5 ways to maximise Valentines Day sales
For the past 2,000 years, Valentine’s Day has been the day that the amorous celebrate their love for each other. In recent times, however, it has become the unofficial celebration that gives retailers a boost in the lull between Christmas and Easter. Last year, lovers spent an impressive £980m with the most purchases made online between February 10 and 12. Data from Criteo found that over half of Valentine’s sales were purchased on mobile devices, demonstrating the shift in shoppers’ habits with mobile increasingly replacing the way we make purchases.
As retailers take advantage of people’s passion (or panic), how can smaller businesses ensure they’re at the forefront of customers’ minds at this time of year? Here are some tips to help your business drive ROI on romance on February 14.
Online retailers are increasingly putting mobile at the forefront of their ecommerce strategy to engage customers. The relationship between retailers and customers is quickly shifting from the shop window to the mobile screen, largely due to convenience and habit as mobile use becomes integral to our daily lives.
When it comes to that carefully thought-out gift for your Valentine, instead of trawling through high street shops, Criteo data found that over 50 percent of sales of flowers and gifts came from mobile devices. With 2.5 million Brits shopping daily via mobile, it is fast becoming a primary ecommerce channel for all retailers. In fact, companies who are leaders in mobile web maturity see 39 percent more conversions in sales than late adopters.
As a small business, maximising your presence across social media platforms can be one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to attract shoppers. For millennials, mobile shopping is fast becoming the only way to make purchases, with 10 percent of 18-34 year olds buying on mobile every day. Those who are active on social media are 3-4 times more likely to buy on their phone, with over half of Snapchat and Instagram users being the biggest mobile buyers.
Given that Valentine’s is a highly “Instagrammable” holiday, injecting that lusted after image on your business’s social channels can be one of the key drivers that affects consumer decisions. A well-timed snap or Instagram post could decide whether or not someone is getting spoilt on the day.
Make the most of lovers’ generosity
Valentine’s gifts can be a minefield to navigate with flowers, chocolates and perfume all merging into one after a while. Giving your online shopfront a creative boost can make all the difference in cutting through the noise. Creative digital marketing isn’t the reserve of large businesses; even putting a small budget behind online advertising could make a big difference to your Valentine’s Day sales.
Criteo data found that Valentine’s shoppers don’t just buy standalone gifts, but are the most likely to buy cross-sell items. They’re more inclined to throw a candle or a personalised teddy into their online basket alongside their flowers, so retailers should make the most of shoppers looking to wrap up their shopping in one go.
Tardiness is a virtue
The biggest peak in Valentine’s sales happens around now, in the few days leading up to the event. Flowers are usually top of the agenda, with a 220 percent rise in sales. However, while retailers often try to entice shoppers as early on as possible in February, there is still a period after the 14th which sees purchases still being made.
The health and beauty sector interestingly sees sales peaking both before and after the day. Small businesses in that sector in particular should take advantage of the lingering love in the air by running promotional activity in the days after the 14, while there’s still appetite for gift-giving. Whether it’s people who are trying to redeem themselves or the fact that the gifts are always going to be evergreen, post-Valentines could present the biggest opportunity to drive additional sales.
By Thomas JeanJean, Managing Director Europe, Mid Market, Criteo
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”