Day 1 – Planning your Valentine’s Day Promotion Campaign


Welcome to Day 1 of the ‘How to run a Valentine’s Day Promotion Campaign’ workshop.  The workshop runs from today to Wednesday, 17th February 2010.  Designed specifically for Zen Cart store owners, each day we will focus on one task to guide you as you run a Valentine’s Day promotion campaign.

blog_post_edit Jump to today’s task – Plan your Valentine’s Day Promotion

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated on 14th February by many people throughout the world.  It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s Cards, presenting flowers or offering chocolates.  The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

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E-commerce and Valentine’s Day

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 1 billion Valentines are sent each year worldwide, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday, behind Christmas.  The Association also estimates that, in the US, men spend on average twice as much money as women.

Depending on the products you have for sale, Valentine’s Day could be the single biggest holiday, accounting for up to one third of the year’s sales.  Generally starting late January, Valentine’s Day is not a holiday sales opportunity to be passed up lightly.

Valentine’s Day tends to be more of a last-minute gift buying holiday and is therefore perfect for shop owners to remind their customers to look online and place their orders for easy, hassle free shopping.

According to American Greetings it is estimated that consumers spent $16.9 billion in 2008, with the average consumer spending nearly $120 on the holiday.

Interesting fact: Men are the top spenders at Valentine’s Day.  The average male is expected to spend more than $156 on the holiday where as females will spend on average $85.

While the icons of flowers and chocolates are at the forefront of anyone’s mind when thinking about Valentine’s Day, businesses of all types are certainly in the running for their share of the Valentine’s Day shopping dollars. For example, take a look at the following Valentine’s Day campaigns from NorthernTool.com from the last few years.  (Click images to enlarge)

NorthernTool.com 2007NorthernTool.com 2008 NorthernTool.com 2009

Campaign Types

The objectives of a promotion campaign for your Zen Cart store are to:

  • increase your number of customers, and/or
  • increase the number of orders placed by existing customers, and/or
  • increase the order value of orders placed by existing customers.

While many successful campaigns work on all three objectives, you may decide to focus your campaign on just one.  For example, your campaign may consist of a discount for new account sign-ups or successful tell-a-friend purchases to focus on increasing your number of customers.  Whereas a campaign such as buy 3 for the price of 2 or buy the matching set half price will focus on increasing the order value of orders placed by existing customers.

Valentine's Day Promotion

Promotion Types

Email campaigns primarily consist of two types – Promotional Offers and Informative Offers.  In this workshop we will be looking at Promotional Offers.  There are several different types of Promotional Offers:

  • Universal Discount
    A discount, or stepped discounts, that apply to all products across the board.  The discount is either a dollar amount or percentage value off and is generally applied at time of checkout in the shopping cart.  This differs from Selected Items on Sale where the discounted prices are displayed in the catalog.
  • Category Discount
    A discount, or stepped discounts, that apply to a portion of your products, typically a category.  The discount is either a dollar amount or percentage value off and is generally applied at time of checkout in the shopping cart.  This differs from Selected Items on Sale where the discounted prices are displayed in the catalog.
  • Selected Items on Sale
    This tends to be the most common approach where selected items are listed with promotional pricing in the catalog (and also in the email campaign).
  • Buy One, Get One
    This type of promotion comes in various formats such as ‘Buy 1 get 2nd half price’ or ‘Buy 2, get 3rd free’.  This is more often than not a strategy to increase order value of orders placed by existing customers.
  • Shipping Offers
    Another popular type of promotion is free or discounted shipping.  Variations include discounted regular shipping while still promoting express or overnight shipping.  This promotion type is frequently used in conjunction with a minimum order value to maintain profitability.
  • Free Gifts
    Free gifts can be anything from additional items, additional services (such as gift-wrapping or extended warranties) or additional information (such as a PDF guide ‘Looking after succulents’ or online support for a fixed period).
  • Contests/Give-aways
    It may be tempting to hold a contest promotion, however due to the nature of the Internet it can be very difficult to cover all the legal aspects of a contest/give-away/sweepstake for a worldwide audience.  Always consult with a specialist before proceeding with this type of promotion.
  • Credit
    Promotion offers can also take the form of in-store credits, reward points, deferred payment options and other financing offers.

Harry & David

Today’s Task

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  1. Determine the type of campaign best suited for your store this Valentine’s Day.
    Which of the three objectives (or all three) will you focus your campaign on?
  2. Decide whether your campaign between now and Valentine’s Day will be consistent or will you promote different offers during the campaign?
  3. Select the products and formulate your promotional offers.  Keep in mind that profitability is still the name of game.  Look at the bottom line difference between offering $15 off and offering 15% off.

Map out the plans for your Valentine’s Day Promotion Campaign on paper so that you have a written plan.  That way you can look at it throughout the day (and make any changes as required) and also be able to refer to it as we progress through the workshop.

Good luck!  Any questions, please use the comments section below.

Hallmark Valentine's Day

Tomorrow we will be looking at landing pages – see you then!


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