Holiday Marketing Automation: 10 Campaigns to Boost Sales (2024)

Holiday Automation with Flow: 10 Ways to Make Black Friday Easier, More Profitable

The holiday season is your chance to end the year on a high note. According to various studies, the weeks leading up to Christmas represent 25% of total retail sales, on average.

Shoppers are ready to spend during the holidays, too. In 2023, Mastercard SpendingPulse found that retail sales rose 2.2% year over year, and online retail sales increased 6.3% during the same period.

Manually managing holiday marketing campaigns during the holiday season can strain resources. Achieving a high level of efficiency and customer satisfaction is a Herculean task, especially during frenzied shopping periods.

Fortunately, with these marketing automation workflows below, you can give your business the advantage of optimized, hassle-free holiday campaigns that drive remarkable results.

10 holiday marketing automation campaigns to try

  • Personalize your customers’ buying experience for the holiday season
  • Segment rapidly converting customer groups
  • Track and reward your top customers
  • Uncover insights through customer return patterns
  • Notify logistics of expedited shipping requests
  • Boost sales of low stock items and manage out-of-stock
  • Reorder low stock and pause marketing
  • Establish consistent merchandising strategies for new offerings
  • Receive early alerts for high-risk transactions
  • Manage high-risk orders with automated cancellation and restocking

1. Personalize your customers’ buying experience for the holiday season

Logging your customers’ preferences before and during your busiest time of the year means, when they come back, they’re automatically provided with a personalized shopping experience.

You want them to feel like they’re getting the best shopping experience during the holidays. When they return to your store and find personalized recommendations, they’ll spend less time looking for what they want, which creates a positive experience and generates sales.

How it works:

  • Your system tags customers based on their latest purchase.
  • It then categorizes them if items have a specific string in the SKU.
  • You can also tag based on product name, bar code, or vendor.

💡Increase holiday sales by downloading this Shopify Flow workflow.

2. Segment rapidly converting customer groups

If a first-time customer converts quickly, they’ve shown high interest and intent in your brand. These customers need to be nurtured to encourage repeat orders.

Accelerating sales cycles, especially during the high-demand holiday season, can result in more transactions within a shorter time frame. It also helps allocate resources, such as marketing budget and personnel, more efficiently.

Start tracking these customers to show them targeted, early, or secret Black Friday Cyber Monday sales. Then, export this customer list as a Facebook custom audience and market to them with specific sales or campaigns.

How it works:

  • It starts when an order is submitted from a first-time buyer that has converted in less than three days from their first visit.
  • It then tags the customer as “high-intent” and adds a customer note.

💡If you want to segment customers faster and earn more sales, download this Shopify Flow workflow for your store.

3. Track and reward your top customers

A smart holiday marketing strategy thinks ahead. Now is the time to reward loyal customers to keep them coming back after the holidays are over. Easily implement loyalty and retention initiatives by segmenting customers based on lifetime spend or amount of orders.

Saski Collection built a similar email marketing automation for its customer service team to send a $100 gift voucher to its top customers. Within the first seven days, Saski Collection saw a lift of 40,000+ visits to its website.

Here’s an example of the email:

Subject: New VIP customer: Sally Shopper

Please send personal thank you note template to Lucy Handley - for placing a recent order for $83.45. They’'ve spent $587.12 with us since becoming a customer.

View order: /admin/orders/541507551284

How it works:

  • It starts once a customer has spent over $500 in your store. It could also be triggered based on amount of orders or average order value.
  • Your system tags the customer as “gold VIP.”
  • It then emails your customer service team to send them a personal thank you, coupon code, gift, or anything you see fit.

💡Want to show your top customers love? Download this Shopify workflow for your store.

4. Uncover insights through customer return patterns

A refund is a terrible thing to waste. It’s not just a lost sale, it’s an opportunity to learn what went wrong during the customer experience and improve it in the future.

Insights from return patterns also help you manage inventory better. During the holiday season, you can stock up on items with low return rates to meet customer demand and minimize unsold inventory.

How it works:

  • When a refund is created and it’s greater than $100, your system will tag the customer as a “high refunder.”
  • The system then sends an email to your customer service team with the customer’s name, phone, and email so they can see why the customer was unhappy with the product(s).

Here’s an example of the email:

Subject: Contact customer who was refunded $125.25

A refund was just processed for over $100 ($125.25 to be exact). Please contact the customer to see how we can improve our products or service in the future.

Sally Shopper


View order: /admin/orders/541507551284

💡Don’t waste your returns. Make money from them by downloading the Shopify Flow workflow.

5. Notify logistics of expedited shipping requests

This one is especially important for Black Friday and holiday shoppers. You need to stay on top of high-priority orders with proactive notifications that alert the right team when a rush order comes in.

Here’s an example of the email:

Subject: New next day order - #1901

A new order has just been paid that selected next day shipping at checkout. The order is being shipped to Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

View order: /admin/orders/541507551284

You can adjust this automation to notify you of orders from your Amazon channel that are fulfilled by merchant (FBM), where delays can lead to your account getting shut down.

How it works:

  • It starts when the shipping rate on an order includes “next day” or “2 day.”
  • It then emails your logistics team with information about the order.
  • It tags the order so you can easily sort by urgent orders that are still unfulfilled.

💡Ship faster and more efficiently by downloading this Shopify Flow workflow.

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6. Boost sales of low stock items and manage out-of-stock

Products sell fast over the holidays, and the last thing you want are angry customers who placed an order for a loved one or themselves, only to get told later that it’s not coming.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, scarcity—fear of missing out—is one of the most powerful motivators for action. Especially buying. Instead of risking angry customers or letting the opportunity to lean on scarcity pass you by, automatically place low-stock products in prominent places on your store to sell through faster.

How it works:

  • When a product inventory is 10 items or less, your system tags the product as “low stock.”
  • When the product inventory hits 0, the product is automatically unpublished from your online store.

💡Improve inventory management by downloading this Shopify Flow workflow.

7. Reorder low stock and pause marketing

The previous workflow is great for customers. But what if you or one of your teams need to be notified when a product gets low, so you can order it again before it sells out?

Replenish inventory exactly when you need to—not a moment earlier or later. Be transparent about inventory with your whole team and start the reorder process with your vendors.

Using Shopify Plus and its automation features, such as Shopify Flow and Shopify Scripts, Rumpl streamlined its operations, enabling nimble responses to inventory alerts and handling bundled discounts efficiently, resulting in 130% more orders, 109% more revenue, and 39% more conversions. As a result of the automation, Rumpl was able to focus on mission-driven initiatives and create a robust online presence that reflected its ethos well.

How it works:

  • When a product’s inventory is less than 10 items, automatically send an email to your vendor or inventory manager to reorder the item.
  • Your system sends a Slack message to your #marketing team channel notifying them to pause any marketing campaigns with the product in it.

Here’s an example of the message:

T-Shirt - Red / L is running low on inventory. We have less than 10 in stock.

Consider pausing any campaigns that feature this product so efforts aren’t wasted.

💡 Keep more products in stock this season by downloading this Shopify Flow workflow.

8. Establish consistent merchandising strategies for new offerings

Automate your merchandising and how products are organized and discovered by your customers, including surfacing the correct items in your store’s search function. On the front end, when customers are discovering and filtering products, they now see consistent tags and accurate results, finding what they need faster.

GOOD AMERICAN set up a similar workflow in less than a day that automatically tags denim fits, colors, and sizes, so customers can find the exact jeans they’re looking for.

How it works:

  • It starts when a product is added to your store and the title includes the word “t-shirt.”
  • Your system tags these products within a “t-shirt” and “top” tag and adds it to specific collections. It could also organize products based on SKU, variant name (such as color), and much more.

💡 Download this Shopify Flow workflow and present new offerings more effectively.

9. Receive early alerts for high-risk transactions

No more sifting through hundreds of orders and manually deciding to fulfill low-risk orders. Flow can notify your team when risky orders come through to review and capture payment manually.

Detecting high-risk transactions early ensures smooth operations, which is especially important during the holiday season, when transactions are high.

How it works:

  • If an order is medium or low risk, your system will capture the payment.
  • If it is high risk, it will tag the order as “for review,” and an email will be sent to your customer service team to review the order.
  • If all checks out, you can capture the payment manually.

Here’s an example of the email you can send:

Subject: Review #1901 before capturing payment

Please review high-risk order #1901 before capturing payment.

View order: /admin/orders/541507551284

💡 Download this Shopfiy Flow workflow and mitigate potential fraud this holiday season.

10. Manage high-risk orders with automated cancellation and restocking

Orders that are high-risk for chargebacks slow you down. Automatically cancel and restock orders that your ecommerce platform determines are high-risk without any manual reviews needed.

Automating the cancellation of high-risk orders reduces the risk of fraud, which protects revenue and creates a trustworthy shopping environment for legitimate customers.

How it works:

  • Starts when an order risk level is high.
  • Your system cancels the order, restocks the items, and sends a cancellation and refund notification to the customer.
  • It also tags the customer as “high risk” for future tracking and notifies you via email of the cancellation.

Here’s an example of the email you can send:

Subject: #1901 canceled due to high risk

Flow has automatically canceled order #1901. The items in the order have been restocked, and the customer was notified through your regular order cancellation/refund email template.

View order: /admin/orders/541507551284

💡Reduce fraud and protect your revenue by downloading this Shopify Flow workflow.

Improve the customer experience this holiday season with automation

Good holiday marketing strategies are backed by good automation. It’s the only way to manage higher volumes of traffic and transactions as a multimillion-dollar ecommerce brand.

Implement the above automations this holiday shopping season. That way, you can capture more revenue with less resources and have a profitable Q4 to celebrate the end of year.

Holiday marketing automation FAQ

How do you create a holiday marketing campaign?

Understanding your target audience's holiday buying behavior and analyzing past campaign data can help you plan for holiday marketing. To ensure timely and efficient communication with your audience, you should also automate your email marketing efforts, returns, fraud detection, and inventory management.

How do you plan a holiday marketing campaign?

A holiday marketing campaign must have clear objectives, a target audience, and a creative and engaging theme. From there, plan your email marketing campaigns to go out at the right time, with the right triggers. You can also use automation to save time with scheduled promotions, real-time analytics, and automated responses to customer inquiries.

When should I start holiday marketing?

The best time to begin holiday marketing is a few months before the holiday season, so there’s plenty of time for campaign design, automation workflows, and testing. With automation, you can schedule holiday email campaigns, monitor real-time engagement, and make data-driven adjustments, ensuring your marketing efforts stay on track and effective.

Does marketing automation really work?

Yes, holiday marketing automation can work by increasing revenue, building brand loyalty, and standing out in a crowded market. Automation enhances these benefits by enabling personalized customer interactions at scale and freeing up resources.

About the authors

Anthony Kentris

Anthony Kentris is a product marketing manager at Shopify Plus and entrepreneur himself with a few budding brands.

Check out Anthony Kentris’s work
Michael Keenan

Michael is a SaaS Marketer and SEO and founder of Peak Freelance. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and two Xoloitzcuintles.