5 Ecommerce Strategies to Help You Win Valentine's Day

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Published on
February 6, 2019

You might not think of it as a big shopping day, but Valentine’s Day is the third largest US consumer holiday, with Americans projected to spend nearly $20 billion this year on candy, cards and gifts for those they love. But even if you don’t sell traditional Valentine’s Day products in your ecommerce store, you can still get a piece of Cupid’s holiday sales. Here’s how any ecommerce store can plan - and track the performance of - a successful Valentine’s Day strategy:

Adjust your spotlight

Depending on your business, your usual top-selling products might not make sense for Valentine’s Day. Take the time to go through your inventory and come up a list of the products that make sense to push for this specific holiday. Maybe there’s a common thread between them, or a way you can create fun bundles or gift guides to make shopping even easier for your customers (if you're a men's apparel store, think gift guides for partners or spouses). And if your Valentine's Day marketing draws new visitors to your site, don’t leave them to wander your virtual aisles without any guidance. Just like brick and mortar stores draw shoppers to certain products with endcaps or wisely placed display cases, you can keep the focus on the right products by placing them above the fold or by utilizing pop-ups and other design features to place them in the spotlight.

Customize content and distribute wisely

When it comes to holiday marketing, email is a great channel to utilize. For every dollar you invest in email marketing, you can expect to receive $38 in return. You can also take advantage of sponsored social media posts. With organic post reach declining, spending a portion of your marketing budget on sponsored Facebook or Instagram posts can help, as long as they’re targeted for the right audience. When it comes to the content itself, you can’t just send out your standard emails or create the same posts that you do throughout the rest of year. You’ll want to create unique content that’s focused on your readers and how your products can help them at this particular time. Get creative, but also be quick - the Valentine's Day shopping season is much shorter than other holiday periods. Customers will be bombarded with holiday ads from your competition as well, so don’t turn them off with overbearing ads.

Offer unique promotions and multiple price points

Because of holiday competition, you’ll probably feel the pressure to offer a promotional deal or two to keep buyers interested. And it's not a bad idea - depending on your industry, a discount or promotion can increase conversions by up to 500%. Offering a percentage off purchase, a buy-one-get-one deal or a code for a free gift at checkout are great options to consider. (You can easily track the performance of your coupons and discounts in Glew). Another smart step is to make sure you’re catering to a variety of budgets. Offering a few affordable options will keep visitors looking to spend on the lower end of the spectrum on your site, while offering add-ons and higher-value items to those with larger budgets will grow your sales and average order value. According to WalletHub’s 2018 Valentine’s Day Survey, about 45% of people expect their Valentine’s gift to cost around $50. If you offer gifts below, above and around this range, you’ll be able to cater to budgets of all sizes.

Make shipping fast and affordable

It’s getting harder for ecommerce stores to compete with the giants when it comes to shipping options. Consumers want their items faster than ever, and they expect this service to be free or as close as possible. In fact, over 60% of consumers consider canceling their order if free shipping isn’t an option. Valentine's Day - a holiday that comes with literally decades of jokes about last-minute gift purchases - makes this especially relevant. If you can’t offer free, fast shipping, provide several options for shoppers. For example, you could offer free ground shipping along with a paid option for faster delivery. If you decide to do this, make sure you get your marketing efforts out soon enough for shoppers to get their gifts shipped in time. (Learn how you can track shipping metrics in Glew).

Remember: it's not all about romance

Don’t assume that all your shoppers are looking for gifts for their significant others. 27% of single shoppers buy themselves a Valentine’s gift, while some are also shopping for family members, friends, children, or other loved ones. If you’re only offering romantic gifts, you could be excluding a large percentage of the marketplace. Consider which of your products could be marketed for self-care, for Galentine's Day, for a fun Valentine's Day gift or project for kids, or any other group you can think of. You might find that your products work surprisingly well for a niche market for Valentine's Day.

Measure your performance

Increased sales over Valentine's Day don't mean much if you can't track them. Use an analytics tool like Glew to see if you performed better over Valentine's Day than a normal comparable period - or if you improved over the previous Valentine's Day. Here are a few things to track - all easily accessible with Glew's performance reporting, product analytics, customer analytics and automated reports: Performance KPIs: This is obvious, but look at your core performance KPIs - website traffic, orders, revenue, gross profit and conversion rate - over the Valentine's Day shopping period. Was your performance better, worse, or about the same as an average period? Performance by channel: Look at your marketing channels. What drove the most and highest-value orders for you over this holiday - paid search, paid social, email, affiliates? That can help inform your strategy for future holidays and special events.

Revenue by channel in Glew.[/caption] Average order value: What was your average order value over this period? Was it higher, lower or about the same as usual? If you were able to make some incremental gains in average order value, what did you do differently - and how can you keep it up?

Average order value in Glew.[/caption] Discount performance: Did you offer special Valentine's Day coupons or discounts? Check out how they performed. What was your coupon attachment rate? How much revenue did you drive from orders with coupons? How much did you offer in discounts, total? What was the margin on your discounted orders? This can help you figure out if discounts are a profitable holiday strategy for your store. Top-selling products: Look at product segments to determine your top-selling products for Valentine's Day, including high volume products and hot products, both automatically available in Glew. What do they tell you about your products and your Valentine's Day relevance?

High-volume products segment in Glew.

Hot products segment in Glew.[/caption] Most-bundled products: Most-bundled products is another product segment available in Glew. Look at this for the Valentine's Day period - are there items there that you wouldn't expect? Maybe this information can help you develop a a gifting strategy. Customer demographics: Who purchased from you over Valentine's Day? Was it the same as or different from your usual customer base? If you gained new customers over Valentine's Day, consider how you can turn them into repeat customers - even if they were only buying gifts. Even if you don’t consider your products to be traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, there’s still room for you in the marketplace. If you choose the right products, price accordingly, and market appropriately, you can still see Valentine’s Day conversions. And with Glew, you can measure your performance to determine if your Valentine’s Day marketing strategy was as successful as it could have been - and then determine how you can improve for the next big selling opportunity. Interested? Learn more about our options for ecommerce analytics and business intelligence.

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