Posted: Thursday 13th February 2020 in Performance Marketing.

In 2019, queries in the UK for “Valentines” reached an all-time high, up 7.5% on the previous year. Valentine’s Day has become the new seasonal must-have holiday for retailers looking to connect with new customers. With Valentines just one day away, we take a look at consumer behaviour in the lead up to the ‘love it’, or ‘hate it’, February peak, and discover what it means for retailers who want to drive not only clicks but conversions across their Google Shopping activity.

Next-Day & Same-Day Delivery Queries Rise Year on Year

When it comes to customer behaviour, two obvious types of shoppers which come up time and time again, are those that get their shopping done with plenty of time to spare, and those who leave it right until the last delivery slot.

Those shoppers who are always (or even just sometimes) ahead of the curve, have demonstrated to show interest in Valentine’s Day gifts as early as 10 days before the day itself. 

For many retailers, the challenge is to avoid being limited around the budget for Valentine’s campaigns on Google Shopping. Allocate budget aside for increased query demand based on previous historical data, and identify any missed opportunities to understand where your customers are when it really counts. For example, when they’re panic buying their partner a gift.

During any seasonal peak, product feeds must be submitted to the Merchant Centre with plenty of time to tackle any issues prior to the peak in traffic. Ensure all disapprovals are resolved before and set up automatic updates so challenges can be addressed quickly and efficiently so sales are not impacted. On days before Valentines, regular checks should be put in place to confirm campaigns are running at their optimum performance.

The last-minute shopper on the other hand, as highlighted in recent Google trend data, shows the increase year-on-year (YoY) of ‘next-day’ and ‘same-day’ delivery search queries. This reflects growth in consumer confidence as they place trust in their order arriving even under the most rushed circumstances.

This type of delivery, which was once a luxury, is now a given for most successful retailers to build customer trust and loyalty. Therefore, the importance of correct messaging in ad campaigns and calls to action to attract customers is key. Try multiple ad copy with your audience to see what resonates the most. Examples of those who are upping their messaging around this time include florists, chocolatiers and card companies.

Convenience Doesn’t Have to Mean Garage Bought Flowers

Another type of shopper that comes to life around seasonal events is those who want to find a gift they can buy at convenience on their doorstep. ‘Near me’ gift searches have risen YoY not only for Valentine’s gifts but for other events including Christmas and Mother’s Day too. This is unsurprising to see as recent Google data highlighted 56% of shoppers research products online before buying.

Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) showcase your products and their inventory by location to nearby customers. This way of advertising is a great way to monitor the impact of your digital ads on footfall and in-store sales. Ensure during busy periods stock inventory is up to date as to not disappoint customers. Retailers can also capitalise on these types of search queries by ensuring Google My Business listings are up to date including opening hours, images of store-fronts and directions which make it easy for the consumer to drop in.

Mobile Leads the Way 

By now we all understand the importance of mobile shopping and consumer behaviour, and Valentine’s Day has proven no different. With 57% of shoppers choosing to find their gifts on mobile, retailers need to guarantee their campaigns are ready using optimal bidding for increased mobile activity. Smart Shopping Campaigns or Target ROAS are also options to ensure optimal performance during seasonal peaks.

How we shop, search and consume online continues to evolve. Getting creative where customers spend most of their time is a sure-fire way to not only attract interest but also create raving fans of your brand.

So, with the gift of Valentine’s insight at your fingertips, will your brand swoon over your February performance, or similar to consuming too many Valentine’s chocolates, will you be left feeling a little sickly and deflated? For more information or help with your Valentine’s planning, please email us at [email protected].