Valentine’s day is just around the corner. Lovers and relationship hopefuls will spend an estimated $18.9 billion (according to NRF) on gifts, dinners and more on the big day. With customers in love and ready to spend, here are 5 steps you can count to help you reach successful Valentine’s day sales.
1. Think Mobile
Mobile is fast becoming the preferred shopping channel in leading ecommerce markets like the UK and Germany. With 30% of customers saying they’ll abandon a mobile purchase if the site isn’t optimized, you would do well to make this a priority during peak sales periods like Valentine’s Day. Make sure your emails are adapted to mobile viewing, and that the transition from email to site to checkout is seamless. If your website isn’t mobile-responsive already, make that first on your list of things to do to get ready for the sales season.
2. Create an attractive offer
As with other sale periods, the challenge at Valentine’s Day is to come up with an offer that stands out from the crowd. Merchants who sell traditional Valentine’s Day goods like flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals and lingerie will be under exceptional pressure to catch the consumer eye. Discounts are an obvious option, but playing on price alone can be hit or miss. Consider offering limited edition items or custom product bundles that play on a sense of urgency and the current holiday theme.
Another option is to combine attractive sales with personalized marketing efforts. Valentine’s Day is stressful for some people, so offering an added value in the form of gift guides, curation, or even a vamped up live chat can be the detail that convinces customers to shop with you. Think about what problem or desire your products respond to, and then focus on getting that message to your customers via your blog, newsletter and email campaigns.
After you’ve come up with the perfect offer, make sure customers are aware of your sale. Here are a few suggestions:
- Pop Ups or Pop Ins
Pop-ups and pop-ins promote your sale to people who are already on your website. Because they take up your entire web page, they’re sure to capture shoppers’ attention-- but they can also be seen as disruptive. Be sure to place limitations on the number of times a shopper will receive the prompt so they don’t leave with a bad impression.
- Gift Guides
Gift guides are a versatile way to promote your products. They’re especially helpful for shoppers who are stymied for gift ideas, or who waited until the last minute. A well put-together gift guide directs shoppers with different needs to the perfect present. If you have a blog, use it to showcase your products to your readers. Consider putting together an advice-based post that gives customers added value in addition to presenting your product.
- Email Marketing
Email remains one of the most effective ways of getting your message out: you reach directly into your customer’s inbox for a chance to grab their attention and drive traffic to your website. Be sure you have a catchy subject line to reel them in, and that the transition from inbox to landing page goes off without a hitch. Depending on your promotion, you might also consider a multi-tiered email campaign that divides the focus between price-based offers and unique value adds that are likely to differentiate you from the competition. Think about how you can delight your customer this year, in addition to saving her money.
- Google Ads
This is potentially the most costly promotion tool in your marketing kit. Whether you manage your campaign directly with Google Adwords, or use a third-party service provider, you’ll have to pay to use this option. Around holiday sales, bids for keywords like “Valentine’s Day” and “Gifts” tend to be higher. However, the visibility you will gain has great earning potential for your website. You should evaluate your resources and allocate budget accordingly; Google Ads can be a great boost, but if you don’t have a compelling offer or give customers a reason to trust you, then no amount of traffic will help you reach your sales goals.
- Website banner displays
Just like popups and popins, website banners only promote your sale to people already shopping on your site. The advantage is that a banner is not as intrusive, and unlike popups and popins, customers can’t simply close and forget about them. (Here's how to change them with the default template). They’re a great place to use theme-specific images and highlight perks like free shipping and gift wrapping. Think about adding in a shipping cut off reminder as well. Everything you do to simplify the shopping experience gets you a step closer to a conversion.
- Social Media
Promoting your sale on social media is a great way to reach shoppers who are interested but haven’t made a purchase with you. It’s also a great opportunity for your ad to be shared among shoppers’ online friends. You might consider a social-only promotion or contest to drum up interest.
With a limited time to convert customers, it’s important to test your website and the offers that you’ve developed. Make sure the coupons and promotions you’re promoting actually work: it sounds obvious, but when you’re rushing to get things just right and in time, there’s always a possibility of a technical error slipping in. Don’t wait to find out on the day of the sale.
Besides testing your promotions, here are a few other tasks you should complete before you launch your sale:
- Test links from all your advertising
- Try placing an order (this is especially critical when you allow customers to customize products)
- Complete the order with each of your payment options. There is nothing worse than having a customer discard a purchase because they were unable to pay.
Valentine’s Day is a big one for last-minute orders, so it’s more important than ever to ensure quick and easy ordering.
Last, but certainly not least: schedule time for post-holiday sales analysis. Use this time to review your sales predictions and to see if the sales met or fell short of your target goals. Ask yourself questions like:
- What worked well this year?
- What can be improved?
- Which trends would we like to test for the next holiday sale?
- Which trends were surprising and warrant another look?
- Which ideas, if any, should we stop testing?
The conclusions you draw from your analysis will be important for making predictions for your next sales holiday. It's also important to analyze the products you have leftover and brainstorm another promotion to clear this year's Valentine's Day products.
Are you ready for Valentine's day 2016? Share any tips you’ve learned in the comments or come back and tell us how these steps helped you achieve your sales goal this year!