Editor's note: This article has been contributed by Satya Ganni who is a co-founder at MartMobi, a startup that helps you sell online and they're just getting ready for the Valentine’s shopping rush. This article gives good insight into how big the market is and how small businesses can prepare themselves.
Valentine’s Day -one of the most popular occasions worldwide- is celebrated by giving gifts to loved ones. Until a few years ago, Valentine’s Day in India was men trying to woo women with red roses, but there is a lot more to it now. Indian men and women have become increasingly adventurous with their expression of love, expanding their range of gifts and consequently spiking e-commerce.
A made-up holiday, Valentine’s Day has nevertheless become one of the biggest shopping festivals around the world. How big? In 2013, Valentine’s Day spending in India was estimated at INR 15 billion and projected to grow at 25% in 2015. February 14th has become one of the three major shopping festivals along with Diwali and Raksha Bandhan. This is thanks to a series of commercial holidays around the theme of love starting with Rose Day on February 7th followed by Proposal Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day, Promise Day, Kiss Day, Hug Day all culminating into Valentine’s Day on February 14th.
According to Business Insider, 53% of surveyed women were likely to end their relationship if they didn’t receive a gift on Valentine’s Day (make sure you have a reminder to avoid a broken heart!). Studies show men spend twice as much as women during the festival week. Working men and women spend anywhere from INR 1,000 to INR 60,000, while students spend between INR 500 to INR 10,000. Merchants who want a cut of this enormous love pie are already prepping their stores, both online and offline, for the Valentine’s Day rush.
While traditional gifts like jewellery, stuffed toys, flowers and chocolate will see their highest sales during the period, over the years, people have become bold and progressive with their gifting ideas. Buyers of all ages scour shops for unique ideas to make Valentine’s Day a memorable experience. Categories such as clothing and accessories, novelty and hobbies, electronics, adult and lingerie, travel, wedding, home décor, animal, books, music, health and even naming a star are now expressions of love. Snapdeal a few years ago sold Durex condoms for one rupee on Feb 14th – one of the more innovative e-commerce sales.
Looking at the current growth of mobile commerce in India, smartphones are undoubtedly going to play a very crucial role this year. It is expected that more than 50% of the total sales will come from smartphones. To the frustration of many mobile shoppers, many online retailers are woefully unprepared to handle excess traffic festivals bring in. If you are able to give your shopper a unique experience that combines quick service, low pricing and personalised attention, you’re likely to win a loyal customer. Repeat customers in just the jewellery and floral industries represent 33% of total revenue.
With Valentine’s Day in less the three weeks, now is a good time to make sure your mobile website and apps are ready to offer a great Valentine’s shopping experience. Audit your website, investigate any potential issues and fix them soon, as you don’t want to miss out on a lucrative holiday.
Here are 5 things that merchants can do to maximise their Valentine’s Day sales:
1. SEO: Online merchants need to build their SEO profile so they are discovered when a user searches for “nearby florist” or “Valentine’s Day jewellery”.
2. Sharing: Shoppers should be allowed to easily share their favourite items on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to increase the likelihood of referral traffic.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.