Wooden toy car with bottle brush tree on top

The holidays are here, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at most people’s online shops.  Whether you own an Etsy shop, a Shopify shop or even host your e-commerce business on WooCommerce, most shop owners skip adding holiday branding to their websites.

It’s a shame really.  Online shops are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to communicating with customers the emotional joys of the season.

We can’t play Christmas music in the background.  Or serve our customers steaming cups of hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies.  We can’t even decorate a tree to express the holiday feel.

But, what we can do is add holiday branding to different sections of our online shop.  These branding elements can help showcase our products and put customers in the holiday mood when they “stop by” to browse.

Here are 7 easy ways to add holiday branding to your online shop.  These branding techniques are sure to put your customers in the holiday spirit and have them singing carols to the Checkout page.

Start with the Color Palette

Tis’ the season for red and green.  At least it was ages ago.  I remember growing up and only seeing red and green during the holidays.  Until one season, the color palette of silver, slate and berry arrived.  I was smitten.

Changing up your business’ every day color palette is a great way to get your shop in the holiday mood.

And just because it’s the holiday season, doesn’t mean you have to stick with the traditional colors for your holiday branding.  Try something a bit different or mix it up.

From all blue to vintage Christmas colors, you can capture the holidays with lots of different color combinations.  Check out these 25 holiday color palette ideas here.

If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, these holiday color palettes are bit less complicated. I also like how they display them in different tree images to show you what they’d look like together for your design.

Do you already use colors that have holiday hues?

If your business branding already has colors that are similar to a holiday color palette, you just switch them for the actual holiday colors. For example, Katarina’s Paperie has a light teal and pink for our every day colors. I might just make the pink darker and the teal more green this season. Then my holiday color palette is still recognizable to our brand, but makes customers feel more in the holiday spirit.

Assortment of pastel decorated Christmas cookies and the text overlay "Easy ways to add holiday branding to your online shop"

Update your Shop Cover Photo

One of the best places to share holiday cheer with online shoppers is your shop cover photo.  Whether you use one or three photos in a slider, this section of your shop is a great way to let customers know that you’re ready for the holidays.

Choose or create a photo that highlights your shop’s holiday product selection.  It should entice buyers to celebrate the holidays with you.  Some ideas include a picture with an assortment of your holiday products or even photos with your product in use.  

When designing your cover photo, use the holiday color palette that you chose above.  This is a great way to connect holiday colors to your branding and put customers in the holiday spirit (without the Christmas music).

If you are making a shop cover photo for an Etsy shop, you’ll also want to include your shop’s name and website (if you have a separate website). Shoppers on Etsy see a lot of cover photos as they browse through the shops. Make sure yours includes important information and is memorable.

Not sure where to begin? I design most of my shop’s cover photos and banners in Canva. For Etsy, they actually have a selection that is the right size. You can also choose a made for you template or change the layout to include more photos. It’s a great place to make something original this holiday season.

Create a Memorable Icon

Your Etsy shop icon is the face of your shop. It appears everywhere that you go on Etsy.

Although you might not want to change your icon image to keep consistent branding, this is something that you could update just for the holiday season.

During past holidays, I have altered the colors of my icon to match my holiday color palette. You could also add a message such as “Tis’ the season” or “Fa la la la la”.

Or select a holiday themed graphic that represents your shop. Just be careful. You don’t want to confuse buyers when you switch it back after the holidays.

No matter what icon you choose, it should give potential buyers a sense of who you are and what your shop sells. For example, our shop sells children’s digital designs. My shop icon is a butterfly from our logo with a striped background. The butterfly represents the whimsy of the design. I will forever have an image of my little chasing butterflies in the spring.

For the holidays, I could change the colors to match our holiday branding. This would keep our butterfly image, but give the shop more of a holiday feel. By keeping the same graphic, I don’t run the risk that my customers will stop associating our shop with the butterfly image.

You can also include your shop’s name and if you’re having a holiday sale. Just remember not to make any text too small. Customers can have trouble reading it.

Create Holiday Feature Photos

Product photos are one of the most important tools you have to help you sell your products online. Although you won’t have time to update all of your product photos for the holidays, you could select some of photos to add holiday branding to.

Create the product photo highlighting your holiday color palette. Or add in photos that show your product in action around the holidays.

I sell holiday gift tags. For the product photos, I used holiday photo props and attached the tags to brown paper packages. These types of photos give buyers a sense of what their gift tags will look like on their packages.

Add these photos to your Featured Items section of your Etsy shop or the Just Arrived area of your Shopify shop. Most importantly, make sure that these items are front and center. Customers love to see your new holiday offerings and your best photos leave a great first impression.

Add a Holiday Video to your About Page

Make the holidays come to life in your online shop this season by adding a video to your About page. Etsy recently added the feature of including a video in your About page. You can also upload a video to your About page in Shopify.

When making your video, find a holiday themed backdrop. A favorite Christmas tree, decorations around town or even your living room can make great places to film.

For your video, you can showcase how your shop is celebrating the holidays or get personal. Share different things that your family does during this special season.

Most importantly, a holiday video should help customers connect with you personally. Kind of like if you were having a conversation with them during check out.

Pretty pink hot cocoa mug on blankets with the text overlay "7 easy ways to add holiday branding to your online shop"

Celebrate the Season through Shop Updates

Etsy has a wonderful tool that many shop owners forget to use called Shop Updates. The verdict is still out on how effective this tool is to driving sales, but with some holiday photos, it can dress up your shop.

Shop updates are shown to any one who has favorited your shop. It’s a great way to communicate what’s going on in your shop with your raving fans. The ones who took the time to click the heart icon.

Using shop updates is an efficient way to show your Etsy customers what you’re up to. Since the people who see them already like your shop, there’s a greater likelihood that they’ll come back and make a purchase.

You can find your shop updates section under the reviews section of your Etsy shop. To create an update, you need to use the Etsy app on your mobile device. If you open up the social media tab in the app, you can scroll down to “Shop Updates” at the bottom.

There are lots of different shop updates that you can create. Here are some ideas to try in your Etsy shop:

  • Choose a photo that shows your workspace in the middle of creating holiday orders.
  • Showcase a customer photo of someone using your item (especially around the holidays)
  • Keep it simple and post a product photo to show a new item in your shop
  • Share an upcoming holiday sale
  • Announce shipping deadlines or that you’re offering free shipping

Although the shop updates features only exists on Etsy, there are other ways to keep your customers in tune with your holiday preparations on your other sales platforms.

I’ve found using Instagram is a great way to let my followers (and potential customers) know what’s happening in our shop. If you have a shop website, install the Instagram Feed plugin. It puts your live Instagram Feed in the footer of your website so customers can see your updates when they stop by your shop.

If you have a Shopify shop, you could share shop updates with your customers by adding a set of photos to your shop’s website design. These photos can include links to your holiday products.

I use four different photos in this section showcasing our products in action. During the holidays, I update these photos to reflect our current holiday items. It gives our shop more of a holiday feel and adds opportunity for potential customers to find something they want to purchase.

Create a Holiday Theme for your Email Newsletters

If you are active with your email list around the holidays, you could add holiday branding to your email newsletter as well. Choose a holiday email template when designing your email campaign (Mailchimp has a bunch to choose from) or purchase a pre-made holiday template from a graphic designer.

You can brand the template with your holiday color palette and include holiday graphics to make it more festive.

Also, when writing your email newsletter around the holidays, choose appropriate topics your customers will be interested in. Successful emails this time of year might include topics such as gift giving, end of year updates, personal story from your own holiday memories or even a photo contest.

You can find lots of ideas for your holiday email newsletters here.

Final Thoughts…

The holiday season is such an important time for your creative business. It’s an opportunity to increase sales, reach new customers and build on relationships with current customers.

Adding holiday branding to your online shop can make everyone (including you) more in the holiday spirit. Update your colors, create a new cover banner and include lots of photos of your products in action.

Most importantly be consistent. Holiday branding is only successful when used throughout your business. Don’t update your Etsy shop, but leave your website feeling plain.

These days customers visit you on all of your platforms. So make sure you use at least a little holiday branding on each one. It’s sure to have a bigger impact on your holiday sales and the growth of your shop.

Looking for more ideas to get your online shop ready for the holidays?  Check out our holiday marketing series on our blog here.

 

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