You thought the holidays were over? Don’t look now, but Valentine’s Day is less than a month away.
Last year, Valentine’s Day sales reached a record $18.9 billion – with one in four Americans buying their gifts online. Buying patterns vary widely depending on the demographics of your audience. In 2015, 25- to 34-year-olds planned to spend an average of $213 on Valentine’s Day – which is three times the $77 adults 65 and older planned to spend. Those 18 to 24 planned to spend an average of $169.
With some careful planning, no matter what your audience demographics, your eCommerce business can share in the love and reap a piece of that holiday largesse.
Here are 10 tips to help you make the most of this celebration of love.
- Adapt your website to a holiday theme, but keep it simple. Create a holiday-themed banner that links to a particular set of Valentine’s Day products. You can get free graphics to promote your offers and discounts from eCommerce software provider Volusion. Be careful, though: Be sure your imagery and colors stay true to your brand.
- Send an email newsletter – segmented by gender — reminding customers that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Follow up by using your blog to share gift ideas for the holiday.
- Have a sale, or offer Valentine’s Day coupons. A 25 percent discount will prompt people to buy now. You might even create a midnight flash sale with big discounts. Bundle several products and even clear out unneeded inventory.
- Create a Valentine’s Day competition. Have couples send in Valentine’s Day-themed photos (maybe shots of them kissing) for a chance to win a prize, or enter anyone who makes a purchase in a sweepstakes for a romantic getaway. You could even offer a discount to all participants. Use social media sites to prime your customers. Offer a giveaway to people who “like” your posts, and ask them to share their Valentine’s Day stories – particularly stories that showcase your products or services. Don’t forget to include hashtags for your content.
- Put together customer gift guides – one for him, and one for her. Categorize the gifts by price, so customers can easily find the ones that meet their budget. Also, train your customer representatives to suggest gift ideas to your customers. Give them tips on how to upsell, as well.
- Guarantee your shipping to reach customers before the holiday – and make sure you promote it everywhere, including during the checkout process. Can you provide last-minute deliveries for procrastinators? If not, publicize the last day you can ship so customers know what to expect.
- Offer free gift-wrapping – customers will appreciate the opportunity to save time and money, rather than do it themselves.
- Create a pop-up overlay that collects email addresses in return for a discount. A pop-up can increase opt-ins more than 400 percent over an in-line form, according to international research and training group eConsultancy.
- Include detailed return information with your gift receipts. Customers will love you for making the return process easy to navigate. And make your return policy easy to find on your website.
- Keep the love flowing. Why limit the expression of love to Valentine’s Day? Run a post-Valentine’s Day promotion. You can make the offer to all of your customers – or limit it to customers who didn’t buy for Valentine’s Day.
Even if your product or service doesn’t readily fit the Valentine’s Day theme, get into the spirit of the holiday. Pick a product you want to promote. Engage with customers on social media and otherwise. It’s all about building relationships with your customers. That way, even if they don’t buy today, they’ll be back tomorrow.