Ecommerce Growth

13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce

Valentine's Day is a retailer's happy season! Here's how not to do Valentine’s Day for eCommerce brands + expert advice for success in 2022.

13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce

In 2021, 52 percent of U.S. adults planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day, spending a total of $21.8 billion. Some retailers like personal care, apparel, and entertainment see the highest amount of sales. 

With online as the most popular shopping destination, it’s important to have a strategic campaign to woo and convert customers.

So come 2022, we wanted to help you create a Valentine’s Day marketing plan that is set to be an all-time hit (with no miss)! 

13 Mistakes You Should Avoid This Valentine’s Day

1. Failing to Utilize SEO Gaps

Almost every brand runs Valentine’s Day campaigns. And many target generic keywords such as ‘Valentine’s day gift’ ‘Valentines day 2022’, etc. 

Do you use such generic keywords? If yes, you are among hundreds of other online sites competing against each other and it’s going to take ages before you even start ranking on the second of the search engines. 

This is where you need to play smart and follow these steps to stand a chance to get noticed: 

  • Understand who your target audience is and who your ideal customer is 
  • Look into how they will search for the products/ services you offer 
  • Conduct a thorough keyword research (cover all the nine types of keywords - short tail, longtail, short-term, long-term, product defining, customer defining, geo-targeting and intent targeting) 
  • Shortlist keywords that have a broader reach, but are also not too generic (quality over quantity) 

Let’s understand this with an example:

For example, ‘Valentine’s gift for her’ vs. ‘Valentine's gift for a 50-year-old woman. Most probably, the latter would get you leads of shoppers who have a higher purchase intent compared to leads generated from generic words. 

ConvertCart Pro Tips:

  • Think hard about what questions your potential customers are asking – because you need to answer them with valuable Valentine’s Day gifting solutions
  • Focus on keywords that are relevant to your industry and target audience
  • If you’re a big, popular brand, go for branded keywords
  • Long-tailed keywords can bring you better leads 

2. Your Landing Page Might Be Poorly Created

If you’ve sorted out your SEO game, well done! You’ll probably have a lot of online shoppers discover your products and services through the search engine, arriving at your landing page. But did you know that the average conversion rate for most is only around 2-3%? 

You can get your keywords right. Even get your ads to run in a targeted fashion. But what is worth is traffic that does not convert in any way? 

That’s where your landing page design and usability come into play.  

Now, if you have a cluttered page with multiple messages, a poor headline, and a generic call-to-action (CTA) button that is nowhere contextual to the keywords or the ad campaign you were running - you have the right recipe to put off your visitors rather than draw them further into the purchase cycle. 

To make sure your Valentine’s Day landing page isn’t where you lose customers, here are a few things you must follow: 

  • Design a clean, clutter-free page
  • Keep your messaging crisp and clear 
  • Have attractive images or videos in sync with Valentine’s 
  • Offer something compelling and valuable based on the intent of your audience 
  • Keep one, clear call-to-action 
  • Make your landing page engaging 
  • Also, target soft-touch micro-conversions like subscriptions 

Here’s an example of Pizza Hut’s landing page, that focuses on not just selling their products, but also giving it a whole seasonal twist with the quiz: 

Pizza Hut - 13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce


ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Make sure your Valentine’s Day landing page is coherent with your search engine and social media targeting, and also ensure you have retargeting and remarketing pixels in place to bring back visitors who might bounce off during the first visit. 

3. Going Over The Board To Be Out-Of-The-Box

Every brand wants to make the most of Valentine’s Day frenzy. You might want to stand out, get noticed, outshine your competitors. 

But wait…

That doesn’t mean you go overboard to be out of the box. 

To understand this better, let’s talk about one of the worst V-Day campaigns – one by The Bronx Zoo. They asked people to name cockroaches after their loved ones! It not only sounded bizarre and creepy, even the campaign creatives looked ugly. 

See it to believe it:

Going Over The Board To Be Out-Of-The-Box - 13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce


Instead, here’s what you should do:

  • Think of campaigns that resonate with your brand and what you sell 
  • Find out what consumers and your customers expect from your brand and build a concept around it 
  • Identify your target segment to understand what they do during Valentine’s
  • Sometimes, simplicity is the best you can go for 

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

As a brand, be especially mindful and sensitive before you execute out-of-the-box ideas. Be bold, but relevant at all times. 

4. Keeping Affiliates That Don’t Work

Affiliate marketing is a great way for brands to boost their reach and sales. And if you’re a brand that’s relatively established, you most probably have an affiliate program.

However, how effective is your affiliate program? Are your affiliates good enough? Is there a need to reassess your affiliates before your Valentine’s Day campaign begins?

Before we talk about what you should do, let’s understand why you should care.

It’s possible that your affiliates have outdated links that do not work. Or that they haven’t added your new listings to their site. Or maybe your affiliates have moved away from what they were doing earlier on and are no longer relevant to the audience you cater to. 

All these factors, among others, can have a negative impact on your Valentine’s Day campaign. 

So, here’s what you should do:

  • Reassess your affiliates before your Valentine’s Day campaign
  • Check all of your listing links – if some links are broken, ask your affiliates to change them
  • If your affiliates aren’t responsive, it’s best to do away with them
  • Offer increased incentives to those affiliates that give you good business

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Identify micro-influencers that can double up as affiliates for your Valentine's Day campaigns. Influencers are the top faces of affiliate marketing. While you might be paying your influencers to promote your products, it also makes sense to share links with their followers for which you could pay them a commission. 

5. Not Targeting Different Types Of Shoppers

Over the years, the idea of Valentine’s Day has changed considerably. Now, it’s not just for couples to celebrate; but for all loved ones - family, friends, children, pets, among others.

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow backs this, “Valentine’s Day is increasingly about love in a more expansive sense, be it love for friends, classmates, coworkers or kids.”

For eCommerce stores, this means more sales opportunities. But for that, you have to make all your potential customers a part of your campaign. 

The mistake that a lot of brands make is they focus only on couples. The result: they miss out on singles, family members, children, LGBTQ, Galentines Day, among others. 

Let’s look at some numbers to understand what you might be missing out on:

  • The estimated amount spent by Americans on V-Day gifts for pets is $1.3 billion
  • 15% of Americans buy Valentine’s gift for themselves
  • Almost 45% of Valentine’s consumers in the US are single 

So, here’s what to do:

  • Rethink your Valentine’s inventory. Apart from candies, hearts, and typical V-Day gifts, make your top-selling regular products a part of your campaign
  • Create offers and content for all kinds of customers, not just couples
  • Look for niche V-Day campaigns to target the various segments

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

When you try to understand your different V-Day target customer segments, the gifting ideas you offer will be more contextual. So start by identifying who you’re talking to.  Here’s how Amazon creates Valentine’s collections for different segments of their audience: 

Amazon - 13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce

6. Not Engaging Your Brand Community

Consumers are tired of brands simply bombarding them with advertisements and promotions. If your only focus is products and selling, you surely rank low in customer engagement.

Over time, consumers’ ideas of good brand engagement have changed. To stand out from their competitors, brands have to do more than just focus on selling products – build communities

55% of consumers say easy access to support and information can make them fall in love with a brand. And communities provide them a safe space to gather information, feedback, or other support they need when making purchases. 

However, building communities is not as simple as having active social media accounts and getting your followers to comment on posts. It’s much more.

Here’s how you can build community engagement around V-Day:

  • Collaborate with influencers relevant to your products
  • Run contests and giveaways that require customers to join the community 
  • Think of creative ways to encourage your customers to engage with each other. For example, a forum where customers can request gifting ideas and instead of you suggesting, allow other customers to suggest ideas 

If you have a strong community of customers, make sure you use the above strategies to keep them engaged. You can also give early access to Valentine’s deals and discounts to community members. 

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Make your shoppers and customers feel like they belong to your brand. Listen to your customers, learn more about them and understand what they want. Starting and maintaining a community is also a way to show how transparent you are as a business. 

7. Forgetting that Less is Sometimes More

Customers are smart enough to differentiate between useful, relevant content and content that is simply used as filler. And so, if your digital marketing team has been sending out emails and social media posts just to get more likes, it’s a big no-no. For all you know, it might backfire, your customer might unsubscribe from your lists.

Here’s an example of bad content. It’s unlikely that every customer is going to be interested in all these products. 

13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce

What’s worse? Throwing too much in front of your potential customers can also cause decision paralysis, and might just take them away from you. 

Instead, here’s what you must do:

  • Plan your Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns in advance with the purchase funnel in mind 
  • Create a schedule for your content to go out (start small and then go big) 
  • Space out your content publishing
  • Share content that adds value to your customers (educational content and ideas do well too) 

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Gain insights from customer data about the type of content they like, what they want, figure out how you can provide value to them through your V-Day campaign content. Leverage social listening! 

8. Not Having Your Affairs In Order

Valentine’s Day is special. People choose gifts with a lot of enthusiasm and care. A lot of people search for specific items that they might have planned to give to their loved ones. Moreover, they expect their gifts to arrive in time for V-Day.

Now, if your online store is low on stock, has products running out of stock, your customers aren’t going to be impressed. Similarly, if your channel partners, delivery partners aren’t up to the mark and customers’ orders are going to get delayed, you should get ready to pay a heavy price for it (literally).

Here are some things you need to do:

  • Plan your Valentine’s Day inventory much in advance
  • If you have affiliate partners, make sure your products are listed well on their platforms
  • Create a marketing plan especially for your Valentine’s Day campaign so that all the nitty-gritty requirements are addressed
  • Monitor your delivery partners’ performance closely 
  • Have a plan B in place in case you’re not able to restock popular items during Valentine’s 

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Use tools and apps to help you manage your campaigns. Choose platforms that are comprehensive and allow you to get an overview of all your different teams and departments, to plan on the go. 

9. Always Thinking Short Term

Shopping for Valentine’s Day is a time-specific activity. It begins a couple of days or weeks before the 14th of February. 

Here’s what typical online stores do – start the campaign a few days or weeks before V-Day and that’s it! They treat their campaign as a one-off event like a seasonal shopping festival.

What happens when you do that?

Thinking short-term means you’re missing out on the potential to:

  • Build long-term relationships
  • Encourage repeat buys
  • Earn greater ROI from campaigns
  • Nurture customer loyalty

So, if your V-Day marketing campaign is driven by short-term thinking and goals, hit pause. 

Do this:

  • Include early bird customers, last-minute buyers, and post-purchase engagement opportunities
  • Early-bird buyers help you get a head start and secure sales before the V-Day shopping frenzy begins for the rest of the world
  • Last-minute buyers mean you can capture the purchase behavior of those who may have forgotten to buy gifts on time
  • Generate post-purchase engagement from buyer insights that you gathered during your V-Day campaign – think product recommendations, deals and discounts, invite customers to sign up on your store, etc. 
  • Make the most of your bucks spent during V-Day campaigns because short-term is more expensive than long-term

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Focus on getting your first-time customers, shoppers that didn’t make purchases, and existing customers to keep coming back to your site even when Valentine’s Day is over because love isn’t!

10. Not Starting Early With Your Marketing Efforts

Every online store is going to offer deals for Valentine’s Day. The key for you to get a head start is, well, literally start earlier than the others.

If you’re going to launch your V-Day campaigns in the first week of February, you’re just going to join the already crowded market. That is the time when all brands are going to put out Valentine’s Day promotions full throttle. 

The result: you’d be competing in a sea of promotions, advertisements, deals, and products. 

Instead, here’s what you should be doing:

  • Plan much early - preferably before the new year begins (50% of shoppers shop early for V-Day)
  • Launch your campaign before your competitors start theirs
  • Let your potential customers know what to expect from you this V-Day
  • Send them promotional messages to build up excitement
  • Send reminders
  • Capture the attention of shoppers who abandoned carts
  • Capture purchase intent of shoppers, offer discounts
  • Run daily specials and offers to appeal to new and old shoppers
  • Think of strategies to get shoppers to purchase

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Start early. Capture Shoppers’ interest. Engage them. Understand what they want. Offer them exactly that for a more personalized experience. We have seen pre-launch pages do really well too! 

11. Ignoring Upsell And Cross-Sell In Your Strategy

Almost 60% of buying journeys start from the search engine. People start their search for specific things and land up on eCommerce sites. 

As an online store, you’ve overcome one challenge – bringing a new visitor or an old customer to your site. Good job!

From here on, it’s all about how you try to engage your site visitors. Do you simply let them buy what they came looking for on your site? Or do you enhance their experience by introducing them to more products they might actually like? 

If you’re letting go of opportunities to upsell and cross-sell, you’re making a big mistake. The below numbers will tell you why it’s a mistake:

  • 37% of shoppers who clicked a recommendation during their first visit to a site returned to the site
  • Purchases, where a recommendation was clicked, saw a 10% higher AOV
  • 54% of retailers say product recommendations are a key factor for increasing sales

Do this:

  • Just like in brick and mortar stores where salespersons show various products to customers, introduce shoppers on your site to what more you have to offer them
  • Upsell and help them buy Valentine’s gift that offers them more value, and more revenue to your store
  • Cross-sell while they’re shopping or post-purchase by recommending complementing products or even product combos that may work as good V-Day presents

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Bring in personalization in your upsell and cross-sell recommendations for better results. You can do so by analyzing shoppers’ activities and purchase behavior on your site and using a recommendation engine to tailor the suggestions made to them. 

12. Not Using A Multi-Channel Communication Approach

In the past, all you needed was a phone and email to communicate with your customers. 

Today, the world of communication is much more complex and layered – think phone, email, Internet, social media, offline, online forums, media, and much more. 

As an eCommerce store, you cater to almost all kinds of people. And so, you need to consider different user behavior and preferences. To leverage communication channels of different customers’ preferences is a necessity.

If you’re focusing on just one or two channels for your Valentine’s Day campaigns, you’re missing out on sales opportunities. 

What should you do?

  • Take a multi-channel approach to your campaigns
  • Choose your channels based on your campaign goals
  • Think email, SMS, Messenger, web push notifications, WhatsApp, other social platforms
  • Integrate your different channels

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Make sure your different channels are integrated so that there is no duplication, overlaps, or missing out on information. This will help you give your customers a seamless experience.

13. Not Knowing What Value To Bring 

So, you’re selling the best products in the market? Great! And you’re willing to offer big discounts during Valentine’s season. Wow! 

But do you know what your customers are actually looking for?

Today’s customers don’t buy products; they buy the experience. They buy from brands that give them a good customer experience, brands that add value to them. Discounts and deals hardly help you make the cut.

So, what’s your value play?

Don’t know? 

Well, think around Valentine’s Day – what do you think your customers might value? Some thoughts:

  • On-time delivery for the 14th of February
  • Faster delivery
  • Quality products as promised on your website
  • Post-purchase support – especially in cases of items that require installation or set-up

To know your value proposition, do this:

  • Gather customer data to understand them and what they want
  • Conduct a survey through different channels to find out what customers want
  • Create communities or if you already have one, leverage community power to understand how you can add value to your customers

ConvertCart Pro Tip: 

Understand the big picture and how you can make your brand relevant in the eCommerce space during Valentine’s Day.

BONUS: 3 Campaigns We LOVED

1.

Some of the best Valentine’s Day campaigns are fueled by the idea of uniqueness and exclusivity, like this one by Gü. In 2019, the ice cream brand introduced limited edition packaging especially for Valentine’s Day that featured lyrics of well-known love songs.

13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce

2. Mouth

While most brands focused on happy couples and lovebirds, Mouth targeted a niche segment - people who had their hearts broken right before V-Day. They motivated friends of heartbroken single people to give their friends special V-Day treat hampers.

13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce

3. Lunya Bobbi Brown

Meanwhile, some brands make sure they offer more by way of collaboration, the way Bobbi Brown and Lunya got together for a giveaway around the theme of self-love. They sent a ‘self-love letter’ email for customers to fill in the blanks to their future self to win cosmetics and nightwear.


Bobbi Brown - 13 Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes in eCommerce

Final Thoughts – Spin Mistakes Into V-Day Success!

Do you think your online store is making any of the above mistakes? If yes, it would be a good idea to rethink and shake things up a little and get your efforts back on track in the race to Cupid's big day. 

The important thing is to not fail to spin mistakes into learning. Whatever you do, do it with a lot of love!

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