With Valentine’s Day sales soon coming to an end, brands should be using their holiday sales insights and learnings to inform the rest of 2018’s strategy. Here are some shopping trends we expect to continue past Valentine’s Day that you can use to guide your strategy this year.
#1 Track exactly when peaks occur
What may come as a surprise is that most shoppers wait until the week of Valentine’s Day to do their shopping, according to Offers.com. With such a large number of consumers desperately looking for gifts just a few days before February 14th, brands should already be prepared for this rapid influx of orders. In today’s age of online shopping, this preparation often reaches beyond simply ensuring inventory is available, staff is trained and the website is updated with the proper inventory availability.
Knowing exactly when customers are likely to make purchases offers valuable insight for planning future peaks. This also serves as an opportunity to determine if order fulfillment and shipping processes need to be addressed. A combination of fast delivery and accurate forecasts is crucial because if an item was not guaranteed to arrive on or before the 14th, customers were more than likely to have bought from a competitor. While that is a problem, it pales in comparison to incorrectly telling a customer that his or her significant other’s gift will be delivered before the big day. This can result in a negative brand experience, which can lead to a disgruntled consumer spreading his or her dissatisfaction via social media. Such a scenario can be much more costly than the actual dollars associated with that particular sale.
#2 Identify the highest-selling items
Though the Feast of Saint Valentine is traditionally associated with spouses, significant others and secret admirers, plenty of singles take advantage of the ubiquitous deals and promotions to buy gifts for themselves. According to a survey commissioned by Finder.com, 27% of singles and 33% of separated people plan to treat themselves. The tradition of gift-giving can even extend to non-romantic relationships. The survey also discovered that 55% of Gen Xers and 43% of Millennials will shop for Valentine’s Day gifts for platonic friends. But friends don’t always have to be of the human variety. An estimated $753.87 million was spent last year on gifts for pets according to another Finder study.
The large volumes of singles and pet-owners taking advantage of Valentine’s Day sales mean that brands must rethink what items will be the most popular. While top sellers this holiday are flowers, chocolates, jewelry and clothing, smart brands will take the opportunity to sell non-romantic items and expand their promotions to offer site-wide free or discounted shipping in attempt to secure more orders It is imperative that brands identify what items and SKUs move quickly during holiday seasons to plan future promotions and determine the best profit strategy.
#3 Improve key channel experiences
As technology evolves, so do consumer habits. Criteo data suggests that sales via mobile devices grew 79% between February 10th and 11th in 2016. When doing last-minute shopping, shoppers often look to their most convenient method of shopping, mobile. With many of today’s shoppers checking emails and texts, which can include promotional messages, brands should make sure these potential customers can be easily directed to the products they want to buy on their phones.
Brands should also be monitoring where and how their sales are generated, including during Valentine’s Day. Keep track of mobile conversion rates. Criteo found that the mobile medium noticed better conversion rates compared to other forms of eCommerce browsing. If your metrics don’t match this industry trend, it could mean that there are some issues with the overall mobile experience, whether it be a lack of personalized offers or even just a low-quality mobile site. The Valentine’s Day rush can and should be used as a testing period for an e-tailer’s mobile platform and how it appeals to today’s on-the-go shopper.
If Valentine’s day is a big revenue generating holiday for your brand, your 3PLs performance leading up to February 14 is a good indicator of how they’ll perform during holiday peak (Black Friday to New Year’s Day).
Are you happy with your current fulfillment experience? If not, ask yourself what needs to be changed to ensure 2018 peak period success.
Click here to speak with someone from our team about how you can scale your peak season success.