You are heads-down preparing for Valentine’s Day, the next important revenue opportunity on the annual shopping-for-others calendar. Data collected during November and December from holiday shopping journeys across floral, chocolates, apparel, electronics, intimates, fine tableware, luggage, and high-performance sports gear reveal insights into gift shopping behavior that should inform your four Ps: product, price, place and promotion. An infographic accompanies the below findings.
1. Promotion: Gift Shopping Hours Have Changed
Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. were the busiest gift-shopping hours during the two weeks leading up to Christmas week. Gift shopping has become a workplace and post-relaxation, end-of weekend phenomenon in the age of online — happy employees, understanding (or unaware) employers, and post-family weekend shopping.
Takeaway No. 1: Review your email and social marketing schedule.
2. Product: What (Most) Recipients Truly Want
Gift recipients prefer neutral and earthy colors such as black, brown, navy blue or rose gold that go with the rest of her wardrobe and can be utilized at work and elsewhere. The most frequently exchanged colors underlying the data were yellows and fuchsia. Ruby red and tints of pink — colors associated with Valentine’s Day — make for enticing email campaigns and digital Valentine Day gift guides, but the recipient will likely return her gift leaving you with a return, a deflated gift shopper, an inconvenienced gift recipient and an unhappy couple.
Takeaway No. 2: Design your emails and gift guides in V-Day spirit, but advertise products to gift shoppers with a high utility value for confident and happy repeat customers and delighted recipients.
3. Price: Advertise V-Day Products Around Your AUR
Love and romance shoppers spend. This is an important finding to understand for optimal occasion-based pricing. The data shows that love and romance gifts are in line with your average unit revenue (AUR), and purchase decisions don’t appear to be impacted by the absence of deals or discounts. Men spend nearly twice as much as women on Valentine Day gifts.
Takeaway No. 3: Unless deals or discounts are an essential and therefore expected component of your business proposition, there doesn’t appears to be a need for special Valentine’s Day deals. You may also want to consider gender-based product-pricing strategies in your gift guides, as well as in email and social advertising.
4. Place: Gift Shopping Continues Post Shipping Cut-Off Date, and the Rising Significance of SMS
SMS is an important last-minute commerce enabler. Holiday gift shopping extended to Dec. 26 for brands and retailers that enabled online shoppers to send gifts by digital channels such as SMS, email or messenger post shipping cut-off date. The digital service offered by those brands had its strongest day on Dec. 23, and shopping on Dec. 26 continued at the same rate as on Dec. 22 as consumers reciprocated with easy-to-deliver return gifts or leveled the difference between what they gave and received with a top-up gift. Product gifting via SMS increased by 64.8 percent between Dec. 22 and Dec. 26 compared to Black Friday to Dec. 21. Gifts sent via SMS were accepted by their recipients 7.3 times faster from the time they were sent than gifts sent via email. SMS communication is tied to closer relationships, which translates into higher spend. Items shared via SMS had an 8.9 percent higher average unit value than items shared via email.
Takeaway No. 4: A digital instant and smart gift shopping experience provides value to your customers and extends the time you can serve your customer all the way to the last minute.
5. Finally: Don’t Throw Gift Cards Into the V-Day Mix
Unappreciated recipients, unintended bad brand reflection, and lower average order value. Seventy-seven percent of female shoppers put meaning into the gifts they give and tend to be more concerned than men about receiving gifts with emotional significance. “You are so thoughtful” and “This was so thoughtful” are two of the most common phrases used by happy gift recipients. Emails and gift guides can help convert shoppers on their sometimes difficult buying-for-others journey, and so do services that let recipients pick their preferred color or style before the item ships. In fact, 23 percent of gift recipients changed their item preferences or exchanged the item altogether before it shipped when given that option. On average, gift shoppers also spent 2.6 to three times more on product gifts than on gift cards.
Takeaway No. 5: Don’t advertise gift cards on Valentine’s Day — be thoughtful!
Monika Kochhar is the CEO at SmartGift, a next-generation consumer and personalization platform for brands and retailers that empowers their customers to buy for others with confidence.
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