January 24, 2001
Valentine's Day Tune-Up
Make sure your Web site is in top shape for Valentine's Day shoppers
The end of January is approaching quickly, but there's still time to give your Web site some extra sparkle for Valentine's Day if you haven't already. Since many consumers don't have extra time to shop for a gift, the simpler you make it for them, the better.
One of the best ways to make it simpler is to create a gift guide for your Web site. It could be as easy as adding a page to your site devoted to the most popular Valentine's gifts. If you have more time, you can create a more detailed gift guide. One possibility is to divide the most popular gifts up by price range, and let shoppers choose to view gifts in the price range they want. Gift guides based on price are common because they're effective. If you want to be more creative, you could separate the gifts into categories based on how long the couple has been together. Set it up so shoppers can choose if they are buying a gift for someone they're dating, have dated for over a year, are engaged to or are married to. Don't forget about women shopping for men. They need ideas too, so make a page featuring gifts for men.
Another thing you should do in preparation for Valentine's Day is add some love to your home page. When customers come to your Web site, they should be reminded of Valentine's Day, even if that's not their purpose for visiting. Remind them they need to buy a gift, and since they are at your site already, they might just buy from you. Add some red, pink and white to your home page, and mention how many days until Valentine's Day. If you have a gift guide, feature it on your home page.
Bluelight.com, Kmart's Web site, is a good example of how to revamp your site for Valentine's Day. The main page is now in various shades of red and pink rather than the usual blue and black. Plus, Kmart created a special section called "Romance Central." It's filled with gift ideas from all departments of the store, and there are even suggestion on how to say "I love you" without spending any money.
As Valentine's Day gets closer, your customers will become increasingly concerned with shipping time. They don't want their special gifts to arrive late. Make it easier on your customers and prominently display estimated shipping times. When it's too late for UPS ground shipping to arrive on time, make note of it on your home page and show alternatives. If you can, offer special shipping deals. Try something like "free shipping on all purchases over $100" or "free upgrade to 2-day shipping for all purchases." And don't forget about your local customers. They may not have the time to come into your store and browse. Instead, give them the option to shop online and pick up the item in the store at their convenience.
- by Julia M. Duncan