How to Increase Average Order Value During the Holidays

The holiday season is a great time to leverage your fulfillment provider’s value-added services to increase your average order value. It’s historically the biggest buying season of the year and consumers are ready to buy gifts for themselves and loved ones.  Don’t get caught up in these common peak season ecommerce challenges.

You can encourage customers to add more to their cart by bundling products, promoting upsells, and adding specialty services like gift wrapping or custom messaging. Here are the best ways to increase your average order value during the holiday season.  

What is AOV?  

AOV stands for average order value. It is an important growth metric to track for all ecommerce brands. 

To calculate your AOV, divide the total revenue from your store by the number of orders placed within the same time frame. Here’s an example: if you make $1000 total per day from 25 orders, your average order value is $40. That means your customers cart total is, on average, $40.  

To try and increase your AOV you want to set reasonable goals. Using the math above you might set a goal of $45 or $50 per order. It really depends on the value of your products—setting a growth percentage might be a more obtainable goal for your brand than a set dollar amount.  

By implementing tactics to increase your AOV, you’ll be increasing your overall revenue and likely profit margin as well.  

Create Seasonal Product Bundles    

Bundles increase the perceived value of your products. When products are bundled together customers will spend more money than if they purchased the same number of single items. 

The holidays are a great time to create product bundles because many people are looking for gift ideas and in general buying more. A product bundle could mean a shopper buys three of the same items, keeps one and gives two away. Or it could mean bundling accessories to go with a main feature product. 

Other than increasing the average order value (and cart size!), offering bundles is also a great way to expose customers to a wider variety of items. Another type of bundle, great for the holidays, is mixing and matching flavors or colors. Everyone loves seasonal items. For example, if you’re selling scented candles, put a few together to make a “holiday set” of scents.  

One caveat when bundling products: if your fulfillment provider has the technology to facilitate virtual bundles, you’ll have a much easier time setting these up than pre-kitten bundles. There is a significant difference between virtual bundles and pre-kitten bundles, but the biggest differentiators are time and cost. The biggest benefits to virtual bundling include:  

  • Offset shipping costs by increasing average order size which leads to greater profits.   
  • There’s no additional cost to do virtual bundling (versus pre-kitting bundles).   
  • Set up bundles faster, which gives you more flexibility.   
  • Test bundles more frequently which helps iterate and smooth out operations.  

Upsell Products on Social   

The classic upsell is “Would you like to supersize your order?” Upsells incentivize the customer to purchase more expensive or higher-value items. If you’ve ever supersized your order you know that it means you get slightly more of the items you already ordered, for an additional fraction of the original cost.     

Upsells increase your average order value by increasing the frequency that higher-priced goods are purchased. An ecommerce brand may use this to sell a phone with larger storage capacity (64GB instead of 32GB), a bigger pack of razors (three-month supply instead of one), or a slightly larger piece of carry-on luggage (20% extra room!). 

For the holiday season, entice customers to snag those upsells by promoting higher-value goods in your marketing campaigns. Just make sure you forecast the right amount of inventory so that no one sees the perfect gift on Instagram only to find that it’s already sold out when the get to checkout.  

Case Study:

Beauty products are very conducive to cross-selling and upselling. Read how Gloss Ventures’ used both to increase AOV 

Add Customization for Improved Customer Experience  

Everyone wants to get something extra special during the holidays. You can easily work with your fulfillment provider to add branded flair to your products and packaging. Add custom details to the packaging, the product itself, or include special add-ons like gift wrapping or a gift message in the packaging. Here are three examples that are perfect for the holidays:  

  1. Personalization – whether it’s a special-colored camera strap or a sticker on a cereal box, adding a personal touch can be simple to execute and an easy way to mark-up your product.   
  2. Gift wrapping – if your products lend themselves to being gifted during the holidays, offer to pre-wrap items for an extra cost. Customers will thank you for the time-saver.  
  3. Custom messages – everyone loves to send a note with their items; Amazon capitalized on this early, and it’s something consumers have come to expect.  

How to Implement Value-Added Service Projects for the Holidays 

Before you start telling your customers all about your holiday bundles, upsell packages, and custom options, you need to work with your fulfillment provider to test and implement these operationally.  

Not all fulfillment partners have the capabilities to execute these projects or execute them well. Be sure and ask—Have you done a project like this before? What was the accuracy rate? New fulfillment projects take time to build correctly.  

Create a long lead time when you’re starting a new project for the holidays. It’s a busy time of year for everyone and you want to make sure your customer satisfaction comes first. Iron out the details in the summer and send out tests in fall. And don’t wait until the last minute to streamline your returns management!  


If you are seeking a fulfillment provider who can execute customized solutions, reach out to DCL for a quote. We work with high-growth brands in all verticals and specialize in helping them bring their trendsetting ideas to market.