2018 Holiday Calendar: Must-Know Dates & Strategies

Nov 1, 2018
Written by Ashley G.

As the holidays approach, professional and personal to-do lists get longer, and time seems to get shorter. To help keep you organized as we head into this busiest time of the year, we compiled a calendar of key holiday dates and shipping deadlines.

It’s important to keep these dates (scroll to the bottom of this post or download the Holiday Calendar) in mind as you create your strategy for a successful holiday. But, just having an offer on these key dates isn’t enough. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:

Develop your Own Calendar

Determine what and when offers will be available during Q4 and think through some key questions: Will the offers be similar to previous years? What were the strongest performers last Q4? Are you able to offer the same thing or an even richer offer? If you have notes on competitors’ offers, are your offers competitive to their Q4 2017 offers, or better?

Customers are looking for the best deals during this timeframe, so make sure you’re offering the best offers you can provide to position your brand for success.

Communication is Key

Communicate as early and as often as you can. Publishers receive a lot of newsletters and hot offers during this time, so make sure yours stand out. Send email campaigns to all your Publishers as early as you can to them know what and when your brand will have offers. We recommend you let Publishers know about your offer, at a minimum, a week in advance, with a reminder the day before and the day it goes live. Many Publishers create their content far in advance of these popular shopping days, so the sooner they have your offer, the better your chances are to have it featured.

  • Pro Tip: Take it one step further and create a calendar for your Publishers with popular holidays and include your brands offers for a quick reference guide.

Make it Personal

Reach out directly to the top partners in your program and to those with whom you’ve established relationships. Your direct contact may miss a newsletter, so make sure to send them a personal note with upcoming offers so it doesn’t get missed.

Spread the Love

The holidays highlighted in the calendar are key dates and the highest performing days, so it’s very important to promote during these key timeframes. But, don’t plan to provide offers ONLY on these days, or you’ll miss out! According to CJ’s 2018 Holiday Intelligence Report, “marketers who rightfully obsess about the right time to release promotions can now count the second week of November and third week of December as high conversion time periods. Conversion rates during these weeks last year increased 18% year-over-year and orders were up 29% year-over-year.”

  • Pro-Tip: Consider offering a Deal of the Day to get affiliates to feature your site frequently and up traffic and conversions to your site. Make the deal richer on days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day and Green Monday.

Learn from History

Run performance reports on past Q4’s to identify trends. Run performance by day and by Publisher to identify key performing days and partners. Reach out to those top performers to make sure they feature your offers and reserve budget when possible to secure placement with them. Read CJ's 2018 Holiday Intelligence Report that draws upon our network’s 2017 holiday retail sales and outlines the top global holiday shopping trends that will impact affiliate holiday sales this year.

Q4 is the busiest shopping time of the year and the time to make your brand shine. Develop offers on these key holidays, and throughout Q4, to bring in new shoppers and create loyal brand shoppers for years to come!

Must-Know Dates

November Holidays:

  • 11: Singles Day
  • 22: Thanksgiving
  • 23: Black Friday
  • 24: Small Business Saturday
  • 24-25: Cyber Weekend
  • 26: Cyber Monday
  • 27: Giving Tuesday

December Holidays:

  • 2-10: Hanukkah
  • 10: Green Monday
  • 14: Free Shipping Day
  • 22: Super Saturday
  • 24: Christmas Eve
  • 25: Christmas
  • 26: Boxing Day
  • 26: Kwanzaa Begins

FedEx Shipping Deadlines:

  • Dec 10: SmartPost (certain exceptions apply)
  • Dec 17: Home Delivery and Ground Shipments
  • Dec 19: Express Saver Shipments
  • Dec 20: 2-Day and 2-Day AM Shipments
  • Dec 21: Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight, First Overnight Shipments
  • Dec 25: SameDay Shipments

UPS Shipping Deadlines:

  • Dec 17: 3-Day (Select shipments delivered on Fri, Dec 21)
  • Dec 18: 2nd Day Air Packages (Devliery on Fri, Dec 21)
  • Dec 18: 3-Day (Select shipments delivered on Mon, Dec 24)
  • Dec 19: 2nd Day Air Packages (Delivery on Mon, Dec 24)
  • Dec 20: 2nd Day Air Shipments (Deliver on Mon, Dec 24. Next Day Air delivered on Dec 21)
  • Dec 21: Next Day Air Shipments (Delivery on Mon, Dec 24). *UPS Next Day Air service may also be available for delivery on Sat, Dec 22. These packages must be processed and labeled for Sat Deliver, which is not available to all ZIP codes.
  • Dec 22: Delivery of UPS Worldwide Express, UPS Next Day Air, and UPS 2nd Day Air packages processed and labeled for Sat delivery.
  • Dec 24: Pickup service only for Air and International Air packages if prearranged by Dec 20. UPS On-Call Pickup service and UPS Drop Boxes available for Air and International Air packages.

USPS Shipping Deadlines:

  • Dec 14: Retail Ground
  • Dec 20: First Class mail & packages (up to 15.99 oz), Priority Mail

For easy reference to all of these dates, download a copy of our Holiday Calendar.

Topics: Retail, Holiday, Strategy