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4 Valentine’s Day Trends for Merchants

4 Valentine’s Day Trends for Merchants

With more than half of Americans celebrating Valentine’s Day, and the average consumer spending about $136.57, there’s no denying February 14 is a major date for merchants. So how can merchants make the most of this $18 billion gift-giving occasion? By focusing on these popular trends:

1. Personalization

Now, more than ever, consumers demand personalized experiences. Thanks to recent trends including voice-activated purchasing and data-driven personalization and optimization, consumers have become accustomed to getting what they want, when they want it – even if they don’t know exactly what it is they’re looking for.

The key? Meet and exceed those expectations and consumers will come to you when looking for their Valentine’s Day gift – and hopefully become repeat customers. Forty-nine percent of consumers say they’ve purchased items they didn’t intend to buy and forty percent say they’ve spent more on something than planned because of a personalized recommendation. And of those impulse buys? Just five percent were returned, and nearly nine out of ten reported being happy with the purchase.

2. Consumer-Generated Content

Consumer-generated content (CGC) isn’t new. As long as there has been social media and online reviews, consumers have been leaning on others to steer their purchasing decisions.  Arguably, though, CGC has never been more central to the consumer discovery process than right now. Ninety percent of consumers report reading online reviews before visiting a business – and a jaw-dropping eighty-eight percent say they trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. This is critical for merchants of all sizes and scopes: seventy-two percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more, and consumers spend about thirty-one percent more at businesses with good reviews. In short, get your customers sharing and socializing – it’s good for business all year long.

3. Pop-Up Experiences

As e-commerce continues to impact the brick-and-mortar retail experience, expect businesses to set up temporary shops this Valentine’s Day. These shops are going to take a variety of unique forms – from traditional pop ups to virtual experiences spanning social and mobile, more and more businesses are meeting their consumers wherever they might be.

These seasonal, short-term experiences are ideal for scooping up those last-minute Valentine’s Day sales while creating powerful, lasting impressions on new and existing customers. Even unexpected players are getting in on the action – think restaurant-branded food trucks, mini pop-up eateries, pop-up blow dry bars, and more.

4. E-Gift Cards

E-gift cards are the fastest growing segment in the gift card market, with a two hundred percent annual growth rate and sales exceeding $14 billion. Easier to buy and faster to send, digital gift cards have quickly become a central piece of the gifting landscape – and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

So what does that mean for your business as we head into the Valentine’s Day buying season? If your business isn’t offering an e-gift option, then you could be missing out. Eighty-one percent of top online retailers offer digital gift cards. Another critical piece of this trend? Going mobile. More than half of e-gift card recipients say they’d rather have a digital gift card scanned from their phone at checkout.

Your job, then, is simple: ensure your business can produce and accept digital gift cards, ideally from a consumer’s mobile device. If you aren’t there yet, we can help – click here to learn more and get your business e-gift-ready in time for Valentine’s Day.

 

The next step? Focus on these trends to get the most of the Valentine’s Day shopping season. By delivering more relevant consumer experiences, promoting consumer-generated content, popping up where your customers are, and promoting simple, seamless e-gifting opportunities, your business will be positioned for success – for Valentine’s Day and beyond.

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