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How to Prepare for the Fall Sales Period: A Guide for Online Sellers

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The end of the year is an exciting time thanks to all the festivities and celebrations filling your calendar. For retailers, big and small, it’s also one of the most hectic and demanding times because of all the fall sales and holiday shoppers looking for the best deals.

Before Mariah Carey announces the start of the holiday season, be sure you’re completely ready for those big shopping days in the fall.

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Get Ready for Everything Autumn With These Fall Templates

For most retailers, a new season means a new collection. And as the hottest days of summer are left in the past, the upcoming fall season presents the perfect opportunity to update your offering.

Take inspiration from everything fall related as you prepare a new seasonal collection, whether you sell apparel, home decor, or anything in between. Since the fall season has very distinct color palettes, flavors, sights, and smells, use all of your senses to create a fall collection that is cohesive and gives off the autumn vibes you’re after.

Pick Your Fall Color Palettes

Picking colors for any collection may seem straightforward, but have you stopped to consider what the colors you choose mean? Or how they can affect a consumer’s purchasing decisions? Color psychology can either help or hurt your sales, so be sure you know what feelings and emotions you want to convey before picking colors at random.

Once you know what vibes you’re going for in your new collection and campaigns, pick out colors that will communicate that to your audience. Try to limit the number of colors you’re including in your collection and subsequent campaigns. Sticking to a limited color palette will help you achieve a more cohesive-looking collection and marketing materials that are more appealing.

With that said, there are particular colors that are associated with the fall. These tend to be darker and moodier to match the darker and chillier season. If you think of common fall motifs, these will guide you to traditional and popular fall colors. Think of the colors of fall foliage, pumpkin patches, seasonal fruit, and other fall favorites to get inspired.

Below are some common fall color palettes to get you started:

Classic Fall Color Palette

Darker Fall Color Palette

Lighter Fall Color Palette

Create Fall Apparel Designs

As your customers get ready for fall, chances are they’ll be looking for all things cozy.

For apparel sellers, look out for fall trends that you can incorporate into a seasonal collection. This can mean adding warm and toasty hoodies to your collection along with long-sleeve tops, beanies, and crewneck sweatshirts. Fall graphic tees are also a great idea, especially for fall holidays, like Halloween and Thanksgiving.

If your brand focuses more on home decor or lifestyle items, fall is a transitional season with tons of opportunities. People love switching out their summer accessories for cozy and soft fall decor items that will give their home a warmer and more welcoming feel. Create on-theme cushions, soft throws and blankets, fall-themed mugs, and art prints that celebrate the season of pumpkin spice.

🍁 Get some seasonal design inspo and learn how to sell custom hoodie designs this fall.

Fall Mockups to Make Your Designs Shine

If you’re only just finishing your fall designs, you may think you’re too short on time to create eye-catching photos of your products. You may not have time to hire models and a photographer or to rent a studio and all the equipment for a photoshoot, but you do have tools like Placeit by Envato at your disposal.

Placeit has a huge (and growing) catalog of mockups you can use for all your products. Check out our fall templates for mockups featuring seasonal motifs. If you don’t find what you need there, check out all the other mockups available for everything from apparel mockups to art print mockups and even stationery.

💡 If you don’t find what you need, let us know so we can add it to our library!

Promotional Fall Designs for Social Media and Beyond

The next step is to get your products noticed by your target audience so that they can head over to your shop and fill up their cart.

To achieve this, you’ll need promotional designs advertising your fall collection and all of your discounts or sales. Plan your promotions ahead of time and create a cohesive set of promotional images you can share anywhere your audience will be.

For most people, this includes social media. Deck out your social media feeds with scroll-stopping posts, Stories, and videos that feature your fall goodies. Interact with your followers and consider hosting a giveaway to start off the season.

You can also create matching graphics for your website, email newsletters, and paid ads that will reach new and returning customers.

If you run a brick-and-mortar location, you can create flyers to encourage customers to stop by your store for a special event or sale.

Social Media Templates for a Fall Sale

Flyer Templates for a Fall Sale or Event

Fall Holidays to Include in Your Sales Plans

Start of Fall

The start of fall is perfect for launching your new seasonal collection or even for clearing out what’s left of your summer collection with an end-of-summer sale. If your focus is more on new fall essentials, then a start of fall sale or deal is a great idea.

Date: September 22nd

Who Should Participate: Anyone and everyone. Since this is a seasonal change, just about any type of business can benefit from a start of fall sale. Apparel sellers can sell cozy clothes, beauty brands can sell new items with warm tones, home repair businesses can sell home maintenance packages for the upcoming weather, etc.

When to Start Planning Your Campaign: Months in advance. Planning a whole fall apparel collection can take months from designing to manufacturing. Because of this, it makes sense to do this way ahead of time. For other businesses, it may not take quite as long, but you will still need at least three months to plan a sale. Since this requires planning a campaign with a cohesive look and feel, as well as a discount scope, promotion dates, communications, etc, you’ll need plenty of time to iron out the details.

When to Announce Your Sale: Most brands will start their fall sale on the first day of fall, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to announce it. Let your audience know a sale is coming at least a week in advance so that they know it’s coming. Be clear about what deals they can expect, what items are included, and how long the sale will last.

What Channels Should You Use: Every business is different, so stick to where you know you will catch the attention of your target audience. In most cases, this will include email campaigns targeting returning users, social media profiles, and onsite.

Best Items to Sell: Think cozy. For apparel sellers, things like hoodies, coats, sweatshirts, long-sleeve tees, boots, beanies, and socks make sense. You can also sell fall-themed home decor, like cushions, rugs, blankets, candles, etc. Think about upcoming weather problems people might have if you’re in the service industry. Offer discounts on packages related to this, such as a brake tuneup, chimney cleanings, heater maintenance, etc.

🍂 Not sure what types of designs are popular in the fall? Check out these trendy September designs!

Halloween

Date: October 31st

Who Should Participate: Only if this holiday resonates with your target audience and makes sense for your brand. This is a good idea for businesses that sell costumes, Halloween-themed apparel, craft supplies, home decor, or if you own a food business (coffee shop, bakery, etc.).

When to Start Planning Your Campaign: If you plan to sell Halloween-specific items, like costumes or decorations, plan your sale at least a couple of months in advance so that you have a themed campaign ready to launch.

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, don’t forget to also make plans around when to start decorating your store, if you will need to increase staff, and figuring out stock.

When to Announce Your Sale: If you’re having a sale on Halloween items, have the sale a few weeks before the big day. Consider how long shipping can take and remember that people need their costumes or decor before Halloween day.

Brick-and-mortar stores have a bit more freedom here, but you do want to get the word out before the big day so that people know what to expect. For example, if you’re offering free refills to customers in costumes, they need to know this in advance so that they can plan ahead.

What Channels Should You Use: Share themed images on social media, send Halloween-inspired email campaigns, and create a special landing page or category page onsite that holds all of your Halloween essentials. If only Halloween items will be on sale, be sure to specify this so that customers don’t get confused.

Consider using social media to run a Halloween costume contest to increase engagement leading up to your sale.

Best Items to Sell: Halloween-themed items, including costumes, spooky apparel, craft supplies, candy/treats, decorations, digital downloads, and services (makeup, hair, nails, etc. for the big day).

A quick Halloween flash sale is a great idea since most shoppers are looking for very similar things. A quick sale can get their attention and encourage them to act fast and make a purchase.

🎃 Check out these must-use Halloween templates!

Black Friday

Black Friday kicks off the biggest sales weekend of the year. With one major holiday left in the year, shoppers will be focused on getting the best holiday deals. Think competitively and offer your best deals this weekend.

Date: November 25th – the day after Thanksgiving

Who Should Participate: All retailers, whether you have an online shop or a brick-and-mortar location.

Some retailers have taken the opposite approach. They advertise that they aren’t having a Black Friday sale to appeal to more eco-conscious and consumption-conscious shoppers.

When to Start Planning Your Campaign: Start planning your Black Fridays sales and campaign at least two months in advance. This will give you just enough time to plan your discount scope, campaign, marketing efforts, and inventory. Two months will give you a good amount of time to plan, but if you can start planning earlier, even better.

When to Announce Your Sale: Send out a sale teaser at least one month to a couple weeks before Black Friday. This will put you on the radar of those planning their Black Friday shopping ahead of time. Follow up later, a couple days before the sale reminding customers to mark their calendars. On the day your sale starts, send out another reminder that your sale is live.

You can also send out another reminder when the sale has a few hours left to push those last-minute shoppers to complete their purchases.

It’s also a good idea to extend your sale. This allows indecisive customers to get one last chance to make a purchase.

What Channels Should You Use: For maximum exposure, use all of your current channels, including social media profiles and ads, paid ads, email, onsite banners, and even SMS.

Use countdown graphics to build hype and highlight your discounts during the sale.

Best Items to Sell: Historically, Black Friday shoppers look for big-ticket items. They’re usually expecting huge deals on electronics, like televisions, laptops, game systems, Apple products, etc.

On top of this, many shoppers already have Christmas and the holiday season top of mind. So things like toys, gift sets, beauty items, winter apparel, and appliances are also popular.

This is also a great time to announce buy-now-pay-later type purchasing options to encourage shoppers to take advantage of the low prices.

🔥 Check out this Black Friday guide for POD sellers.

Small Business Saturday

Date: November 26th – the Saturday after Thanksgiving

Who Should Participate: Small businesses, whether you’re an online shop or a brick-and-mortar shop.

When to Start Planning Your Campaign: Since this is part of a larger sales weekend, you plan this along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Start planning at least a couple months in advance so that you have enough time to create a solid campaign.

For a brick-and-mortar location, you should also plan an event at your shop. Oftentimes, small business owners from the same community will come together to plan a larger small business event. Talk to other small businesses to work something out together for a larger turnout.

When to Announce Your Sale: Announce your sale at least a week or two before the big day. You can send an initial announcement and follow up with another one closer to the big day.

What Channels Should You Use: Connect with your returning shoppers and those who are curious about your products through social, email, onsite banners, and email campaigns. Use hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday or #ShopSmall to get your shop noticed.

You can also advertise a shopping event using physical flyers in your store and around town. If you’re teaming up with other small businesses for a larger event, create something like a bingo card the shoppers can get stamped when they visit each business participant in your community’s Small Business Saturday.

Best Items to Sell: Since the focus is on small businesses, you can focus on selling whatever it is you specialize in, just keep the holidays in mind. Give your products a Christmas gift angle and offer gift cards that can be redeemed later on.

Cyber Monday

This may shock some, but Cyber Monday is an even bigger shopping day than Black Friday. Since online shopping is king, it makes sense that consumers are more excited about online deals than in-person ones.

Date: November 28th – the Monday after Thanksgiving

Who Should Participate: Since Cyber Monday deals target online shoppers, this is best for online retailers.

When to Start Planning Your Campaign: Start planning this sale months ahead of time. Two months can be enough time to create a whole campaign, marketing strategies, and graphics. Don’t forget to give your website some maintenance. This timeline can be a bit tight depending on your campaign details, so we suggest starting even earlier.

When to Announce Your Sale: Similar to a Black Friday sale, you should announce your Cyber Monday sales plans at least a month in advance. As the date approaches, you can send more information about your deals and general details.

What Channels Should You Use: Go all out for this sale and use every channel at your disposal. This includes social media posts, paid ads, email campaigns, onsite banners, and SMS. If you’re having flash sales, SMS is a great way to send targeted reminders.

Best Items to Sell: Shoppers are also looking for big-ticket items, especially tech items. On top of this, a lot of businesses also have deals on clothing, appliances, toys, beauty, and travel.

Christmas/Holiday Season

Date: Christmas Day is on December 25th, but it’s more about the season in general.

Who Should Participate: Everyone can participate in a holiday sale in preparation for Christmas and the holiday season in general. Since most people are buying gifts, just about anyone who sells products or services has something to offer.

When to Start Planning Your Campaign: Start planning at least two months ahead of time, if not three. Give yourself time to come up with a holiday campaign that is creative and eye-catching so that you stand out. There are so many holiday promos during the end of November and early December, so you want to stand out.

When to Announce Your Sale: Announce a holiday or Christmas sale in December, after all of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have ended. Be sure you leave enough time for shipped items to reach shoppers before Christmas. You can also offer in-store pickup if you have a brick-and-mortar location.

What Channels Should You Use: Again, use all of your current communication channels. Create a special Christmas shop or category page on site to make it easier for shoppers to find these items. Give your site and social media channels a nice holiday makeover to get shoppers hyped.

Do your best to make this a joyous and fun occasion for shoppers. Work on removing any obstacles they may run into in their buying journey.

Best Items to Sell: Everything, but make it holiday. Give your products a gift angle and offer gift receipts, gift wrapping services, and gift cards for last-minute shoppers. Also, highlight items shoppers will want to have around during this period, like holiday decor, seasonal treats, and on-theme apparel, like ugly Christmas sweaters.

Fall Marketing Ideas and Pointers

Once you’ve got your designs and products ready, then it’s time to start building your promotional campaigns and marketing strategies.

You may already have a tried and true system that works for your business, but it’s always a good idea to continue evolving your strategy. Use these tips to outshine your competition.

Prepare for the New Season Well in Advance

Don’t wait until the end of summer to start planning your fall campaigns. It pays to be prepared, especially with this major sale season.

Start planning what holidays you’ll participate in, what products you’ll include in your collection, what deals you’ll offer, what channels you will use, what you want to communicate, and even when you’ll announce what at least a couple months in advance.

It’s important to figure out when people start searching for your products so that you have them ready in time. Also, if you sell things for a specific holiday, like Halloween t-shirts, figure out when these have to ship by to get to your customers in time for the holiday. This information will be crucial, so don’t skip it.

Keep a calendar with deadlines and plans so that you’re one step ahead and ready for everything. It can sound like a lot of work, but you’ll be happy if you do it.

Plan Every Detail to Avoid Setbacks and Disasters

This goes along with the first point, but this is where you dive into the details. Along with planning products, deals, and dates, stop to think about the smallest details. It may seem like overkill to do this in advance, but trust us, you won’t regret it.

Once you’re in the fall and sending out email campaigns and posting your fall collection on social media, you don’t want to experience setbacks in your plans because you forgot to create a coupon code or because you can’t find the file with the correct images for social media.

To avoid these pesky setbacks that will stop you from getting the most ROI, plan everything to detail and keep organized spreadsheets with all of the information for each campaign and links to promotional images that will be needed.

Determine launch dates for every announcement, whether it’s the launch of your new collection, the launch of limited edition items, or a sale. Keep a calendar with important dates to prevent overlaps that can be confusing to customers.

For sales, decide what the discount scope will be and how users can redeem this. Will they need a coupon code or will discounts be applied automatically? Are you offering free shipping throughout your shop or only after a certain threshold?

Use this information to create the copy for ads and other promotional communications. Also, determine what the wording will be for your campaigns according to what feeling you want to communicate to your audience. Keep it cohesive across channels and work with a designer to create a uniform look and feel for all your communications.

Update Your Website

Having online sales means your website will experience a lot more traffic all at once. This is great unless you’re not prepared for it.

Your website can slow down significantly and even get overwhelmed thanks to an increase in traffic. Since shoppers don’t have a lot of patience, they’ll leave your site and go elsewhere if things aren’t loading quickly.

Avoid losing out on potential sales because of website issues by preparing your site ahead of time. Make the shopping experience seamless by giving your website some maintenance, find ways to make it faster, and do your best to ensure it won’t crash when it’s most needed.

It’s also worth taking the time to optimize your site so that you’re easier to discover. This can bring in loads of new traffic if you’re using the right SEO techniques. Don’t forget to ensure your site is mobile-friendly so that you don’t lose out on a significant chunk of mobile shoppers.

You Don’t Have to Participate in Every Fall Event

It’s tempting to say yes to every fall sale opportunity, but in reality, this doesn’t always make sense.

If you’re feeling the FOMO, slow down and evaluate what sales make sense for your brand and your audience.

Diving in head first to every sale opportunity can lead to you getting seriously overwhelmed and burned out without much to show for it.

Instead, determine what holidays resonate with your audience and stick to those. You can even skip some of the major sale days and instead opt to have smaller sales. Look for niche holidays that your audience will be more excited about.

🦃 Check out this guide to November trends to figure out what November holidays make sense for your brand.

Use Learnings from Previous Years

Business owners who have done this before are at an advantage. If this isn’t your first time having a Back Friday sale or organizing a fall collection, use what you’ve learned in the past to optimize your campaigns this year.

Keep records of previous sales to pinpoint what channels get the most conversions, what products are most popular, what types of discounts drive the most traffic, and so forth. This will let you know where to focus your efforts and can also alert you as to what isn’t working quite so well.

If you don’t have any previous knowledge or if you’re a new business owner, you can always use tools like Google Trends to see what people are searching for now as well as historical search data.

Learn as much as you can by reading reports about last year’s online shopping trends, current trend reports, and predictions for the season. You’ll feel more confident than if you were to go into this blindly.

Beyond just looking at product information, it’s also important to look at how calls and messages to your customer support team increase during a sale. This will help you make the proper staffing arrangements and ensure you have enough support personnel ready to help customers in a timely manner.

Prepare for In-Store Events

In-store events are a fun way to drive more foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar location, whether you own a coffee shop, a clothing store, or any other type of shop. During the fall, you can host seasonal events or advertise on-theme discounts to get people excited to visit your location. You can offer a discount to customers who show up in costume on Halloween, host a fall equinox celebration, etc.

Plan ahead to ensure you have plenty of supplies and staff on hand to make the event a success. Decorate your shop to make it look more inviting and welcoming. Advertise your discounts or events through online channels and with physical flyers so that you reach everyone in your community.

Create Visual Inspiration With Your Product Catalog

Finally, have some fun with your sales. Create visual content around your promotions that will be appealing and eye-catching to new and returning customers.

Give your customers gift ideas through curated gift guides featuring your products. Depending on what you sell, you can create a gift guide for mom, gifts for teens, gifts for the person who has everything, what to gift your host, etc. Shoppers who are feeling lost will love this type of content because it makes the shopping season less stressful

You can also give your customers some home design inspo for a Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner place settings, or any other event they’re planning this year. Stage some spaces with your products to give your customers an idea of what they can achieve in their own homes with some new placemats or some fun holiday throws. Have fun with this and make it attainable for your audience.

Get to Work on Your Fall Sales Plans

We know, we know. This is a lot of information all at once.

Luckily, you don’t have to participate in every single fall holiday. Stick to what makes sense for your brand and don’t stress about the rest.

With that in mind, be on the lookout for other niche holidays that resonate more with your audience. For example, coffee shop owners can plan something for International Coffee Day, which is an October holiday.

If you haven’t started planning any of your fall sales, this is your sign to get to it!

You still have time, but it’s best not to wait any longer. Bookmark this post and come back to it as much as you need along the way.

Before you go, be sure to let us know in the comments what sales you plan to participate in. ⤵️

FAQ – How to Prepare for the Fall Sales Period


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