7 Ways Brands Should be Cashing in on Valentine's Day
It’s that time of year again. The local drugstore is filled with heart-shaped boxes and inboxes everywhere are full of special offers for roses and chocolates. Gone are the days when florists, chocolatiers and jewelers held a monopoly on Feb. 14. Tech companies, discount sites, clothing retailers … you name it, they're cashing in on Valentine's Day too — and they're doing it well.
Apple is promoting the iPad 2.0 as "A Valentine they'll open every day." Urban Outfitters has curated its own Valentine's Day Shop, while Groupon made its email background pink in order to promote discounts on everything from adult accessories to singles-only Valentine's Day mixers.
But before brands come up with clever emails and identify the best Valentine's Day products, what are they doing to prepare themselves for the masses? They’re tending to their e-commerce sites, of course. It’s not too late for you to do the same. A well-optimized site is the path to a loving, loyal and long-term relationship with customers. Promotions and sweet deals might drive people to your website, but why settle for an unsatisfying fling when you could have a real relationship. What does it take to make your website a keeper?
1. Holiday-focused daily specials. As with any holiday, expect Valentine’s Day to bring in new traffic and prospects. In anticipation of that, you’ll want to ensure that all your visitors — new and returning — are able to easily see that you're in the romantic spirit by featuring Valentine-specific promotions. Daily specials with targeted offers and content should speak to holiday needs, appealing to not just the customers you already know, but to a wider audience that might be visiting your site for the first time.
2. Guaranteed deliveries. Let’s face it, you can’t expect all your customers to be planners. Valentine’s Day is a prime holiday for last-minute and panicked shopping. Your customers should be reassured that their special someone won’t be left empty-handed. Prominently display guarantees of delivery by Feb. 14 before and during the checkout process. This will reassure customers they're OK trusting your site with such an important purchase.
3. Custom fulfillment. With more customers shifting from brick-and-mortar to online shopping (especially last minute), it’s important, especially in the floral business, to let your customers know who will actually be responsible for their bouquets. During the purchase phase, let customers know that “local florists from XYZ Florist will design and deliver your bouquet.” Doing so not only offers the reassurance of in-person fulfillment, but customers will know they have a local point of service and that their delivery is coming from nearby.
4. Delivery discounts. For customers who have the foresight to plan ahead, test out promotions of reduced or free delivery as an added benefit to draw shoppers away from competitors. Free shipping is also a good way to save shoppers from nasty surprises. After all, no one’s happy to discover that a long-searched-for bargain on a coveted heart-shape pendant is offset by surprise shipping and handling fees.
5. Place testimonials on key landing pages. Product reviews are especially important. With gifts, consumers want to know they're getting what they want and the quality they want for their loved ones. Testimonials from other buyers will help nudge would-be cupids toward a purchase.
6. Merchandising approaches (best-seller, highest rated). One advantage of online retailing is the ability to adapt content and promotions to each visitor according to their known preferences and behavior. With targeted product recommendations based on aggregated merchandising data, you can help visitors through the challenge of picking the perfect gift. Even simple recommendations based on popularity in sales or rankings can reassure and guide customers in their purchases.
7. Upsell for additional purchases. Valentine’s Day might be for lovers, but don’t forget about other loved ones. When you add relevant messaging and promotions for flowers for mom or candy for a friend, customers with parents or siblings feel like you're personalizing the experience for them while increasing your average order value.
There’s a lot to love about making the most of your e-commerce site for Valentine’s Day, but a well-optimized site shouldn’t be a one-time fling. It should be at the heart of a long-term commitment to a great online shopping experience and lifelong relationships with your customers.