Valentine's Day is mere days away. Cupid's arrows are already flying high, and unleashing more than unbridled love this year: retailers around the world-particularly online-are seeing growth in sales and revenue as lovebirds buy gifts for their loved ones.
While a truly global holiday, few countries celebrate Valentine’s Day like the U.S. More than half of Americans observe the day, spending big on gifts and thoughtful experiences. The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently predicted the average consumer will spend $146.84 to woo their loved one this year—a 3% increase over last year.
This really adds up: American consumers will spend an all-time high of $19.7 billion on Valentine’s Day this year. And while most spending still occurs in traditional retail spaces, online spending is thriving. More data provided by the NRF reveals that in 2010, about 16% of consumers said they would shop online for Valentine’s Day gifts. This year, that had surged to nearly one-third of consumers.
Now more than ever, customers can buy the most popular Valentine's Day gifts online. According to the NRF, those chart-topping products include candy, event tickets, jewelry, accessories, apparel and flowers.
And now more than ever, as the country’s population becomes increasingly diverse, retailers are engaging Spanish-speaking U.S. Hispanics to further boost year-round sales—and on holidays like Valentine’s Day.
MotionPoint translates and optimises websites for dozens of U.S. retailers that are serving Spanish-speaking Hispanics. These progressive companies offer clever localised promotions on Valentine's Day, and are seeing revenue growth among Hispanics as a result.
Let's take a look at what smart retailers are doing. We'll start by examining two of the best-selling retail sectors on Valentine's Day: apparel and flowers. These provide excellent insights into companies that are "doing it right," says Logan Lenz, a Global Online Strategist for MotionPoint's Global Growth team.
"Our clients that truly support the romantic U.S. Hispanic demographic typically create landing pages specific to Valentine's Day on their localised sites," Logan explains. "The sales results can be tremendous."
Consider one client, a fashion e-retailer with several MotionPoint-powered localised sites-including one serving the U.S. market. Each of these global sites features a customised landing page for local consumers, Logan says.
"Those localizations and landing pages really work," he says. "For example, within the past two years, the Valentine's Day page on the U.S. site has seen a 418% increase of visits. Earlier this month, the landing page had already generated about 103% more revenue in 2016 than all of 2015."
MotionPoint has also seen impressive sales on an online flower-delivery site it localises. In recent years, this client has offered localised experiences for the U.S. Hispanic and French-Canadian markets.
While we didn't have enough year-over-year data to closely examine the U.S. Hispanic market, we reviewed a year's worth of traffic to the company's French-Canadian website. (We've found that online consumers in North American markets, regardless of preferred language, often react similarly to holidays and online holiday promotions.)
"We saw noticeable spikes in traffic in February 2014 and 2015, and a similar-if comparatively smaller-spike near Mother's Day," Logan explained. "To be expected, this same pattern is observed for customer orders. Of all the on-site checkouts we tracked last year, nearly 40% happened in January and February."
Looking beyond apparel and flowers, we wanted to know if Hispanics' Valentine's Day purchases skewed beyond the chart-topping products seen in the NRF study. Curious, we took a closer look at some retail sectors not commonly known for Valentine's Day purchases, starting with telecom providers.
Several of our telecom clients offer Spanish sites for U.S. Hispanic customers, and many offer Valentine's Day promotions for smartphones and data plans. Like the fashion retailer mentioned above, these promotions were presented on special landing pages.
How have sales fared? "The companies have some very eye-catching landing pages, but they've yet to see a noticeable increase in Hispanic Valentine's Day traffic or sales," Logan admits.
We saw similar results for consumer electronics. (MotionPoint operates localised Spanish sites for major U.S. electronics and consumer retail chains.) We didn't see any standout data that suggested stores were selling more televisions or microwaves online to Hispanics around Valentine's Day.
“Perhaps buying your loved one a new appliance or an unlimited text message plan isn’t especially romantic—in any language,” Logan says.
If your company wants to engage Spanish-speaking Hispanics next year, the most affordable way is to launch a Spanish-language website to serve them. (An intriguing bonus to launching a Spanish site: Latin American consumers from countries such as Mexico and Colombia will visit and transact there, too. A translated site can serve many markets, at no extra cost!)
We recommend embracing best practices, like some of the companies we've mentioned. "Create a universal holiday promotion page," Logan advises. "As we've seen, targeting North American markets with this type of page-offered in multiple languages-ensures the visibility necessary to capturing more holiday-based sales."
Also consider using tried-and-true methods for engaging customers, but with localised messaging. For instance: Nearly two-thirds of couples procrastinate and wait until mere days remain before buying Valentine’s gifts. Target these stragglers with timely on-site messages (in Spanish) and promotions (such as free despatch) to motivate shoppers and increase conversions.
Connect with these consumers via translated emails, too. We've seen companies use Spanish-language campaigns during holidays to great effect. One client saw 43% of its single-day holiday revenue hail from a localised e-post marketing campaign.
Chris Hutchins helps produce MotionPoint's marketing and sales materials.
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