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Mobile can help retailers find right price points for Valentine’s Day gifts

January 20, 2010

valentines-dayFor retailers using mobile as part of their Valentine’s Day marketing, there is an opportunity to get a sense ahead of the game for which price points are going to be the most appealing to consumers.

There is a lot of talk right now about whether or not consumers are feeling “frugality fatigue” and are tired of trying to save every last penny. For all retailers, the challenge will be to find the right price points for Valentine’s Day gifts.

“So if you take some of the campaigns that 1-800-Flowers has run around Mother’s Day, you can apply a lot of those lessons to Valentine’s Day, and specifically how to extend those campaigns to the mobile phone,” said Nikki Baird, Denver-based managing partner at RSR Research.

“My favorite was the ‘what kind of mom do you have?’ campaign that then guided people to different flower arrangements,” she said. “A mobile app that is a Valentine’s game, with gift advice at the end or even a Valentine m-card is the key to creating something engaging, that resonates with the holiday, but also can provide some kind of insight as to whether this holiday will be a big spending holiday or not.”

As with any mobile campaign, retailers and brands should avoid anything pushy or over-promoting, and it should have a mobile angle as much as possible.

For example, something scaled for a mobile device, leveraging mobile capabilities like location awareness and not just something ported over from an online campaign.

Money, money, money
This year retailers and brands need to tread carefully around how much consumers are going to want to spend on the holiday.

Just because economic conditions seem to be easing does not mean that growth in spending for this holiday is a slam-dunk. In that respect, mobile has a bigger opportunity than ever, because it is a less expensive venue to reach consumers than traditional media outlets.

For retailers who plan to have a mobile commerce storefront this Valentine’s Day (i.e. a mobile site or application), eliminating the guesswork involved with finding the perfect gift is key.

Retailers need to offer gift suggestions to consumers looking for the ideal present. Offering deals, expert tips and budget-saving advice is going to be key this Valentine’s Day.

With the current economic situation, people are likely not to spend as much. Coupons will be a good incentive to get consumers to buy their loved ones gifts this Valentine’s Day.

SMS is going to be really big this Valentine’s Day and retailers should try and find some way of including a text-message component in their marketing strategy.

Valentine’s Day rang in more than 1.06 billion SMS and MMS messages last year, according to VeriSign. Messaging continues to play a major role in how the world communicates and retailers should aim to talk to their customers the ways in which they talk to one another.

“I think in general you want to be as ubiquitous and available as possible this Valentine’s Day,” said Dave Sikora, founder/CEO of Digby, Austin, TX. “Sometimes there isn’t a lot of planning going on for getting the perfect gift so when there is an opportunity to be right with the consumer at the point of an impulse buy, retailers should jump at it.

“Mobile lets retailers be right there with consumers at any time and any place,” he said. “But retailers should not over message people. Sometimes the tendency might be to overwhelm folks with specials and promotions.”

In terms of mobile advertising for Valentine’s Day, retailers should focus on ads that help the consumer move effectively into the store: find the deal , find the store and get a wakeup call for the sale.

Mobile can help Valentine’s Day marketing move consumers from the ad placement to the point-of-sale, online store or lead-generation engine.

Retailers’ media planners need to bridge the consumer, to really get value from the mobile channel.

Vibhav Prasad, vice president of Web and mobile marketing at 1-800-Flowers said that cross-channel message consistency is key during Valentine’s Day.

“Integrate mobile into overall marketing efforts so that mobile reinforces existing messages in other channels,” Mr. Prasad said. “1-800-Flowers is engaging in SMS campaigns to provide special offers and reasons to continue to engage with us via the mobile device.”

A broad strategy is also important. Retailers should not just focus on one platform or smartphone. Diversify into iPhone, BlackBerry and Android platforms and market in each application storefront.

Mr. Prasad also suggests that retailers focus on serving their best customers this Valentine’s Day.

“We integrated loyalty programs into our apps and mobile Web experience so we give them an incentive to come to us on their mobile device,” he said.

Mr. Prasad also provided some “bad practices” for mobile marketing during Valentine’s Day:

–Not getting involved in mobile marketing as soon as possible: People are accessing you via their mobile devices. Don’t stay on the sidelines and not learn what they are looking for from you.
–Creating applications for the sake of creating applications: Only spend the time/effort to create an application if it’s compelling to the customer. Too many weak applications do not help your brand
–Not following a double opt-in for capturing mobile numbers for marketing purposes.

“Last Valentine’s Day we started building out our SMS capture list, so we could capitalize on traffic coming to our site year-round,” Mr. Prasad said. “We’ve focused on SMS because of its ubiquity and customers’ willingness to engage with us in this channel readily.

“It’s a key focus of our strategy this year as well,” he said.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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One Response to “Mobile can help retailers find right price points for Valentine’s Day gifts”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    Great Article Giselle!

    “Not getting involved in mobile marketing as soon as possible: People are accessing you via their mobile devices. Don’t stay on the sidelines and not learn what they are looking for from you.”

    This should be a wakeup to businesses.

    Jonathan Endicott
    Mobile Riot

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