Think Beyond Red Roses and Cater to Procrastinating Valentines
February is here and that means Cupid is on everyone’s mind. Unlike other holidays for which consumers shop months in advance, the sudden two-week period leading up to Valentine’s Day causes a gift and flower frenzy. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Valentine’s Day is the fourth largest spending holiday, following winter holidays, back to school and Mother’s Day, with $18.9 billion spent in 2015.
To win over consumer hearts this year, smart retailers are carefully reviewing last year’s last-minute trends and thinking beyond red roses.
Roses Are [Not] Red
In 2015, SLI Systems studied global site search activity across top gourmet gifts, jewelry and floral retail websites, analyzing more than 200,000 consumer searches taking place at the beginning of February. SLI uncovered that the flower category saw the expected popularity of roses; however, a surprising finding was that among the top five rose colors, searches for "red" received less than 50 percent interest.
The most traditionally romantic color red was tops with 47 percent popularity, followed by pink (19 percent), white (16 percent), yellow (12 percent) and blue (6 percent). This Valentine’s Day, keep in mind that the popularity of other colors signals a broader range of recipients and meaning (e.g., yellow represents friendship). According to the NRF, nearly 60 percent of people plan to give gifts to other family members (children, parents, etc), and 22 percent to friends.
Lovers Long for Tech
It turns out nothing says “I love you” like a new tech gadget, as smartphones top more than just winter holiday wish lists. An eBates survey last year found that almost 40 percent of consumers want a smartphone for Valentine’s Day, outshining traditional chocolates (33 percent) and flowers (27 percent). Among other top tech gifts people desire on Valentine’s Day are laptops (19 percent), tablets (16 percent) and fitness trackers (10 percent).
Procrastination is Hot
As mentioned earlier, Valentine’s Day is the procrastinator’s holiday with a huge spike in Valentine’s Day-related keyword searches between Feb. 1 and Feb 14. With this comes a rush of on-the-go, get-it-done mobile shopping. According to Bing, 26 percent of consumers plan to use their smartphones to research products, and 14 percent to purchase products on Valentine’s Day. It’s more important than ever before to be mobile friendly leading up to Valentine’s Day. Here are five tips to make sure procrastinating Valentines find what they’re looking for:
1. Center your search box. A great search function is critical for mobile shoppers. Keep your search box front and center on every page of your mobile site.
2. Autocomplete their sentences. Use an autocomplete feature so users only have to type in a few letters to find the search term they want. Include graphics to make their search even easier.
3. Give shoppers what they want. With smaller screens, your mobile Valentines need to see what they want in the first three to five results — or they’ll bounce. Make sure your search results are always accurate and relevant.
4. Refine your refinements. Use large, tap-friendly dropdowns that list only the most popular refinements so shoppers can easily narrow results down to the perfect product. Consider color, brand and price for your refinements.
5. Always show results. When you don’t have the item a shopper searches for, admit it, but don’t just serve up an apology. Use the screen space to recommend similar products, and you might still capture a sale.
Valentine’s Day shopping is accelerating with just under a week left, therefore it’s imperative that retailers take a close look at prior years and think outside the "chocolate box" to clinch 11th hour sales this year.
Tim Callan is the chief marketing officer of SLI Systems, a provider of cloud-based search tools for online retailers.
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