11 Valentine's eCommerce Tips for Food and Gift Brands
Valentine’s Day isn’t just for chocolate and flowers. People buy all kinds of gifts and goodies for their loved ones. It’s also not just for brick-and-mortar stores since more people are turning to online sources to find the perfect gift.
In 2020, 32% of American consumers had planned on shopping online for Valentine’s Day, up from 27% for 2019. Total expected spending for the holiday also jumped up by 32% to reach $27.4 billion. Are you ready to make the most of Valentine’s Day this year?
With the pandemic limiting shoppers’ choices, more people will be shopping online and shipping gifts directly to their loved ones. That means it’s important to have the right eCommerce tools in place to satisfy shoppers. To help your business take things to the next level this Valentine’s Day, here are 11 eCommerce tips for success.
#1: Optimize for Seasonal SEO
Our first eCommerce tip for Valentine’s Day is to get ready ahead of time with seasonal SEO content, which can help boost your online store’s visibility—and therefore, your sales. To do this, you’ll need to research keywords around your product category in relation to the holiday.
Don’t know where to start? Google Trends is a good tool to use to get an idea of when people start searching with these terms. Your content needs to be ready to go by the time people start looking around. For example, search traffic for “Valentine’s Day gifts” begins just before Christmas and drops off after February 15th (some people scramble the day after).
Once you’ve found some keyword opportunities, you can create landing pages and blog posts that focus on them to take advantage of seasonal traffic. Adding Valentine’s Day keywords to the meta titles on appropriate pages can also help increase visibility. Make sure not to “stuff” keywords, and only use them in places that appear natural. As you create new content, you can also modify your web theme with Valentine’s Day banners and colors that conjure up feelings of romance and elegance.
#2: Get Social with Social Sharing
Word of mouth has always been a powerful form of marketing, and social media allows people to share their favorite brands digitally. Your online store should make use of eCommerce marketing tools like social sharing options so customers can like, share, pin, or tweet about products they like. You can also run a social sale that gives customers a great deal if enough people use the specific coupon. Not only does your customer get a discount—you get fantastic exposure to your target audience.
#3: Enable BOPIS Shopping
If your brand operates retail locations, you can satisfy more customers by offering buy-online-pickup-in-store options (BOPIS). During the pandemic, BOPIS has increased by over 500% with many customers trying it for the first time. Supply chain experts predict that consumers will continue to enjoy the convenience of BOPIS beyond the pandemic as well.
BOPIS lets customers who live nearby stores get the items they want on the same day without having to stand in line. BOPIS is also a great way to cater to last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers who missed the shipping cutoff. It can also help reduce shipping costs by turning your stores into mini fulfillment centers. But, to make BOPIS work and prevent customer frustrations, your eCommerce platform needs to show accurate inventory. By integrating your eCommerce platform with your internal systems, you can make sure customers see the right product availability, even during the eleventh hour.
#4: Offer Gift Messages and Wrapping
Many people ship gifts directly to their loved ones on Valentine’s Day. You can help them add a touch of personality and warmth to their gifts by offering custom messages and gift wrapping. The recipient will have a better experience receiving the gift, and the giver will have a better shopping experience from your company. Specialty gift eCommerce platforms let you add gift wrap and message options to your online shopping cart and process different fulfillment actions easily.
#5: Harness the Power of Reviews
Reviews can be powerful in answering customer questions and helping people decide to make a purchase. In fact, displaying reviews can increase your sales by 270% according to Spiegel Research Center! You can harness this power by automatically reminding customers to write reviews and then displaying them on each of your product pages. As your website displays related items a shopper might be interested in, it can also list the average star-rating for each suggestion.
#6: Create Flash Sales and Coupons
As Valentine’s Day gets closer, people can feel some pressure to make a purchase in time. By leaning into that urgency, you can drive sales up in the days before the holiday. Limited-time coupons and flash sales are great ways to grab a shopper’s attention as they browse through your site. Depending on the proximity to the holiday, you can get creative with titles like the I-Promise-I-Didn’t-Forget Flash Sale.
A good eCommerce platform will allow you to select products, pick discounts, choose the timeframe, and schedule a sale intuitively. You can coordinate this with design and schedule specific landing pages, as well.
#7: Use Tools to Upsell
Another eCommerce tip for boosting Valentine’s Day sales is to show related products on product pages and in popups before checkout. You can also leverage dynamic in-cart messaging to tell customers how much they need to add to get free shipping. When someone has already decided to purchase a gift at your site, there’s a good chance they might want to add something else for a family member or even themselves. Dynamic cart messaging gives customers incentives to add extra items that boost your average order value.
#8: Get the Word Out on Shipping Deadlines
It’s important that shoppers know when the cutoff time is to send a gift by Valentine’s Day. You can advertise this on your site, within your online shopping cart, on social media channels, and through your email list. When shoppers are better informed, they are more likely to have a positive experience and less likely to disappoint significant others if gifts arrive late.
Along these lines, it’s important to have your supply chain dialed in to handle increased purchases and keep your delivery promise. The time leading up to Valentine’s day can put a successful food and gift company to the test with an influx of orders, but it’s more than doable with the right technology. For example, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards saw a massive increase in their online wine eCommerce sales in March of 2020. Thanks to an integrated eCommerce platform, they were able to handle the spike in demand. Creative Consultant Fred Whickham recalled, “When we had a 1600% increase in orders in 3 weeks, we were able to manage it with TrueCommerce. I don’t think taking orders on paper or over the phone and manually inputting them would have been possible.”
#9: Allow Multiple Ship-To Addresses Per Order
Having the right eCommerce platform means a customer can create one order and send treats or goodies to multiple people at different addresses. While some folks only give gifts to their special someone, others enjoy gifting to family and friends as well. A father may want to send gifts to his daughters who are off at college, or a group of friends might celebrate Galentine’s Day together. You can make things easy by allowing shoppers to send gifts to different people from the same transaction, instead of needing to check out multiple times.
#10: Recover Abandoned Carts
Comparison shoppers often add items to their carts on different websites and then abandon them. But that doesn't mean they’ve made up their mind or settled on a competitor. If they are on your email list, you can reach out to them and remind them what a great gift they were looking at.
According to Barilliance, over 80% of cart abandonments happen on mobile devices, so you should make sure your mobile site is optimized to be fast, usable, and visually appealing. About 40% of cart abandonment emails get opened, which is much more often than general marketing emails, and 8% of opened emails result in a recovered transaction.
#11: Use the Right eCommerce Platform
To do everything on this list efficiently, you need a comprehensive solution that can connect your different systems together. Most importantly, it needs to be scalable so you can quickly meet increased demand or try out new sales channels like BOPIS.
A strong eCommerce platform can help you accomplish all the above and more. The right platform keeps your warehouse, sales floor, and digital storefront working together so you can satisfy Valentine’s Day shoppers however they want to buy. Reach out to an eCommerce specialist to see how TrueCommerce can help you supercharge your brand.
About the Author: Craig Ross is the VP of Sales for the TrueCommerce Nexternal eCommerce Platform. He has been on the Nexternal team for over 20 years and has been involved with the evolution of eCommerce from its infancy. Craig lives in Redding, Connecticut, and in addition to eCommerce, he is passionate about cycling, motorsports, skiing, and music.