not fret over your warehouses loaded with lakhs of products that you are yet to sell. 

To that end, one huge marketing opportunity lurking in plain sight for the Indian market is the upcoming festival and shopping season. It’s time for people to revamp their homes, buy expensive electronics, shop for wishlisted products, and so much more. To leverage the festival fever to your advantage, you must amp up your store and marketing efforts to attract buyers and get them to shop heavily on your store. 

Why is this the right time to amp up your Shopify store 

As per the Festive Shopping Index 2019, a study conducted by LitmusWorld and Retailers Association of India (RAI), 89% of consumers were actively looking to shop during the festive season with 76% of them choosing eCommerce as their preferred medium to do so. You can only expect this number to rise with each passing year.

This is primarily because people usually save up to grab the annual deals that most brands offer this time of the year and even use their annual bonuses to make big ticket purchases during these few weeks. Moreover, as people plan what to gift their friends and family, they are always on the lookout for good offers and deals.  

Therefore, given the consumer sentiment towards festive shopping, you’d definitely be missing out if you don’t market your store and tailor your shopping experiences specifically for this season. Also as a drop shipper, you have the advantage of offering a wide range of products on your store and literally updating your catalog every second day without any hassle. So, by deploying a few dedicated tactics to attract festive shoppers, you can watch your sales and profits skyrocket this season. 

How can you increase dropshipping sales this festive shopping season? 

Expand your product catalogs to include festive items 

As festivals are around the corner, demand for particular items is going to surge so you want to make sure your store caters to that erratic demand. Shoppers are going to be actively looking for gift boxes, lamps and lights, electronics and gadgets, festive apparel, and tonnes of gifting items. So, start updating your catalogs well in advance so your customers can shortlist items that they want to buy or gift.  You can even create a whole new range of products and call it the ‘Diwali Range’ or ‘Festive Treats’ or something similar to create hype around it. 

However, don’t start blindly adding items to your product range. Do ample research around trends in shoppers’ buying patterns, the most coveted items from various categories, the most bought and wishlisted items on your store, and so on. This will ensure you systematically design your catalogs to feature products that are sure to be sold out in a jiffy. 

Moreover, if you begin the groundwork on time, you can always tie up with some new third-party sellers that specialize in festive items and even consider onboarding sellers from new categories given the demand patterns. 

BigSmall has already redone their homepage to feature their Diwali collection, corporate gifts, and other festive items. They have even included a special category - ‘Diwali 2020’ on their menu bar. Take a look: 

dropshipping add more products during festive season

Run an exclusive festive season sale  

Shoppers are not going to be attracted to your new product range if you don’t create enough buzz about it. The best way to do so is by running a festive sale wherein you offer time-sensitive deals and offers on items in your newly-curated festive range. Make sure to market your sale well and create urgency and FOMO among buyers by repeatedly stating that your stocks and deals are valid for a limited period only. 

You can start by creating a dedicated landing page and drive traffic from social media and emails to it where you specify all details of the upcoming sale. You can even encourage shoppers to start wishlisting products well in advance so they receive notifications as soon as the sale is on and don’t miss out. 

Since buyers are usually on an impulse shopping spree this time of the year, you can easily get them interested in your offerings if you run an attractive sale, announce it well in time, and market it extensively. 

Here’s a snapshot from a campaign IndiaMart ran on their social media to promote their upcoming Diwali sale: 

festive season sale - dropshipping marketing

Reach out to your email list to create hype around your upcoming sale

To attract buyers to your store and get them excited about the upcoming sale, you will need to periodically reach out to them via emails and start sharing details. Create a solid email marketing plan that consists of a sequence of at least 4-5 emails sent week after week starting a month before the launch of the sale. 

With each email, announce one big detail that gets them excited and looking forward to making the most of the shopping bonanza. For instance, in the first one, you could direct them to your dedicated landing page where you have categorized items that are going to be on sale and mentioned the prospective deals on them, while in the next you could ask them to start adding items to their cart to get early access on them, and so on.

Most importantly, make sure you design the emails in the relevant theme and colors so you immediately catch receivers’ attention. 

You could also send each email with a countdown clock ticker that highlights the time remaining to the launch of the festive season sale to create urgency and FOMO. Most importantly, do not forget to keep reiterating that stocks and the sale period are both limited to establish scarcity and have buyers bag items as soon as they get a chance. 

Here’s an example of an email by BigSmall promoting their Diwali lamps range: 

festive season dropshipping email marketing

Send out alerts via push notifications and Facebook Messenger

While emails are an effective channel to reach out to prospective buyers, there’s always the chance of them being ignored, deleted, or worse, ending up in spam folders. Therefore, some alternate channels you can use to nudge visitors with a short and compelling message are web push notifications and Facebook Messenger. 

Since there is only so much you can say with a push notification, be sure to craft your copy carefully. Have a quirky title and description, and an appealing image - one that reminds people of the upcoming festivities and shopping. Again, create a plan where you reach out to your subscribers periodically to grab their attention and link them to your sale landing page. 

When it comes to Facebook Messenger, your buyers are already active on this social platform so you must think about how you can make the most of this advantage. For instance, don’t bore people with unnecessary details or those that can easily be described in your landing page. Give them one reason why they shouldn't miss out on your sale and highlight all the exciting surprises in store for them. And that should do it. 

Here are some examples you can take inspiration from: 

web push notification - festive season marketing

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Plan out an SMS marketing campaign

Though a traditional approach, SMSes still boast the highest open rates (about 98%) among all marketing channels. More importantly, this is one channel where you are allowed to be blatantly promotional or salesy as people expect to receive offers, deals, and coupons over SMSes and are less likely to ignore them. 

Use this channel wisely to share details about your sale as well as the URL of your landing page from where people can bag the items directly. You can even slice and dice your list by their browsing history so you can accordingly target and send relevant offers to shoppers so they are more likely to grab them. 

Here’s a simple SMS example to get inspired by: 

festive season sms marketing dropshipping

Set up as many upsell and cross-sell opportunities

This time around, you cannot wait for buyers to do the heavy lifting and look for products that interest them. Instead, you need to anticipate their preferences and showcase them a bunch of products they may be interested in at every stage possible. This means that whether it is your category, product, or thank you page, be sure to include a ‘Frequently Bought Together’, ‘You May Also Like’, or ‘Customers Also Bought’ section that lists irresistible products that shoppers are immediately lured into purchasing. 

These personalized recommendations could be based on shoppers’ previous browsing history, current search, or trending/most popular items. Just make sure they are easily visible on your site and app and have a rather prominent add to cart button underneath every listing. 

With the festive season around the corner, people are going to be on the lookout for cheap and attractive items they gift their friends and family so you must leverage this shopping sentiment and utilize every chance to showcase your extensive catalog and offer combo deals and offers to increase your average order value. 

Here is how PropShop24 lists recommendations on their product pages: 

upsell and cross-sell dropshipping

Have a retargeting strategy at your disposal

Even after you put all the efforts in driving shoppers to your store, expanding your inventory, and running exciting deals and offers, people are going to abandon carts or even visit your store and drop off at one or the other stages. This is mainly because they would want to window shop and look around for better deals as most stores would be running festive sales. Therefore, to drive them back and remind them of the items they left behind, you need a retargeting plan ready. 

You can retarget shoppers via Google and Facebook ads, push notifications, Facebook Messenger, SMS, and even emails - basically all the channels you used to promote your festive sale. The timing is really important in this scenario. If you reach out to them immediately after they abandon cart or search, they might get annoyed, but if you wait for too long, they might no longer be interested. 

Therefore, you need to rightfully time, carefully space out, and send out your messages via various channels so your customers don’t feel bombarded and are at the same time reminded to come back and complete their purchases. 

Here are some creative retargeting messages you can get inspired from: 

web push festive season retargeting

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And here's an example of an email marketing campaign retargeting interested shoppers: 

email marketing festive season

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Here's an example of a Facebook ad campaign for the festive and holiday season to retarget interested shoppers: 

Keep optimizing your sale strategy on the go 

Now that everything is in place, you are all set, right? Well, not exactly. Once you’ve crafted a solid plan to have a successful sale season, you need to keep evolving and optimizing it every now and then. Let’s say you notice a new trend gaining traction all over social media or a sudden increase in mobile shoppers, you need to be equipped to handle any change and incorporate it into your marketing strategy on the go. 

Whether it is adding or removing items from your catalog, improving your site and app shopping experience, or tweaking your retargeting strategy, having an open mind and continuously optimizing your plan will ensure you stay ahead of the curve. 

Regularly monitor your analytics and customer behavior data to identify trends so you know whether you need to make optimizations to adapt to changing buying patterns or industry dynamics. 

Don’t have a dropshipping store? We've got you covered   

If you are looking to set up a dropshipping store but don’t know where to get started, you can sign up with GlowRoad and create your eCommerce store in a few simple steps. GlowRoad is a platform that in partnership with Shopify connects you to a network of local sellers and suppliers and enables you to set up your dropshipping business. You can then reach millions of shoppers through your online store and sell those locally available products from suppliers registered on GlowRoad. 

You completely avoid the risk of storing and maintaining inventory and simply sell items made available to you via GlowRoad. All you need to do is add the Shopify GlowRoad app to your store to get access to thousands of suppliers and their endless inventory from multiple categories including apparel, healthcare, pet care, and much more. 

dropshipping in India

By avoiding all logistical and supply chain challenges, you simply get to focus on order fulfillment and business growth while supporting local brands, manufacturers, and suppliers. 

If you are still unsure about setting up your dropshipping business, why not sign up for a free trial and assess the same for yourself? Once your store is successful, feel free to send us a thank you note. 

And if you do already own a dropshipping business, you are welcome to give GlowRoad a try as well. With the upcoming festive season, it doesn’t hurt to add more relevant products to your catalog and you can trust GlowRoad to help you with a limitless range of those. On that note, here’s wishing you all the luck for a huge holiday season. 

Don't have an online store yet or want to start a dropshipping business? Get started on Shopify with a free trial

Looking for offers from Shopify partners to increase sales? Don't forget to check out our specially-curated festive offers from the best of Shopify apps

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