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More online and mobile shopping for Valentine's Day 2013

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Following all the buzz around the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, and it looks like shoppers are primed to treat family and friends. The online data from NRF’s 2013 Valentine’s Day consumer survey conducted by BIGinsight shows more than one-quarter (26 percent) of consumers who plan to mark the occasion this year will make some part of their purchases online, up from 19.3 percent last year. Even better news for retailers: no matter where they ultimately buy, these online Valentine’s Day shoppers are ready to spend a combined average of $209.22, or 60 percent more than all Valentine’s Day shoppers, who will spend an average of $130.97. Whether people are shopping online or off, love is certainly in the air this year.

Digging deeper in to this year’s data, it seems that online Valentine’s Day shoppers are a retail marketer’s dream. For starters, they’re ready to spend on many people in their lives. This includes significant others and spouses, who will enjoy cards, candy, flowers, an evening out, jewelry and more – for a net average of $117.71 spent online, compared with a net average of $73.75 across all Valentine’s Day shoppers. Online shoppers are also multichannel shoppers. Over one-third indicate that they’ll be buying in department and discount stores as well. As such, marketing messages that help these shoppers navigate all customer touch points are important, from store locator information and in-stock availability to gift suggestions, specials and more.

This data also illustrates the trend of more people owning smartphones and tablets. Two-thirds of online Valentine’s Day shoppers own a smartphone, while another two out of five said they own a tablet. Building on the momentum of mobile shopping this past holiday season, those celebrating Valentine’s Day also intend to use their mobile devices when shopping online:

  • Smartphone owners will tap this device to research products and compare prices (37 percent), look up retailer information (27 percent), and make purchases (21.2 percent).
  • Tablet device owners will do much the same, though to greater degree – researching products and comparing prices (45 percent), making purchases (34 percent), looking up retailer information (29 percent) and redeeming coupons (20 percent), among other shopping activities.

Leading up to the final few days, we dug into the white paper library for some marketing best practices that retailers can use to meet the needs of last-minute Valentine's Day shoppers.

Mobile email. "Subject and sender name matter more..." on mobile devices than for desktop and web-based email, Mobify explains in its paper, “14 Essential Tactics for Mobile,” noting that "iPhones show the sender name most prominently, while most Android devices focus on the subject." Mobify counsels retailers to "use a consistent and recognizable name or brand in the From field." Keeping the subject line to under "30 spaces (including spaces) is best, and retailers should also "phrase the subject as a promise of what can be found when the recipient opens the email." Also – send your emails overnight or very early in the morning to catch customers when they first check their email that day.

Search. “Only advertise what’s in stock,” Adlucent advises retailers in “Retail Paid Search Guide: Ten Advanced Tips for Driving More Revenue.” Obvious perhaps, but the issue for paid search is bid management systems that don’t adjust immediately to the real-time drop in conversion rate for an out of stock product, which in turn wastes ad dollars and creates a poor customer experience. Instead, they say “doing just one straightforward thing such as pausing keywords for products that have gone out of stock, and then re-starting them when the product is back in stock can boost marketing campaign efficiency by as much as 30 percent."

Cart remarketing. “Remarketing has the biggest impact within the first 12 hours,” SeeWhy says in “The Science of Shopping Cart Abandonment.” In its research, SeeWhy found an average of 8 percent of customers will return without any additional remarketing – the “organic return rate” – while adding a real-time remarketing campaign boosted the return rate by an additional 18 percent. However, the sooner the outreach to the customer, the greater the chance of success. "In an A/B test comparing a single email sent in real time with one sent 24 hours later, SeeWhy found real-time email generated more than double the revenue, recovered more than 30 percent more carts, and had a 66 percent higher average order."

These are just a small sample of the resources available in the white paper library. With Easter and Mother’s Day on the horizon, take a look at the additional advice from members on everything from marketing and merchandising to international expansion, re-platforming and more.