Black Friday, Giving Tuesday, Blue Monday… Bandwagon lovers rejoice, because now February has its own seasonal sales event- Red Weekend, falling just ahead of Valentine’s Day. So how did your customers spending this weekend measure up?
Red Weekend is the name given by eBay to the peak Valentine’s shopping weekend, falling directly prior to the 14 February, which sees skyrocketing sales of teddy bears, chocolates and red roses. Red Weekend is the most profitable shopping event in Q1, and many retailers get into the romantic spirit with targeted campaigns, products, or themed landing pages. One of the key features of these seasonal surges, however, is that they can actually provide a snapshot of consumer shopping preferences, and enable retailers, to some extent, to predict future trends.
eBay have noted that last year’s UK purchase patterns showed an increased interest in non-traditional Valentines gifts, with sales from their Travel & Holidays category rising by 55 per cent, Art by 60 per cent and Event tickets by 57 per cent. These insights, revealing where the nation is spending for their Valentine’s Day gifts, are invaluable to brands trying to decide which products, offers and discounts to champion ahead of the busy shopping weekend.
Rob Bassett, Director Hard Goods UK, eBay, comments: “The UK is predicted to splash out more than £1 billion on Valentine’s Day, and brands need to understand where this spend is being directed if they are to capitalise on the huge opportunity on offer.
“Consumers are increasingly attracted to a more personalised, individual style of gifting and this has been reflected in the growing popularity of cultural gifts. This trend shows that it’s more important than ever that marketers can pinpoint and target different shopper motivations.”
Catching The Stragglers
Maintaining a timely search strategy is therefore, extremely important for marketers looking to capitalise on this narrow sales window. eBay’s search results showed that as the clock ticked to midnight on 14 February 2016, searches for the broad term “Valentine” shot up by 174 per cent, as reluctant romantics scrambled to find an eleventh hour gift despite the fact it was unlikely to arrive in time.
This situation is a prime example of why it’s so important for brands to ensure their landing pages, SEO strategy and communications are in synchronisation. A distraction or disruption at this critical stage in the customer journey will lose brands their sale to a retailer that can process the consumer’s wants in the fastest, most efficient way.
Winning Customer Hearts
Personalisation is also a key way to simplify the customer’s route to your site, and carefully targeted communications may well result in a far higher rate of return. “Valentine’s Day may have traditionally been flowers and chocolates territory, but like all areas of retail, consumers are increasingly looking to put a personal stamp on how they shop.” Says Pauline Robson, director, MediaCom. “Brands that are able to use online to tap into this spirit of individualism, and engage a broad scope of shoppers, stand to grab a share of the wallet from competitors and build loyalty by showing they understand how consumers think and what matters to them.”
Ecommerce is clearly a great way to catch those frantic last-minute spenders, and so to capitalise on this, retailers must make sure they are aware of every customer touchpoint, and take steps to address pain points as soon as they arise. While it’s incredibly unlikely that we’ll be seeing Red Weekend advertising campaigns on the scale of Black Friday, the practices enacted by marketers for the November holiday sales period are a great benchmark for other high-traffic events the whole year around.
How are you keeping on top of the Valentines rush at your business? Tweet us at @Figaro_Digital and continue the conversation online.