Get Ready for Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s day is just under a month a way, and no doubt you’ll want your ecommerce site to feel the love of consumers everywhere. Make no mistake, Valentine’s Day is a shopping bonanza: according to the National Retailers Federation, consumers spent $19.6 billion in 2018, up from $18.2 billion in 2017.
What’s more, over half of the US population celebrates Valentine’s Day, spending an average of $143.56 per person, although men are the big spenders, with average outlays of $196.39.
Here are some tips to help you ensure success this Valentine’s Day:
Blow Your Monthly Paid Search Budget
Most retailers have monthly paid search budgets they’ve carefully calculated using a variety of KPIs. Come Valentine’s Day, it may be time to blow your budget and spend more. Consider this: over half of the country’s population will be Googling for gift ideas, which means competition for gift buyers will be high, so you will need to up your bids. No doubt about it, your cost-of-acquisition for new customers will be much higher in the lead up to the holiday. But the extra costs just may pay phenomenal dividends.
Gifting holidays are interesting phenomenons in that when you spend to acquire one new customer, you have the potential to gain up to three new consumers to your brand. Let’s say a guy opts to give his sweetheart cupcakes from Baked by Melissa, which she receives and finds absolutely delicious. And let’s say those treats came in a pretty box with nice packaging, which added to the overall greatness of experience for her. When it comes time for her to send a gift, say for Mother’s or Father’s Day, she will remember that experience and is more likely to buy from Baked By Melissa. And if her mother or father have a similar experience, the cycle will begin anew.
Gift giving can have a halo effect that more than justifies the extra costs you’ll incur for paid search. In fact, you just might find that the aggregate cost-per-acquisition is substantially lower.
Put Your Ducks in Order
Many Valentine’s Day gifts are food oriented, and you’ll need to ensure you’re set up to handle the unique shipping and transit challenges that come with perishable items (the topic of a previous blog post).
Gift messaging is also important. Senders typically want to surprise their recipients, so you will need the functionality that allows them to include a personalized note as to who it’s from. Some online retailers allow their customers to choose their own cards as well as enter custom messages.
Allowing gift givers to send to multiple addresses in a single order is a great way to increase AOV, as well as build your customer ranks. Let’s say our guy who visits Baked by Melissa to send his girlfriend cupcakes decides to send his mom some while he’s at it. Now Baked by Melissa has doubled is sales order, and has the opportunity to gain six new customers!
Incentivize for the Next Holiday
To really get the most bang for your paid search buck, consider incentivizing a repurchase for the next upcoming holiday: Mother’s Day. According the the National Retailers Federation, consumers spent nearly $20 billion on mom in 2018, or about $169 per person. By offering both the gift giver and gift recipient an incentive to buy mom a gift from you, you will both stretch your paid search investments further and build your pipeline.
There are many ways to incentivize for the next holiday, such as including a one-time-only discount in the gift box.
Self-gifting is a noted trend during the holiday season (up to 60% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers purchase items for themselves). Valentine’s Day has a smaller, but still significant trend. Nearly 15% of shoppers will buy something for themselves on Valentine’s Day, and there is no shortage of listicles, from Cosmopolitan to Huff Posts, with suggestions for gifts to buy oneself.
You can launch some enticing promotions with Buy One for Her/Him and Treat Yourself themes (of course, these promotions require multi-address shipping capabilities). People are more willing to spend more on a gift when they themselves get something out of it. Footwear brands use this promotion frequently. In a typical scenario, the brand will offer a time-based coupon for the gift giver. It’s an interesting strategy to continue the relationship with the gift giver, so it’s not just a one-and-done deal.
Encourage Email Sign-Ups
People have a tendency to return to a retail site following the same path that led them there in the first place. If a customer found you via Google, there’s a pretty good chance he or she will Google you again when it’s time to purchase another gift. But why pay those CPMs twice?
At the time gift givers purchase from you, make every attempt to encourage them to register for your email newsletter so that you can reach out to them for free (and proactively!) next time around. The newsletter doesn’t need to focus solely on sales; include stories of the products or the history of the holidays. Ask your purchasers for feedback, or to take a survey on products they’d like to see in the future.
By implementing these suggestions, you can both find new customers and increase AOV. Who can ask for better Valentine’s Day gifts?
Written by: Phillip Jackson, Ecommerce Evangelist