The Best Seasonal Business Ideas for Online Sellers

International seasonal e-commerce is easier than you think and offers huge growth opportunities. Learn how to take advantage of seasonal growth at home or abroad.

23 May 2023 Jason Kaye

4 min

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Data from the ONS shows that e-commerce revenues peak two or three times a year. If you’re looking to increase your business’s revenue to take advantage of seasonal trends, you’ll need to create a carefully considered strategy.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the best seasonal business ideas for small business owners, and help you discover your business’s potential in untapped seasonal markets abroad. We’ll begin with tips to extend your trading period to experiment with new seasonal goods, and then we’ll compare seasonal growth domestically versus internationally. 

  • Best seasonal business ideas: tips and tricks for success
  • The importance of international seasonal e-commerce
  • How to overcome international borders with Zyla

Best seasonal business ideas: tips and tricks for success

Pick a string of events to focus on

If you’re just starting with seasonal business opportunities, it’s best to pick one or two events so you can find your feet. Once you get the hang of those, you can incorporate other seasonal ideas — some of them international.

If you’re already a seasonal business looking to extend your trading period, adding another event before or after your main one can help you understand your logistical demand. You’ll know how much preparation time you need for your main event across the weeks leading up to it, and can fit in business development for your new event around it.

Finally, if you’re a business looking to diversify your revenue, you may find that seasonal demand differs from your existing business model. Weeks — sometimes months — of work culminate in a small window of time, and customer interests change as soon as the season finishes. 

Maximizing your opportunity to meet the demand as and when it exists while minimizing excess stock is vitally important. Make sure you do your market research, so you’re ready.

Start early

Even if your seasonal business idea is a relatively small e-commerce occasion (like Mother’s Day or Thanksgiving), it still needs considerable preparation. Your itemized strategy will need to cover a range of tasks: creating product listings, generating promotional codes, crafting deals, marketing, shipping logistics, and more.

If you’re branching out into a market with a language barrier or new cultural norms to learn, earlier preparation time is even more crucial.

Capitalize on the perceived importance and build hype

Seasonal celebrations are just as meaningful to individuals as they are to businesses. Per Retail Dive, online shoppers spent a record-breaking $211.7 billion between November 1 and December 31, 2022. Here we can see spending and sales intensifying, thanks to calendar dates such as Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the lead-up to Christmas. 

Furthermore, this rampant spending appears to be unimpeded by the actual financial security of certain shoppers. LendingTree reports that, despite rampant inflation and rising interest rates, 35% of American shoppers took on debt as a result of overspending during the 2022 holiday season.

Offering deals to incentivise early purchases helps consumers looking to spread the cost. You might gain repeat business via word-of-mouth marketing as it gets closer to the big day, and if so, your cash flow could improve.

Show your customers that you understand the importance of holidays if you want to stand out from your competitors and truly connect with your audience. By incorporating this understanding into your marketing strategy, you can break through the noise and create a more meaningful and authentic relationship with your customers.

Repurpose existing stock

Seasonal trends are a good way for businesses to discard excess stock and recoup potential losses. Although it doesn’t work for every product category, repackaging (or simply remarketing) the stock you have at hand can be an easy seasonal business idea. 

Because you’re familiar with existing products, it only takes a little market research and (at most) a few tweaks to your packaging design for it to sell in new markets. Products with limited shelf lives — for example, crimson red items seen at Christmas — can be turned into scarlet Valentine’s Day products.

‘Limited edition’ as a seasonal business idea

If you’re confident in your ability to adapt to new seasonal demands, create a “limited edition” version of your product.

Unlike reusing excess stock to avoid wasted capital, businesses can take more care when creating limited product editions and meet consumers’ tastes for that year (whether this comes as particular flavor profiles or color and design trends). The result is a novel and (seasonally) scarce product that interests consumers.

A great example of how a business can embrace a key calendar date and connect with a wider community is Oreo‘s partnership with the LGBTQ+ advocacy group PFLAG National. In celebration of Pride month, the cookie manufacturer created a stunning range of rainbow-decorated cookies, accompanied by relevant materials and even a sponsored short film on their website.

The importance of international seasonal e-commerce

Did you know that, according to, e-commerce in the United States accounted for a mere 19% of all sales in 2022? Granted, that adds up to approximately $843 billion, but the fact remains that e-commerce markets are more established in some international markets, and offer huge opportunities for small businesses wanting to expand and capture new customers. 

For example, reports that China alone accounts for more than half of total e-commerce sales, or over $2.78 trillion, in 2023. It also boasts an annual growth rate of 21%, China is also one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in the world. This makes it appealing to any e-commerce merchant wanting to leverage foreign consumers.

With global e-commerce revenues predicted to grow as the world recovers from the pandemic, international and seasonal e-commerce is the perfect business idea for small companies looking to expand

How to overcome international borders with Zyla

Transitioning into new markets can be tough, but Zyla makes managing multiple currencies easy. With a Zyla Account, you can open multiple local currency accounts for free, making it easier to pay partners, suppliers and staff. So, whether you’re buying products from overseas or organizing shipping, the Zyla Account’s got you covered. Open an account today and you could be approved, set up and trading internationally in 24 hours. Get started or find out more by calling (855) 797-3366 today.