Christmas in May: Your Holiday Strategy in the Cookieless World

Woman online shopping outdoors

If you have an e-commerce business, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays – and we don’t mean Memorial Day or the 4th of July! The countdown to Cyber 6 starts now. Over the past two years, and especially last holiday season, we’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for e-commerce businesses, from supply chain issues to unpredictable shifts in consumer buying patterns. Summer is the perfect time to make sure your business is ready to meet whatever the upcoming holiday season brings with a data and content strategy that will allow you to target your high-value customers and ensure a strong end to 2022.

Deck the Halls Early with a Review of 2022 and a Web Refresh 

We can’t expect 2022’s holiday season to look exactly like 2021 – or 2020, or any pre-pandemic holiday season. But you can prepare your business for the unexpected by reviewing what challenges you faced last year and what tools and strategies might minimize disruption this year. While there has been an increase in first-time shoppers due to the pandemic, companies such as grocery stores that jumped on the online boom have found their margins challenged as the market shrunk. Businesses should innovate while staying focused on long-term sustainability and profitability.

E-commerce sales fluctuations have become the new norm, and in 2021 that meant that for the first time in over a decade, sales on Cyber Monday were less than those on Black Friday. We expect that customers will start their holiday shopping earlier, with planned, considered purchases that account for inflation and the supply chain slowdowns that continue to affect business. As patterns become harder to predict, the deprecation of third-party cookies means your business will need to find new ways to track customer behavior and report and analyze trends to notice fluctuations and react accordingly.

Has it been a while since your e-commerce site had a refresh? Whether your branding and content are out-of-date or your site could benefit from updated tech and a new e-commerce platform, now is a great time to think about user experience and web development and creating a frictionless journey for your customers. Consider supplementing your online presence by entering marketplaces like Amazon. Amazon and other marketplaces are likely to attract more holiday shoppers than DTC sites with discounts and early holiday deals.

Make Your Holiday (Customer) Lists and Check Them Twice with Google Analytics 4 and First-Party Data

If you haven’t already made the move to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), don’t wait any longer. Universal Analytics (UA) and Universal Analytics 360 properties will be fully phased out by October 1, 2023, and historical data for 2022, which is only held for 6 months, will be gone. By having GA4 up and running before the holidays, your business will be ready to track the important October, November, and December search-shop-buy behaviors that will inform your strategy not only this season but for years into the future. 

With third-party cookies disappearing, finding new ways to connect to customers and capture first-party data is critical to your business’s success. Use this time to create a loyalty program that will bring your customers closer to your brand and to find other ways to drive the customer recognition and connection that will encourage users to trust you with their data. Brands should consider investing in an  in-house insight labs or working with digital marketing partners to experiment with different strategies to reveal patterns and discover which strategic moves deliver the best outcomes.  

Create a Data-Informed Holiday Digital Marketing Strategy

With uncertainty a certain feature of holiday shopping this year, it’s never too early to plan for difficulties or opportunities that might arise. By taking the time to build out customer personas and develop SEO-optimized holiday content, when the unexpected happens (and it will!), you will have a back-up strategy that can be adapted to fit new circumstances and will avoid having to start from scratch. Save time and reduce holiday stress by designing contingency plans now, including messaging, for potential supply issues and other disruptions that might impact holiday buying and shipping in the months ahead.

Ready to Plan for Holiday Shopping? NetElixir is Here to Help.

At NetElixir, we are here for your business at every stage of your holiday planning. Whether your e-commerce site needs a facelift or an overhaul, whether you need help getting started with GA4 or a full-on support with track and reporting, we are here to support you as you prepare for the holiday shopping season. We’ll work with you on all your digital marketing strategy needs, from optimizing SEO to developing customer personas that help you reach your high-value customers and implementing the brand loyalty programs that will inform your content and campaign planning.

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