February 8, 2017, 12:27 PM

5 Valentine’s Day tips for sweet online success

Use compelling terms in search ads, encourage reviews and make sure product photos display well on Amazon.

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U.S. consumers are predicted to spend an average of $136.57 this Valentine’s Day, down from last year’s record-high of $146.84. However, total spending is still expected to reach $18.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Valentine’s creates a huge opportunity for brands and retailers to capitalize on a sales event that ranks third among total seasonal event expenditures—and for which more than a quarter of all gifts (27%) are expected to be made via the online channel.

We look back at Valentine’s Day 2016 to identify the biggest winners online and explore the critical pillars to success for brands looking to maximize e-commerce sales this year.

Who won the hearts of shoppers in 2016?

We analyzed Amazon.com’s top 100 best sellers in the Candy and Chocolate category for February 2016 (Profitero’s FastMovers reports monitor and benchmark Amazon’s top 100 best sellers across key categories), and 23 new products appeared in the category; 12 of these were Valentine’s-oriented products (i.e. products that contain the word love, heart, Valentine’s etc, in the product title).

The best-selling candy and chocolate brands for the month were Hershey’s and Jelly Belly. However, Dove had the highest number of best sellers specific to Valentine’s (with five products), followed by Ferrero and Godiva which each had two best-selling products oriented to Valentine’s.

Pricing in the Candy and Chocolate category was certainly dynamic during the month: Valentine’s products had an average of 10 price changes and a higher average price than the rest of the category ($16.06 vs $12.44) —as Valentine shoppers bought higher-priced gift boxes.

Chocolate brands used Valentine’s-oriented words explicitly in their product titles to help drive sales: “Heart” and “Valentine’s” were the most commonly used words in the top 100 best sellers for the Candy and Chocolate category on Amazon.com in February 2016.

What can confectionery brands do to maximize online Valentine’s Day sales this year?

To prepare for demand at the right time—and to ensure your online strategy is optimized for the targeted shopper—we list the five key pillars to success for any confectionery brand:

1.  Understand the basics of the confectionery category online

One of the biggest dangers is focusing only on your products in a vacuum and not fully understanding what your competitors are doing or who the category best sellers are. Profitero’s FastMovers highlight best sellers by category, as well as revealing important factors such as product rating, number of product reviews and average price, enabling you to monitor and benchmark your product’s performance every month.

2.  Drive discoverability through search

Be sure to optimize your product titles and descriptions with seasonal keywords such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day to catch seasonal ‘spearfishers’ and improve your organic performance. Also consider sponsoring search results or category pages so shoppers can easily find your products.

3. Maximize conversion through optimized product content

To give your brand the best chance of maximizing conversion on Amazon, it’s essential that your product images are high-resolution, front-facing and with a white background. Make use of bullet points to call out key product features, and use A+ (enhanced) content, such as video and rich media, to create engaging content that builds trust and confidence with your shopper.

4. Increase sales through ratings and reviews

Research from Bazaarvoice shows a direct link between the number of online reviews for a product and its sales—and the confectionery category is no exception. We analyzed the best-selling chocolate brands on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Amazon DE, and the top 10 best-selling brands across all markets are shown to have a significantly higher number of product reviews than the top 100 best sellers in total.  More reviews means a greater chance of sales.

5. Master the basics: always be available

Ensuring your product is in stock is probably the most vital area. You’ve done the hard work of creating best quality images, optimizing your titles for discoverability, and investing in keyword sponsorship—but if your products simply aren’t available, you’re never going to win online. The best way to do this is through through daily monitoring of your stock levels via Vendor Central, or by using automated tools like Profitero.

Profitero provides retailers and manufacturers competitive intelligence on online pricing, promotions and product assortments.

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