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Expert Advice
For Success in e-Commerce
  Laurent Bizot, e-Commerce expert and head of customer satisfaction, gives you his advice for an effective Valentine’s Day strategy.

e-Commerce and Valentine's Day—a couple very much in love!
Even though the Christmas holidays and New Year’s seem like they were just yesterday, it’s already time for another e-Commerce opportunity: Valentine’s Day! According to the Telegraph, Britons spend nearly 1 billion pounds on gifts and going out for Valentine’s Day. As an etailer, you have to attract visitors to your online shop now more than ever and offer them a shopping experience that lives up to their expectations. There are several e-business levers available to you that will help you successfully profit from Valentine’s Day.
3 key points for maximising your Valentine’s Day sales
01 Emails and social networks: stay in touch with your customers!
For Valentine’s Day, many will be looking for that perfect gift for their partner. That said, you won’t be the only etailer trying to stand out in a sea of competition. You’ll have to adapt the emails you send out to guarantee your visibility leading up to Valentine’s Day.

  • Personalise your messages according to your target market’s gender. Sending an email to all of your customers reminds them that you’re there and sets you apart from the competition. Valentine’s Day is an ideal opportunity for targeting both men and woman, differently, as they’re both looking for different kinds of gifts for their better half. You can send emails to each sex suggesting appropriate gifts and in this way increase your visibility. Targeted communication is always more effective than mass emails sent to an unsorted mailing list…

  • Target men in particular. If you have to choose one target market for economic reasons, we suggest you focus on men. They often spend a lot more on their partners for Valentine’s Day than women do! What’s more, the time e-Commerce sites save customers is an indisputable advantage. Highlight this with your emails and call to action buttons so customers are directed to the special Valentine’s Day sections of your website.

  • Improve your emails’ layout. At this time of year, expect that your customers are also receiving emails from your competitors. So be creative and use your imagination. For example, why not add a special Valentine’s Day banner to your important headings? Remember to make sure your messages don’t have too much information crammed into a small space—they should be clear and easily legible, you don’t want your customers to have to strain to read. You only have a few seconds to convince the reader to click on the offer, so make it short and sweet!

  • Use social networks. Social networks are another opportunity to feature your special Valentine’s Day offers, build customer loyalty and generate extra traffic to your site. Post a Valentine’s Day greeting on your Facebook page, offer a Valentine game, feature your top products…Be friendly, suggest romantic gift ideas, comment on links that lead them directly to the Valentine’s Day gifts section on your website.

For a special offer to work, think of it as a promise: offer a guaranteed delivery date, a gift, a discount or all of the above in your message. Put all of the important information at the beginning of your message to attract the maximum number of readers.
02 Make them fall in love with you
All opportunities are good opportunities for boosting your turnover! But the period leading up to Valentine’s Day is also a chance to be generous with your customers and to improve your reputation.

  • Consider offering free shipping for all orders made before February 13th at midnight. Or, offer special Valentine discounts and vouchers valid until February 13th at midnight. This way you’ll generate a spike in traffic on your site in the last few minutes before Valentine’s Day.

  • Offer the option of a personalised message. Anything you do that sets you apart from your competitors is a good thing. Offering this kind of service for free or for a small fee will put you ahead of the competition! Offer gift wrapping (with little hearts would be nice) or a personalised card attached to the package. These little gestures will make a difference for Valentine’s Day!

  • Feature express 24-hour shipping for customers running late. After secure online payment, shipping is the second biggest worry of consumers who buy online. During holiday periods, deadlines are tight and most customers worry their products won’t arrive on time. Emphasize guaranteed delivery before the evening of February 13th throughout the shopping process. This will reassure your visitors and customers.

The Actinic feature "edit attributes" enables you to very easily add little extras such as gift wrapping or a complimentary product…Customer satisfaction is only a few clicks away.
03 Seduce your visitors with an attractive site
Finding the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day is no small affair! Make life easier for your customers and offer them easy and comfortable navigation on your site. Improve your website’s design and feature your Valentine’s Day products. This will help you decrease your bounce rate and build customer loyalty.

  • Suggest special categories such as “gift ideas for HIM” and “gift ideas for HER.” The name of the game is creating categories that will quickly link visitors to what they’re looking for on your website. If your site is efficient, they’ll remember it! Nothing is worse than wasting a lot of time doing something simple. A straightforward website will encourage your customers to go through with their purchases.

  • Improve your homepage’s design and colours: make it festive. While maintaining your business’ image, adapt your homepage and style guide for Valentine’s Day. This is a sure way to entice your customers.

  • Offer user-friendly faceted search. Internet users today don’t want to waste time looking for what they want; don’t forget, the competition is only a click away! Give customers a rich and intuitive shopping experience and you’ll persuade them to stay.

Post a special Valentine’s Day slide show of images on your home page to make it more attractive, or simply customise your site’s colours for the holiday!
Sources : The Telegraph - February 2013
Follow our expert advice before getting started!