8 Challenges to Financing Your Holiday Product Launches and How to Overcome Them

We've mapped out the top challenges brands face when financing limited-edition holiday products and ways to overcome them that allow you to to save time and money.

image depicting holiday marketing strategy for limited-edition products

When it comes to holiday marketing, brands need to plan ahead and take into account the different seasonal changes for both consumers and grocery buyers. Bringing Limited Time Offers (LTOs) to market is even harder when Cost of Goods (COGs) have gone up and you want to reserve your runway for revenue-generating products.

However, with the right strategies, it’s possible to create successful limited-edition products that can boost brand awareness and increase sales. In this post, we’ll explore some tips on financing limited-edition holiday products that save time and money in the process.

Buyer insights were provided by SnackMagic. Reach out to their team to learn more about their global gifting marketplace, sampling opportunities and data analytics platform for emerging brands.

When considering holiday planning, you first need to consider the occasion you’re targeting.

Here are some of the biggest U.S marketing holidays for brands and some highlights for each:

You can download a full calendar list here

January 1st | New Year’s Day

Brands can capitalize on New Year’s Resolutions. Big moment for vitamins, protein powders, sleep supplements, athleisure/athletic wear and in-home workout equipment.

February 12th | Superbowl

Snacks, sweets, sharable food products, and canned drinks and alcohol.

February 14th | Valentine's Day

Romantic gifts like chocolate, wine, ingredients for a home-cooked dinner, and intimate wellness.

March 14th | March Madness

Snacks, sweets, sharable food products, canned drinks and alcohol.

April 1st | April Fool’s Day

Funny fake product mockups to engage your audience, no need to make physical goods here.

April 9th | Easter

Limited edition candy or candy-themed snacks and beverages.

May 14th | Mother's Day

Thoughtful gifts like flowers, chocolates, skincare, and home goods.

May 29th | Memorial Day

Sales, promotional deals, outdoor activity essentials, and patriotic themes.

June 18th | Father's Day

Practical gifts like accessories, grilling, skincare, and home goods.

July 4th | Independence Day

Outdoor activities, patriotic themes, summer essentials, and barbecue condiments and cooking gear like BBQs, utensils, and aprons.

July Season | Summer

All of the above, and ice cream, camping/hiking-friendly food, and outdoor adventure products. Keep in mind that meltable products like chocolate and ice cream won’t ship from online marketplaces in the summer, so make sure you have a sales strategy in retail or your site.

August Season | Summer

End-of-season sales, back-to-school essentials and lunchbox-friendly snacks, and last-minute travel products.

September 4th | Labor Day

Sales, promotional deals, outdoor activity essentials, and patriotic themes.

October 31st | Halloween

This spooky holiday is a time for fun and creativity. Brands can create campaigns that tap into the Halloween spirit by offering themed products or promotions, like adding a spooky or glow-in-the-dark element to packaging or collaborating on an event.

Pumpkin Spice products launch on shelves: Coffee, tea, backed goods, candy, and even scented candles and trash bags.

October Season | Flu Season

Immunity, natural allergy solutions, supplements, vitamins, and immune-boosting products.

November 23rd | Thanksgiving

Comfort food-themed foods like mashed potatoes and gravy, cooking supplies, and seasonal flavors like pumpkin, apple, and cranberry make their way into condiments, snacks, and drinks for sharing with friends and family.

November 24th| Black Friday/November 27th | Cyber Monday

A time for discounts, promotional deals, bulk buys, and special offers for consumers looking for deals on gifts for themselves and people on their holiday gifting list.

December 7th | First Day of Hanukkah/December 25th | Christmas

Holiday-themed gifts, decorations, foods, and special promotions. Peppermint takes Pumpkin’s crown this month as the IT flavor in candy, cakes and beverages.

Efficient Ways to spend time/money on holiday campaigns

(least to most expensive)

  1. Use social platforms and newsletters to promote your brand. You can create engaging visuals that showcase your products in a festive light and promote them to your followers on socials and your newsletter by using free programs like Canva or by hiring a freelancer.
  2. Collaborate on a giveaway or event with other brands. Partnering with brands that cater to similar audiences can help you reach new customers and save money on a campaign together.
  3. Customize your packaging to promote the holiday. Adding seasonal elements to your packaging can make your products stand out on shelves without breaking the bank.
  4. Customize a flavor with similar packaging to the original flavors. Creating limited-edition flavors that cater to the holiday can entice customers to try your product and create a sense of urgency around them.
  5. Offer gift sets. Create curated sets if you have multiple products or join forces with another brand with a similar target market to create a unique offering.
  6. Customize both the flavor and the packaging. This is a more expensive option but can help you create a unique and memorable limited edition product that can boost sales within that holiday window.

However, launching a limited edition product can sometimes come with challenges such as limited time, budget, constraints, expensive ingredients, custom packaging, uncertain demand and unexpected setbacks. Here are some tips on how to overcome these challenges.

Challenges & how to overcome them

Limited time

Collaborate with one or more brands on a campaign to divide the workload and maximize exposure.

Limited budget

Split the budget with one or more brands to reduce costs and increase the reach of a campaign.

If you need some extra boost, contact Ampla to learn how we can help you finance your upcoming limited edition products.

Ingredients are too expensive/hard to meet Minimum Order Quantity (MOQs)

Ask other brands if they have extra of that flavor or partner with another brand to bring their flavor to your product.

Custom packaging is too expensive

Use your core packaging with a new design or element to make it more festive.

Unsure if it will sell

Get feedback from your broker and buyers ahead of time, pre-sell the product, and create a detailed marketing timeline including any PR, trade promotions, and partnerships to give your product the best chance of selling through your inventory.

Merchandise on sites like Faire and Pod Foods so gift shops and mini markets can find your seasonal products.

Getting the right timing down

Buyers won’t want to stock up on a Halloween flavor in the Spring, so it’s crucial to sell through during the quarter your custom product launches in.

Online marketplaces can buy your products wholesale within weeks of the holiday, but for brick & mortar retailers, start pitching them 4-8 months in advance to have time to get on their calendars for calls and give them enough time to confirm your seasonal product in their planograms and budget. Every retailer works on a slightly different timeframe and turnaround, so ask your founder friends and brokers for timing advice too.

The product didn’t sell

If you end up having extra inventory, consider selling it to discount retailers like Martie or Grocery Outletto at least break even, or donate to a local food bank, church or non-profit.

Unexpected challenges

If you encounter unexpected challenges like taste issues or late deliveries, be flexible and find ways to adapt or pivot your strategy to minimize the impact of your campaign. See if you can salvage the product for use in another limited edition with different packaging, or launch it a few weeks later as a limited edition with another brand.

Amrit Richmond

Amrit Richmond co-organizes the Indie CPG community and helps clients understand the future of consumer goods via Supermercato Insights. Previously, Amrit worked in advertising, media, technology, and with multiple VC funds on the post-investment side of the table supporting founders with marketing, partnerships, growth, and fundraising.

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