Just when the stretch between New Year’s Day and President’s Weekend seems like it will never end, Valentine’s Day comes along to perk up the mood, give people something to warm their hearts…and provide a welcome boost to ecommerce merchants.
The National Retail Federation (NAR) reports that over half of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day, spending upwards of $27 billion on gifts, treats and décor for everyone in their lives, from significant others to pets:
In 2021, however, Valentine’s Day may have to adapt to our socially distanced reality. Romantic dinners out or any other experience-based expenditures will likely be off the table for many couples. With this extra money in their pockets – and nowhere to go – it’s very possible that couples will instead choose to bring Valentine’s Day to them, with flowers, décor, gifts, champagne, and sweet treats. And with in-store shopping also out of question for many people, and the need for convenience, that means opportunity for ecommerce.
4 Ways to Boost Sales with Better Valentine’s Day Marketing
In an article for the Society of American Florists, one shop owner says. “We see Valentine’s Day 2021 as an opportunity to expand the holiday throughout the week.” Think about it: Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t simply holidays – they’re seasons. Ecommerce merchants can market to customers in a way that turns Valentine’s Day into Valentine’s Week … or more.
Here are four tips on preparing your site, offering, and logistics to benefit from Valentine’s Day—even one that’s celebrated at arm’s length.
1. Set the Mood
Reflecting the upcoming holiday with changes to the look and feel of your ecommerce site will welcome the Valentine’s-minded and remind those likely to be last-minute shoppers. You don’t have to completely change your theme, for this or any other holiday, but here are a few ideas on how to capture the Valentine’s shopper’s attention in a festive way:
- Themed welcome pop-up boxes showcasing a promotion, discount, coupon, etc. are unmissable and can direct the shopper to a custom offering.
- If your homepage has sliding banners, dedicate one slide to the holiday.
- The navigation bar is a persistent element so adding a new pick, in an eye-catching color, will make it available on every page of your site.
2. Pick Out Something Special for Everyone
Couples get most of the attention for Valentine’s shopping, but NAR makes it clear that people share the love with everyone in their circle.
For instance, Leslie Knope of the Parks & Recreation TV program popularized the idea of Galentine’s Day, a celebration of female friends. And classrooms always make a big deal of decorating and sharing cards and treats. During this time of enforced separation, people may be even more enthusiastic about translating their affection into something material.
Shoppers aren’t just sharing the love with their circle; they’re sharing the wealth among merchants. For 2020, NAR estimated that shoppers planned to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry (given by 21%), $4.3 billion on an evening out (34%), $2.9 billion on clothing (20%), $2.4 billion on candy (52%), $2.3 billion on flowers (37%), $2 billion on gift cards (19%) and $1.3 billion on greeting cards (43%). Gifts of experience such as tickets to an event or a trip to a spa are wanted by 41 percent and planned by 28% of people.
The lesson from this? Make it really easy for shoppers to find what they’re looking for.
Gift guides are an excellent way to steer shoppers directly toward the exact items they’re looking for, saving them time and frustration while also presenting them with a wealth of tempting options; they may even decide to pick up a little something for themselves while they’re there.
Another great way to make shopping super-easy?
Create Valentine’s-themed product bundles. IntelligenceNode agrees:
“Bundle pricing will guarantee a speedier delivery, compared to the normal time it would take for the number of items included in the order. Since everything is already packaged together, less time is taken to retrieve all of the items separately and package them accordingly.”
Bundling often results in repeat purchases of at least one of the items included in the bundle, and when the bundle comes from an ecommerce site, it’s easy for the gift recipient to make a reorder of items they liked.
3. Work on Your “Relationship…ments”
While many shoppers wait until February to make Valentine’s purchases, this year may be different. There may be less hand-delivering of gifts or treats to family members, prompting shoppers to get items bought – and shipped – early.
In 2018, almost 50% of Valentine’s Day shoppers said that they would shop early for gifts and complete their purchases during the first two weeks of February. The smart play is to have your site holiday ready weeks in advance and to prominently display delivery times. Highlighting delivery windows can trigger a higher feeling of urgency.
Also, consider offering free shipping for Valentine’s items. First, it can be seen as a gift to the shopper that increases positive feelings about your site and brand. Second, it can seriously boost sales:
- Red Door found that adding a free shipping threshold to NuFACE increased orders by 90%
- 2 Big Feet did a similar experiment on their own and increased orders by 50%
- Comscore found that Free Shipping Day increased sales by 16%
Offering free shipping on all orders year-round requires a little more consideration to ensure it will make your profitable in the long run. If free shipping for everything feels like too much of a financial hit, a free shipping threshold (on orders over $50, for example), may be a more viable option.
4. Be a Lover, Not a Fighter
Valentine’s Day is an increasingly exciting opportunity for ecommerce merchants – but with the increase in traffic often comes an increase in fraud. Merchants may be tempted to respond by implementing strict automated fraud filters.
However, much like exceedingly fussy online daters might swipe left on what could be the Valentine’s Day date of their dreams, overly strict fraud filters might inadvertently weed out excellent customers. And even the most carefully crafted customer experience may not be enough to salvage the relationship: A ClearSale/Sapio Research study found that 33% of U.S. online shoppers wouldn’t do business again with a merchant that declines their order. And a quarter would make their displeasure with your brand known on social media where it can scare away even more potential customers.
To make sure your customers keep feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, make sure your fraud prevention pairs up-to-the-minute machine learning with the deductive expertise of human fraud analysts. This type of expert review can spot false declines before they cause a break-up between you and your potential customer.
Get more tips from ClearSale and BigCommerce leaders in our recorded webinar: ‘Tis the Season for Fraud: How ecommerce merchants can balance fraud prevention and customer experience this holiday shopping season.