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Author: Haley Henschel

How to Win Valentine’s Day with Commerce Content

How to Win Valentine’s Day with Commerce Content

As Valentine’s Day 2019 approaches, love may be in the air, but so are plenty of questions surrounding your approach to a relevant content marketing strategy.

Let’s face it: This is one divisive holiday. Some of us see it as an opportunity to splurge on elaborate romantic gestures for a partner — but plenty others brush it off as a tacky, singlehood-snubbing affair that’s commercialism at its worst.

No matter which of those viewpoints you ascribe to, the statistics don’t lie: Valentine’s Day spending is projected to surpass $20 billion this year, with participatory buyers expected to plunk down an average of $162 apiece — up nearly 13% from last year. What’s more, today’s consumers are looking beyond their significant others while they’re shopping, with gifts for non-romantic recipients (i.e., friends, family, co-workers, classmates, and even pets) on the rise. And among younger consumers, the holiday presents a perfect opportunity to treat themselves to something special, whether it be a physical gift or some much-needed self care.

Moral of the story: Contentious as it may be, people are still willing to spend, spend, spend for the Valentine’s Day experience of their choosing. With that in mind, here are five tips on how to craft an effective native commerce strategy for the holiday that both you and your audience adore.

1. Stay true to your brand.

Say you’re a publisher that covers the latest in tech. Would you run a Valentine’s Day special for artisanal candles that smell like conversation hearts? No. No you would not.

That’s an extreme example, but the message holds: Make sure your festive sales don’t seem out of place among the rest of your content. That way, your native commerce offerings can live happily next to editorial content without distracting or alienating any readers, creating a seamless user experience.

Image via Good Housekeeping

2. Give roundups a try.

Consumers may know who they’re shopping for, but they don’t always know *what* they’re shopping for. Give them a few ideas by throwing together a roundup or two that’s personalized for a specific recipient.

This approach works especially well if you want to optimize your content for SEO, because it’s easy to toss in themed keywords throughout your copy without them seeming forced. (Pro tip: “Gifts for [her, boyfriend, husband etc.]” searches are ridiculously popular ‘round this time of year.)

3. Beat the competition.

Spoiler alert: Everyone else is offering some pretty great deals, too. Up your game to stand out by offering limited-time perks, like free shipping or two-for-one bargains. Consumers have a *lot* of Valentine’s Day ads to wade through, so you need to go the extra mile to get them to care about your sales.

4. Make single shoppers feel included.

… Because even though they’re not buying for a significant other, they’re still buying. The National Retail Federation reports that about one in four people who aren’t technically celebrating the holiday still plan on picking up a little something special for themselves, celebrating with their fellow singles, or hunting down an “anti-Valentine’s Day” gift. (Millennials and Gen Zers are huge fans of this approach.)

Another popular purchase among singles this V-Day? Gifts for their pets. With a quarter of consumers under the age of 35 planning on buying a festive present for their animal companions, literal millions of dollars will be spent on Fluffy and Fido come February 14. See if you can scrounge up some deals just for them, whether it’s a pet camera, a dog DNA test, or a powerful new vacuum to combat all that hair.

Image via Mashable

5. Be aware that timing really is everything.

Research has shown that most shoppers wait ‘til the very last minute to get their online Valentine’s Day shopping done (especially when it comes to flower purchases), with web traffic peaking on February 12 and 13. As such, you’ll want to organize your promotions accordingly by pacing deals to increase in quality and quantity as the holiday approaches.

Now, this isn’t a free pass to put off planning your Valentine’s Day strategy to the last minute. (You know better than that.) But as far as deals go, feel free to plan those babies out well through the big day.

Want even more tips on how to get the most out of Valentine’s Day marketing strategy? Click here to partner with StackCommerce and let us source amazing deals that fit your audience.

DIGITAL NATIVES: HOW GEN Z IS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF NATIVE COMMERCE

DIGITAL NATIVES: HOW GEN Z IS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF NATIVE COMMERCE

The CEO of an analytics firm once went on the record to declare that Generation Z “will be the most sophisticated consumers in the history of consumerism.” That might shock a lot of brands, as Gen Z — that is, the post-Millennial demographic born after 1997 — is perhaps most widely known as a bunch of detached, distracted screen junkies who recently decided it was cool to eat Tide Pods ironically.

Unlike their predecessors, Gen Z has had a lifelong relationship with the internet and can be tricky when it comes to marketing. Many brands simply don’t take Gen Z seriously, or even worse, just lump them in with Millennials.

Here’s the thing, though: research has shown that Gen Z’s internet-centric lifestyle has shaped them into thoughtful buyers who make well-informed purchases and eagerly interact with brands. In other words, they know what they want and aren’t afraid to seek it out. Plus, they’re on track to be the largest demographic of consumers by 2020 with enormous direct spending power — anywhere from $29 to $500 billion, depending on who you ask.

So, without further ado, here’s how you can structure your native commerce strategy so as not to miss out on Gen Z as a major market opportunity.

1. Make authenticity a priority.

Gen Zers are just like Baby Boomers in that they’re hesitant to offer up their personal info unless a brand is transparent with its benefits. And since they grew up bombarded with targeted ads, they prefer ads that are authentic and relatable, not outwardly persuasive or motivated merely by a desire to sell.

As a business, you’re best off portraying yourself to Gen Z less like a brand and more like a person. Native content make this an easy approach to adopt, providing a venue in which you can engage with the reader/consumer in a friendly, conversational voice, as if you were talking and making recommendations to an old pal rather than a client.

2. Help great deals shine.

When it comes to thriftiness, Gen Z are even shrewder than diamond-killing Millennials. In fact, experts say that modern teenagers will go so far as to encourage stronger price sensitivity within their own parents.

Since the average attention span of a Gen Zer is only about 8 seconds, it’s necessary to clearly (but casually) mention a product’s value or discount within the first few sentences of a post (in the headline is even better). Put a deal down the copy any further, and the reader will deem your message irrelevant and simply scroll on by.

gen z native commerce

3. Make your content easily shareable.

Having grown up idolizing social media influencers rather than traditional celebrities, Gen Z loves sharing content and — more importantly — loves being noticed for sharing content. Make it easier for them to do so in just a click or two by adding sharing buttons wherever possible, and making sure your site’s loading speeds are lightning fast.

Oh, and on a related note: Gen Z isn’t as active on Facebook as older generations, but that’s not to say they completely shun it. Studies have shown that they divide their time pretty evenly between Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, with the former being used primarily for engaging with brands to find deals and discounts. That makes the Zuck’s social network a great home for your native content.

4. Add a short, informative videos to posts whenever possible.

Not only does Gen Z love to watch videos — nine out of ten of them report visiting YouTube every day — but they love to learn by watching videos. When it comes to native content, then, consider embedding clips of product demonstrations or informative footage of products in action in your posts to further engage the demographic.

That being said, make sure the clips are brief — remember, a Gen Zer’s average attention span is only a few seconds long; anything longer than a minute or so will be considered a waste of their time.

5. Having a mobile-friendly site will be even more important than it is now.

A 2016 Google report summed it up best: “While Millennials were mobile pioneers, teens are mobile natives.” They got their first phones at a younger age than their predecessors, and dedicate hours of their attention every day to their devices.

Given their intimate relationship with phones, then, it should come as no surprise that much of Gen Z’s spending is done via smartphone. As such, creating content that’s optimized for mobile viewing won’t just be an option, but an absolute must. And if you provide Gen Z with a seamless content experience that doesn’t involve waiting for pages to load or flipping between apps, you can bet that they’ll be back — wallets at the ready — time and time again.