In the United States, holiday shopping is good for business. On average people spend $843.4 billion during the holiday season. And Cyber Monday (Nov. 28th) has become a popular holiday kickoff for ecommerce. This year it’s expected to top $11 billion in sales.

Hosting giveaways throughout the weekend or even earlier in November is a successful strategy to capture these shoppers and draw them into your ecommerce store. The trick is to choose your resources carefully and to be specific about the giveaway parameters like location and timing.

Use these Thanksgiving giveaway ideas to jump-start your promotion strategy and draw business to your site.

Why you should host a Thanksgiving giveaway

Interactive marketing is memorable. It helps generate leads and gets more engagement than traditional social media posts and other content. This type of marketing is aimed at building relationships with customers rather than simply trying to get them to buy your merchandise. ‌‌

Giveaways are effective as interactive content, improving your brand awareness and generating new leads. When people know they have the potential to win a prize, they are more likely to interact with your brand online, including checking out your website. These ecommerce giveaway ideas will help you find new customers in time for the holiday shopping rush.

8 Thanksgiving giveaway ideas

Competing with large retailers is daunting for any small business owner. Hosting a Thanksgiving giveaway helps create buzz around your ecommerce store, leading more people to click “add to cart.” Use these Thanksgiving giveaway ideas to elevate your holiday season.

1. Turkey dinner giveaway

While a bit unusual for an ecommerce store, one of the most frequent Thanksgiving-related giveaway prizes is a turkey dinner. It’s appealing because it saves people from having to cook a turkey themselves, and it’s free. However, when you potentially do business all over the world, it can be a bit tricky.

So first, you have to decide if you’re going got try to keep it local or if you’re going to keep everything online.

Keeping it local

The great thing about staying local is that it gives you an opportunity to support your community while letting them know about your ecommerce business.

However, when trying to do a Thanksgiving dinner giveaway the traditional way, you’ll have to be specific about the location of the giveaway and the winner. After all, you don’t want someone from Seattle, Washington winning a Thanksgiving dinner that has to be picked up in Dallas, Texas.

To do this, partner with a local restaurant, grocery store, or catering company and be sure to list out the contest restrictions according to location and when the dinner has to be picked up. Also, be clear on whether or not the dinner is pre-made and ready to eat, frozen, or ready to be cooked by the “home chef.”

Online all the time

If you want to broaden your potential contestant pool, partner or purchase the dinner from an established Thanksgiving meal delivery service such as Harry & David, Omaha Steaks, Perdue Farms, or Goldbelly.

Pick the company and the meal in advance, then advertise your giveaway campaign to their delivery area.

While this free turkey dinner was given away by To Be Continued Consignment Shop, a local brick-and-mortar store, it’s not impossible to do the same sort of thing when you own an ecommerce store. It’s all about who you partner with.

If it’s not in your budget, you don’t have to go all out with a full dinner. Think about offering up pieces of a dinner. Turkeys, roasts, hams, and pies are always good bets for a Thanksgiving giveaway.

Build interest and excitement by posting on social media that a big giveaway announcement is coming. Start a week or more in advance, depending on how long you’re going to run the contest, then create a big announcement for the giveaway itself. Use keywords and phrases in your descriptions to improve your ecommerce SEO and increase visibility for your contest.‌ And, as always, include a custom hashtag along with other, relevant, hashtags.

2. Weekend getaway

The holidays are a stressful time. Thanksgiving giveaway ideas don’t have to be focused on food or discounts. Instead, inspire people to get away and relax for the weekend, decompressing from holiday madness.

Keeping it local

Keeping things local is a great way to get to know your community business partners. Visit their locations, let them know what you’re planning, and see if they want to partner with you. For extra leverage, and to let them know you’re a legitimate business, let them know how much business you did online last year, show them your social media following, and outline how you envision the partnership will work to benefit both of your businesses.

Online all the time

‌Going after a broader audience and reach doesn’t mean you have to go all out with a trip to a fancy resort. Instead, support another ecommerce store that offers spa-like gifts such as facial creams, foot soaks, or bath bombs. Better yet, make your giveaway exclusive by choosing items from several stores and creating a unique gift basket that can’t be purchased anywhere.

TIP: To increase your sales, tie entries to transactions above a certain dollar amount.

3. Discounts

Encourage people to do their holiday shopping with you by giving them a chance to win an online discount. You can use a simple entry form on your website encouraging people to sign up for your newsletter for the chance to win. ‌

To entice more people to enter, make the discount valuable, or offer a special deal on a big-ticket item that you never put on sale. Let people know what the prize is and how to enter, then promote the contest on your website and in your social media feed.

To increase engagement and broaden your social media audience, host a Facebook contest and have participants like, share, and comment to enter.

4. Host a social media photo contest

Let your followers promote your ecommerce store with a social media photo contest. You can make this contest Thanksgiving-themed by having them use your products in their own holiday preparations. Include a branded hashtag and a more generic hashtag like #ThanksgivingDecor. The branded hashtag can be used to track entries, while the generic hashtag will make the contest more visible online.

This Thanksgiving photo contest from Dobson Ranch gives the winner a $50 gift card and their photo goes on the cover of the December issue of Rancher’s Roundup!

You can offer any prize you want, but a cash prize typically draws the most interest.

5. Gift basket giveaway

While this was briefly mentioned above, I want to bring more attention to it as its own unique giveaway.

One of the great things about gift baskets is that when individual, related items are bundled together in an attractive container, they instantly have more perceived value because when everything is in one place, it saves the shopper time. The same thing goes when giving away a gift basket. The winner has the option to either enjoy it themselves or save time on their holiday shopping by regifting it to someone else.

To create your best gift basket giveaway, either use your own merchandise or hold a co-branded contest with other ecommerce providers to create a themed basket that offers complementary products. For example, ‌if you sell clothing on your ecommerce site, you could partner with a store that offers accessories, shoes, or makeup to create a fall or winter outfit.

6. Grocery giveaway

Along with the catered turkey dinner, the grocery giveaway is another popular Thanksgiving giveaway idea.

Keeping it local

By offering a grocery gift card, you’re giving your customers the chance to save money on their holiday meal preparation. Again, if doing this one with a local store, be specific about who can enter and where the gift card is valid.

Online all the time

‌As an ecommerce shop, with customers that may come from all over the world, you might want to offer a Visa gift card so you can expand the giveaway to all of your current customers, as well as potential customers while ensuring the winner can use it anywhere — including your ecommerce store.

7. Free kitchen tools

Help people prep their Thanksgiving meal by offering free kitchen tools and supplies. You can create a gift package containing all the essentials needed to make the perfect dinner. This prize is great for an online recipe contest that home cooks can use to share their favorite dishes. Encourage more participation by making the contest a recipe swap.

TIP: To keep costs down, make your kitchen tool giveaway specific to a single type of dish such as “favorite sides,” “best stuffing,” or “perfect pies.”

8. Decorating giveaway

Give your customers the chance to nail their Thanksgiving tablescape by offering free décor. You can create a package that includes candles, centerpieces, silverware, and anything else they need to elevate their home for the holiday.

This prize also pairs well with a photo contest. You can encourage participants to showcase their best design skills or switch it up and award the prize to the person with the worst tablescape. Make it fun to encourage participation!

How to promote your contest

Once you’ve decided on a Thanksgiving giveaway, promote it to get people to participate. Make sure the rules are clearly communicated in every promotion campaign.

To get the most out of your Thanksgiving giveaway, use these promotion strategies to boost engagement:‌

  • Create a landing page on your website for the contest so people can read through all the details, such as contest length, rules for entry, and other terms and conditions that impact participation — such as age limits or location.
  • ‌‌Promote your contest through online marketing channels including your email list, social media accounts, and website.
  • Offer an incentive to those who share the promotion, like additional entries for posting on their social media.‌
  • Capture new users with optimized social media posts that showcase the prize and generate excitement for entering.‌
  • ‌‌Include keywords and phrases like “giveaway” or “Thanksgiving giveaway” to boost your search engine performance.‌
  • Post blogs and videos about your contest and consider running promoted posts on social media to target a wider audience.

Running your Thanksgiving giveaway

A carefully planned and thoughtful giveaway can improve your holiday traffic and help you capture a higher percentage of holiday sales. Keep building your customer relationships this holiday season by offering a prize that resonates with your clients, making the contest fun, and promoting it in a variety of places.

TIP: Add entry forms to your website to capture email addresses and generate new leads with every entry. Once your contest has ended, you can send promotional emails and other content to these new customers.