Valentine’s Day is around the corner and if you are reading this, I am hoping you already have your plan together. If not, here is a tactical and practical guide to running a more profitable Valentine’s Day promotion.
Why You Should Care About Valentine’s Day
In ecommerce we are always looking for an opportunity to engage with customers. Those opportunities can be internal - a new product, color way, flavor, or your customer’s lifecycle in the funnel.
Events like Valentine’s Day are external opportunities. Your customer’s online and offline worlds are buzzing with ideas - planning gifts, date nights, meals or looks for a special night out. This can be an opportunity to recontextualize an existing product or tap into a gift shopping goal.
Thinking about Valentine’s Day in particular there are two opportunities to engage with your customers:
- Gifting in advance of Valentine’s Day
- Treating yourself on Valentine’s Day
What’s Your Strategy?
It can sometimes feel like there is a lot of pressure to offer the biggest discount, but as with any promotion, it’s more important to think about your customers’ needs first and foremost.
Breaking down the two opportunities we mentioned above, let’s think about our customers’ needs.
Gifting in advance of Valentine’s Day
For Valentine’s Day, you want to make that special person in your life feel loved and appreciated. Factors such as promptness of delivery, availability of the right product that resonates with them, and providing great value are far more important than the mere cost of the gift.
In other words:
- “I waited longer than I should have… Can you give me a deal on expedited shipping”
- “My partner really loves Pikachu, sure the other ones are on sale but that’s their favourite”
- “I gotta get that one… but if I spend $30 more I can add something extra to their present”
Giving 30% off to your customers doesn’t actually meet those needs, and most of these problems can likely be solved in a way that gives you more flexibility on margins.
Treating yourself on Valentine’s Day
There is a long list of reasons on why someone might not participate in a gift giving holiday, but the occasion can be an inspiration for treating themselves.
Positioning Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to treat yourself can motivate individuals who have been engaged with your brand through emails or retargeting campaigns yet haven’t made a purchase to finally take the plunge.
Your Tactical To-do List
- Get in early and over communicate
- People will need to be reminded multiple times. They may need to return and browse, discover and weigh out the options. Communicate well in advance, and don’t be afraid to drip the message over weeks with multiple emails.
- If inventory is limited, exclusive or new, your VIP customers and the folks they are gifting will appreciate the early heads up.
- Make people aware of the key dates
- Few brands can match Amazon’s delivery timelines. It’s important to share a realistic and conservative shipping cut-off date to make sure they aren’t disappointed. When getting close to that date, you can create expedited shipping offers to help convert more customers.
Plan out your channels
While this isn’t as complex as rocket science, rushing the process can at best weaken the impact of your efforts and at worst, limit the overall reach of your promotion. Make sure to plan all of your content and creative for email and ads weeks in advance.
Build a ladder of offers
A concept I picked up from Jess at Longplay Brands involves a ‘ladder of offers’ strategy. This approach entails examining your target audience for a specific promotion and introducing a series of offers that increase in value as you approach the final shipping date. By excluding individuals who have already made a purchase, you mitigate the fear of missing out (FOMO), while also implementing a flexible pricing strategy that enhances your profit margins and diversifies your offers.
At this stage, let’s take a look at my primary offer for my brand Bull and Cleaver, and dig into the experience.
My Offer, My Store
My store – Bull and Cleaver – sells biltong, a South African cured meat similar to beef jerky. We have many flavors, bag sizes and form factors. This means a customer could have any combination of these in a cart, and when running promotions we can always benefit from getting someone to try something new with our options at various price points.
For this Valentine’s Day we wanted to target a price point that could drive impulse purchases. We chose our 2 oz bags of Chili Biltong as a free gift with purchase.
Check it out here: https://bullandcleaver.com/products/spicy-biltong
This ties into a “spicy” theme we could use in our creative, takes advantage of our recently replenished inventory, and gives us some predictability on our margins.
The next gap to solve for our promotion is to make sure customers:
- Understand the promotion
- Take action
Understand the promotion
This promotion allows customers to get a free gift when they spend over $40. I want to make sure this is promoted throughout the site and prevent the competing offers from confusing my customers.
Communicate to all visitors that there is a reason to buy today that matches what they are thinking right now - buying a gift for themselves or a special someone.
Specifically, when browsing the products or collections, they are going to be evaluating how many decisions and products they need to hit the free gift threshold and free shipping threshold.
We do this in my store with banners created with Abra on the homepage, collection and product pages.
A key thing we have found is communicating the specifics of the promotion at the point of decision. We give progress on the product page of each eligible product simplifying the choice between variants.
We also automatically add the exact product to the cart with the discount code coupled to it. Removing all the friction. They see the price they will pay when they get to checkout.
With all the work we do at the previous stages - the last step is to press buy. And when our customer is in checkout they know exactly what they are paying, what they are getting and are confident the discount is applied for them.
For this promotion my goal is to increase the overall revenue by lifting the conversion rates from my emails and direct store traffic. I have a good idea of how this will map to my average order value (AOV). In the future, I would like to add a tier to the gift with purchase at my free shipping threshold, and another above that.
As we advocate in every blogpost, the best thing you can do for your business is to try different approaches and promotion types. Think strategically and use the occasion to target the right customers, move the right products or even test a new angle of incentive strategy.
What will you be testing this Valentine’s Day?
Book a demo with us to see how Abra can make a difference this Valentine’s Day.