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It’s Not Too Late to Find Retail Success on Valentine’s Day

Written by Tim Haberin, Content Writer and Patricia Wilcox, Assistant Content Writer

Valentine’s Day is notorious for creating hordes of last-minute shoppers, as frantic people scramble to find the perfect gifts for their significant other. For many, this eleventh-hour search occurs the day before, or even on the holiday itself. Retailers can easily fall into the same trap, neglecting to plan for the big day until very late in the game.

Fortunately, there’s still time to capture those stragglers and make it a highly productive Valentine’s Day for your business. Apply the following search marketing tips to optimize your strategy for the final push.

Attract Potential Long-Term Customers with Great Deals

Consumers desperately seeking a gift with only hours to go may not be as price-conscious as usual, but an irresistible offer will still catch their eye. Attention-grabbing discounts or promotions are effective ways to separate yourself from competitors at a crucial moment. In fact, you should look to target your competitors’ customers with these deals.

You may sacrifice some profits in the short-term, but the long-term payoff could be massive if you convert those last-minute buyers into loyal, repeat customers. Keep your new audience engaged through retargeting campaigns and email marketing. In our analysis of last year’s holiday season, we found that 80% of customers returned through email.

Remind Valentine’s Day customers about all the other special occasions still approaching on their calendars. If you play your cards right, they’ll come back for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and more.

Use Real-Time Analytics to Maximize Value

Customer demand can fluctuate unpredictably, especially when last-second shoppers are involved. It’s easy to circle February 13 and expect it to be a busy day for gift sales, but what specific time frames will be the most active? Will you be prepared when those critical moments hit?

To enhance your ability to respond to sudden developments, build a real-time dashboard in Google Analytics with device and channel alerts. You’ll be able to track the effects of your campaigns on driving traffic to your site. If you see a surge in visitors, you can adjust your bids accordingly.

Take Advantage of Location Targeting

When the clock is ticking and you still need a gift, location is everything. Picking up those flowers or chocolates from a nearby store or even getting them delivered on the same day can make all the difference for stressed-out shoppers. If your business can be there for these customers in their momentary crisis, make sure they know.

Use location targeting to deliver your ads to customers in your area. Retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence should adapt their messaging to highlight the perks of close proximity, such as in-store pickup or same-day delivery. We found that offering same-day pickup or next-day shipping in ads resulted in a 4X increase in conversion rate.

Keep Time Zones in Mind

With the increase in last-minute Valentine’s Day purchases, every minute matters. You’ll notice that AdWords does not properly consider different time zones, and in those hours you could be making sales. For example, we observed a 20% increase in sales between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. on the East Coast for a West Coast retailer. You should use manual overrides of bid modifiers to create account level customizations, and pay close attention to your account time zone versus the real one because it can’t be changed.

Find the Right New Customers

Be smart about who you’re targeting, especially on Valentine’s Day. Find similar groups that mirror your current target market, and leverage demographics for search to include the right age and gender to create a perfect match.

Target people who are newlyweds, or recently engaged couples that’ll surely be interested in purchasing something for the holiday for their significant other. You might want to overlay income-based targeting depending on your products to ensure that your target market has appropriate spending power. Change your campaigns to a target and bid model to focus on this new segment of customers.

Make Holiday-Specific Ads

Customize your ad copy regularly to align with seasonal Valentine’s Day promotions and offers. Your main ad copy can focus on pushing your brand or any sitewide promotions, but seasonally tailoring your ad copy to any holiday has proven results. Putting seasonal content in your sitelinks will increase engagement and relevance. To engage returning customers, include top-selling products in your sitelinks.

There was a 57% increase in CTR and the highest AOV for sitelinks that included “Christmas” in them around the holiday season, and a 36% increase when the top-selling product name was included in the sitelink. Add “Valentine’s Day” to your sitelinks now and think about making tweaks to your main ad copy to attract more seasonal users and encourage last-minute purchases.

Utilize every opportunity to attract and secure last-minute sales. Don’t risk missing out when you have all of these tips, and check out our library of on-demand webinars for even more insights and strategies. When love is in the air, hopefully some of it will be shown to your business this Valentine’s Day!