- Plan your promotion strategy
- Connect with your audience using social media
- Promote your listings to improve visibility
- Offer bargain prices
- Bring back past customers
- Delegate routine tasks
- Make your listings mobile-friendly
- Optimize your listings and Store for holiday rush
- Offer free shipping (and free returns if possible)
- Keep selling after Black Friday and Christmas
During the peak season, 71% of consumers start their holiday shopping online, and eBay is among the top three destinations for them . Buyers are expecting bargain prices and big discounts starting from Black Friday, and they are ready to splurge despite tightening budgets. Sales usually skyrocket during this period, comprising about 40% of annual revenue, but the peak season has its challenges . Sellers need to attract buyers without dropping your prices too low and reach more shoppers despite fierce competition. This guide is meant to equip you with practical tools and help you make it through the Christmas season with maximum profit.
Plan your promotion strategy
To make the most profit out of the peak season, you need to work out a promotion strategy that will help you attract and hold buyers’ attention. Here are the key insights that will help you:
- 79% of eBay shoppers spend a lot of time exploring their purchase options 
- 32% of buyers are "early birds" who do their holiday shopping in advance 
- 28% are "last-minute shoppers" who prefer to take their time until they can better understand their holiday budget 
- 35% are going to "distribute the load" and spread Christmas shopping across several last months of the year 
Given the buyers’ preferences, you should run a long-term promotion campaign starting long before Black Friday. Buyers need time to notice your items, do some research on the Internet, and finally make the purchase decision. We recommend using several marketing channels to maximize your reach: eBay’s Promoted Listings, social media, Store newsletters, sales events and markdowns, etc.
Connect with your audience using social media
For many shoppers, social media plays an important role in their holiday shopping. They seek inspiration for home decor, look for gift ideas, read product reviews and user comments, follow retailers’ pages to learn about upcoming sales events. Last year, 56% of millennials and 60% of Gen Z shoppers planned to use social media for holiday shopping, and this year this share is likely to grow .
It’s time to use your social accounts to drive traffic to your eBay listings! Create social media accounts using your eBay username or store name. Link them to your eBay account and create posts quickly using the Social page of Seller Hub. It’s your quickest way to share listings to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other platforms. And don’t forget to encourage your buyers to follow you on social media.
To increase the impact of your social media accounts:
- Post actively and showcase your items. Add quality photos with seasonal props or backgrounds to create festive vibes. Upload compelling videos with your items in use
- Give value to your followers. Offer them useful advice and demonstrate expertise in the area
- Share buyers’ positive comments (screenshots from eBay feedback or My Messages)
- Hashtag the brands you’re selling. Add trending hashtags to your posts to be discovered by those who aren’t your followers. Use phrases like “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday”, “gift guide”, “Xmas gift ideas” and such
- Post behind-the-scenes videos in your stories or TikTok
- Consider launching targeted ad campaigns on social media
The peak season is a busy time, so we recommend preparing a series of posts in advance.
Promote your listings to improve visibility
During the peak season, buyers rely on sellers to inspire them and help them find the right gifts. eBay’s Promoted Listings tools will help you drive visibility and grow your market share. The purchasing impact of eBay ads is supported by data:
of surveyed online shoppers in the US say that they are likely to buy promoted items during the Christmas season 
of eBay buyers say they will view and purchase the sponsored items displayed at the top of their search results 
Sellers saw 50%
more sales when using Promoted Listings Advanced compared to non-promoted items, on average 
Plan a long-term ad strategy across the entire holiday season. Customers looking for items like yours will see your listings at every step of their eBay purchase journey. Whether it be at the beginning, in the middle, or at the very end of the Christmas season.
If you’ve never run Promoted Listings campaigns before, read the overview article to find out what campaign type is best for your business needs: Standard, Advanced, or Express.
Offer bargain prices
Holiday shoppers are mostly bargain hunters who want to get the most value for their money. Both “early birds” and “last-minute shoppers” scour the marketplace, looking for the biggest discounts they can find. To attract holiday shoppers to your listings, price competitively and offer all kinds of discounts.
To determine what to sell, when to sell it, and at what price, use Terapeak — eBay’s market analysis tool. Terapeak leverages eBay’s recent data on supply, demand, and pricing to provide you with useful insights. It’s available to all sellers free of charge.
How to attract bargain hunters:
- Use Promotions Manager to set up volume discounts, sales and markdown events, shipping discounts, and size discounts. Holiday shoppers will be more likely to purchase more of your items and increase your average order value
- Send Offers to buyers with lower prices than those stated in your listings. This feature is useful if you want to reach buyers already interested in your items. Offers can be sent in bulk to everyone who has added your Fixed price item to their watching list or shopping cart during the previous five days
- Use Store newsletters to inform buyers about the upcoming sales and promotions. If they get such a notice in advance, they may decide to put your items on their shopping lists
Create and send Coded coupons to attract new buyers or encourage repeat customers. Coupons can be shared via social media, Store newsletters, ad campaigns or other marketing channels. You can also print coupons and add them to boxes when shipping orders. Create a coupon now
Delegate routine tasks
Hopefully, you will get a lot more orders during the Christmas season. If you’re running your eBay business alone, you might feel stressed and overwhelmed — especially if you struggle to meet your handling time.
To get through the peak season with maximum efficiency, consider hiring an assistant and delegating specific workflows such as listing creation and editing, incoming orders review, generation of reports and such. eBay multi-user account access allows you to do it without exposing your password or sensitive business information.
Use multi-user account access to delegate routine workflows to designated users. You will have more time to focus on business development and other strategic tasks.
Make your listings mobile-friendly
In Q2 2023, eBay buyers purchased items worth $11.6B using their mobile devices . It’s about 64% of the total GMV of this period! With the growing number of mobile shoppers, it’s crucial to optimize your listings for smartphones and tablets:
- Use legible font and simple formatting
- Avoid horizontal scrolling
- Use bullet points in the description
- Make sure all description elements scale across device sizes
- Use the eBay photo uploader instead of adding images to the description
- Add shipping, payment and returns info to the corresponding fields
Please keep in mind that item descriptions aren’t displayed in full on mobile devices. Users see only a short summary that can be expanded on click. That’s why it’s so important to add key information about shipping, payment and returns to the listing fields instead of jamming everything into your descriptions.
Optimize your listings and Store for holiday rush
Visibility is key during the peak season. To make your items appear more often in buyers’ search results, optimize your listings according to our recommendations. You may achieve a significant increase in traffic without spending a dime!
How to make your items more visible for potential buyers:
- Add top-searched seasonal keywords and phrases to listings’ titles and descriptions. Try “Christmas gift”, “Christmas decor”, “Black Friday sale”, “Cyber Monday Sale”, “Christmas gift for husband”, or whatever is relevant. It will increase your items’ visibility in search results
- Write clear and structured descriptions that include the information buyers may need. Brand names, sizes, model numbers, key characteristics, etc
- Add product identifiers if there are any (GTIN, UPC, EAN, MPN, etc.). They make it easier for buyers to find your listings both on eBay and through external search engines
- Add relevant item specifics. They depend on what you’re selling and may include brand, size, length, width, height, type, color, style, etc. The more details you add, the more visibility your item will get
- Check if your items are listed in the correct category. If not, your listings will be less visible for shoppers (and violate the eBay policy as well)
If you have an eBay Store, customize your Storefront to make it look more festive. Create a marketing banner with information about holiday discounts, add Featured items and a store video representing your values.
Offer free shipping (and free returns if possible)
Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers usually expect free shipping. They often filter their search results on eBay so as to see only listings with this option. It means that a more expensive item with free shipping is likely to get more visibility and more sales than an identical product with a lower price.
Free returns are also a good option that helps eliminate buyers’ doubt. If you sell worldwide, set up your return preferences to offer free returns in closer regions only (so that your bottom line would not get severely affected). No returns at all will put off potential customers, and they will look for the desired items elsewhere.
To learn more about shipping tips and best practices, read our article on holiday season shipping.
Keep selling after Black Friday and Christmas
The holiday season isn’t over with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A lot of buyers will be looking for Christmas gifts for the most part of December. Follow these recommendations to make the most out of pre-Christmas sales:
- Keep track of your sales. Use Terapeak to find out what products in your category are selling, analyze price dynamics and spikes of interest
- Manage inventory. Regularly check if you have enough merchandise in stock, so that you won’t run out of best-selling items
- Tweak your listings. If buyers are choosing competitors’ products over yours, add more details about your items, upload quality photos or review prices
Sales often drop when everyone is getting their rest from the shopping spree. If you prefer to relax as well, set Time Away and enjoy your vacation. But for many buyers, it’s time to spend money they’ve got as Christmas gifts. Here’s how you can attract their attention:
- Target repeat customers, offering them special post-Christmas deals in Store newsletters
- Announce a clearance sale with big discounts on old inventory
- Start a fun contest on social media to encourage buyers to show their Christmas purchases. This contest will promote your products and generate excitement
- Start selling a new line of products in the new year
- Cater for “New Year resolutions”: offer sports clothes and gear, healthy food, planners, diet supplementaries, personal care products, etc. Use Terapeak to see what sells best during this slow period
- 2023 eBay Ads Holiday Guide. eBay, Inc. go.ebayadvertising.com/2023eBayAdsHolidayGuide. Accessed 22 Sep 2023.
- Stebbins, Jack. Holiday shopping season expected to be muted as inflation squeezes shoppers. CNBC. www.cnbc.com/2022/09/13/holiday-shopping-season-expected-to-be-muted-as-inflation-squeezes-shoppers.html. Accessed 22 Sep 2023.
- Peak season spend trends 2023. eBay, Inc. www.ebayads.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/ebay_ads_christmas_2023_F-1.pdf. Accessed 22 Sep 2023.
- Handrinos N. et al. 2022 Deloitte holiday retail survey. Deloitte. www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/insights/articles/us175738_holiday-retail-travel/DI_2022-Holiday-retail.pdf. Accessed 22 Sep 2023.
- “eBay Ads’ Annual Holiday Survey: 92% of shoppers plan to shop online this season”. eBay Ads. eBay, Inc. www.ebayads.com/2022/09/20/ebay-ads-annual-holiday-survey-na/. Accessed 22 Sep 2023.
- “2023 Holiday trends calendar”. eBay Ads. eBay, Inc. www.ebayads.com/2023/09/05/2023-marketing-trends-calendar/. Accessed 22 Sep 2023.
- “Best practices for creating mobile-friendly listings”. eBay.com. eBay, Inc. pages.ebay.com/sell/itemdescription/mobilefriendlyguidelines.html. Accessed 22 Sep 2023.