I did something unique this year. I bought my mother a bouquet of roses for Valentine’s Day. What a good son, some would say. Why is that special, say others. OK, admittedly I always get my mom flowers for Valentine’s Day, usually making the purchase on Feb. 12 because I forgot. This year, as I write this on Feb. 1, I remembered because The Bouqs Company kept showing me great pictures on Instagram. I clicked through once or twice, but decided to commit nice and early, and await the praise of being a good son.
Now, think of all the wannabe recipients of flowers or other special gifts on Valentine’s Day. Other than birthdays and anniversaries, it's one of the most procrastinated gift-giving holidays around. As a retailer, what better way to make sure you capture the wallets of gift givers with more than the luck of an Instagram feed, which can easily be ignored, but with a physical piece of mail, tugging at the heartstrings of those that delay purchasing, or conveniently placed in an obvious spot when it arrives in the family mailbox. Better yet, it can be creatively disguised as a campaign for something more innocuous so the tentative shopper isn’t found out before the surprise arrives.
For retail marketers, the challenge is to a) know there's intent to buy and b) make sure there's a call to action that drives the purchase. With programmatic direct mail, the two elements are made clear. The intent to buy comes from the visitor to the site who looks at a number of different arrangements of flowers, chocolates and teddy bears, but doesn’t hit the "Buy" button out of concern that the gift is “not quite right,” a work email or phone call causes a distraction, or the kids/dog/boss needs attention. The call to action is the card that, as mentioned above, sits next to the picture of the spouse, partner, love interest or parent deserving of some special recognition. It also serves as a reminder to the recipient that they can make the transaction occur by ever so casually leaving a high-quality image of the gift near the wallet of their loved one.
Here’s the retailer’s guide to closing the, um, deal on Valentine’s Day:
- Identify the lovelorn. Using tags on your site, you can flag visitors that come and go without transacting or identify those opportunities to upsell. They're the ones who, unlike me this year, are unsure what the right gift should be, kicking off repeat visits to the site.
- Make it easy to buy. With a great-looking image and a discount coupon (and let’s face it, many folks prefer a discount on this holiday), the incentive to buy is right in front of the buyer — i.e., consumer who has expressed user-driven segmentation and intent. They can enter the special code they’ve received, make the purchase and rest easy until the big day actually arrives. No scrambling on the commute home or (as is the case this year) early on Sunday morning for an open florist.
- Prepare them to be heroes at the next milestone. With Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and many other special occasions to come, that friendly reminder in the mailbox is likely to get more attention than the slew of emails sent to trigger interest that are swiped away before being opened.
With return visit rates from receiving that piece of mail upwards of 20 percent and conversions of those visitors to purchase nearly double that rate, this new marketing channel could swell the hearts and return on investment calculators of many retail marketers.
David Cooperstein is interim chief marketing officer for PebblePost, the inventors of programmatic direct mail.
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