How to Maximize Online Sales this Valentine’s Day

Had a so-so holiday season? Don’t fret because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. This global celebration of love transpires into one of the biggest shopping seasons around the world and rakes in more money than Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and the Super Bowl put together.

Needless to say, merchants focused on gift-giving catalogs are making a mad rush to be ready for this shopping spike.

According to Business Insider, more than 9 million pet owners will buy gifts for their pets.  Jewelry, flowers, candy and other items will see their highest sales this of year as well.  All this means is that consumer spending will be high across several categories this Valentine’s Day.

In 2013 alone, Valentine’s Day generated about $20 billion of sales across the United States and is set to cross that figure by a huge margin in 2015. Popular categories include flowers, chocolates, jewelry, clothing and accessories, novelty & hobbies, electronics, adult & lingerie, travel, wedding, home décor, animal, books, music and health. The clear winners amongst these product categories are flowers, candy and jewelry so online shoppers selling such items need to be well prepared for this day.

On this day, when a third of America types a romantic message on their mobile, more than 40% of the gifts will be purchased on mobile. Online merchants need to brace themselves for the huge traffic that is expected from mobile devices and provide a compelling mobile experience that converts traffic into sales.

According to MartMobi, a mobile commerce platform, there are several fixes merchants need to make to be mobile-ready – the most important ones being loading fast, looking good and having a smooth checkout flow.

“To many merchants who sell products in romantic categories, this is going to be the biggest time of the year – probably even bigger than the holiday season,” said Satya Ganni, CEO of MartMobi.

Now is a good time for florists, candy sellers, jewelers and merchants in neighborhood categories such as health, hobbies and fashion to start thinking about discoverability and conversions.

Here are 5 things merchants can do to maximize their Valentine’s Day sales:

SEO: Online merchants need to build their SEO profile so they are discovered when a user searches for “nearby florist” or “Valentine’s Day jewelry”.

Sharing: Shoppers should be allowed to easily share their favorite items on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to increase the likelihood of referral traffic.

Recommendations: For shoppers who visit their site, merchants need to make recommendations on the landing and product pages for similar or related products. This usually results in higher average order value.

Infrastructure: Shoppers are impatient and demanding. Mobile shoppers do not wait more than 4 seconds for a page to load. Merchants should make sure their site loads quickly.

Push: Merchants with apps should start sending out push notifications about special offers, early bird discounts and new inventory that might be of interest in the context of Valentine’s Day.

Satya Ganni is CEO of MartMobi.

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