Valentine’s Day Exclusive: The Disruptions That Let Competitors Flirt With Your Customers

David Abbou
  • David Abbou
  • February 18, 2021
  • 7 min read

Love is a powerful motivator when it comes to spending, and it looks like lockdowns and social distancing have not diminished that impulse. Of the 52% of US adults expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, 73% of shoppers feel that spoiling their partner is needed now more than ever. However, 74% of consumers have reported that they expect to shave nearly 20% off their spending budget due to the economic impact of COVID-19. So did overall spending go up this year as predicted, and which industries fared best and worst compared to previous years? Here’s what we found out.

With total spending predicted to hit $21.8B this February 14, online retailers are vying to attract seasoned and first-time shoppers alike, as many brick and mortar businesses remain shuttered for the foreseeable future. Last year consumer spending on Valentine’s Day was up 30% compared to the year before, while average order value was up 11%, and total conversions increased by 24%. Statistics show that individual consumer spending has been rising consistently year-over-year. Add to the fact that overall eCommerce spending shot up by a massive 44% in 2020 as most people remained at home, and all signs were pointing to an increase in Valentine’s Day sales for 2021.

How Love Trended Under Lockdown

But while spending may have gone up, many industries such as fine dining and live entertainment are off the gift list this year due to COVID restrictions on movement and public gatherings. Tickets to a live show and dinner at a fancy restaurant have been swapped for gifts that can be ordered online and delivered directly to your loved one’s doorstep. While this should drive more traffic to retailers selling products that accommodate love in the time of Corona, it also means competition is especially fierce as there are now fewer industries in which to spread the love. According to the new eCommerce landscape, more spending will be concentrated in fewer industries. 

So which were the big winners and losers this year? We looked into our consumer session data for Valentine’s Day 2021 to see which industries experienced increases in online sales this Valentine’s Day compared to the average for the month so far, as well as how they performed against last year’s results. 

When comparing online conversions on February 14 against the average for the previous 13 days, retailers across industries saw an 8.6% jump in sales this Valentine’s Day. Consumers invested especially in luxury gift items as retailers in this category netted 12.4% more in online sales on this day than their average sales from February 1-13.


But with COVID-19 and store closures still very much a factor, where did shoppers’ turn to for their Valentine’s Day gifts, and how did online sales stack up against 2020? 

Our year-over-year data shows that people didn’t let social distancing stop them from showing their love for that special someone. Industry-wide, online conversions went up significantly — by 57.8% this Valentine’s Day of over the previous year. Homeware retailers specifically saw dramatic sales uplifts with eCommerce conversions up year-over-year by 176.1%. Large big-box retail chains (+122.2%) and online health and beauty stores (+106.1%) also more than doubled their sales on Sunday compared to the previous Valentine’s Day.

 

 

May I Cut In? Traffic Hijackers Looked to Snatch Your Customers’ Loyalty

While several industries saw results worth gushing over, the number of eCommerce site visitors targeted by injected competitor ads increased notably on Valentine’s Day as it does consistently with other peak shopping events. The number of visitor sessions impacted by Customer Journey Hijacking on Valentine’s Day 2021 surpassed the previous year by 39.5% — a major increase which shows that traffic hijackers also recognize the power of love as well as the value of your eCommerce customers. 

These companies worked hard to lure shoppers away by distributing unauthorized ads into consumer browsers and devices. Overall, 20.9% of all eCommerce visits on Valentine’s Day were exposed to unsanctioned ads — the majority of which promote similar products from direct competitors. 

Looking at hijacking rates amongst many industries offering popular Valentine’s Day products this year shows that ad injections showed up in at least one out of five customer journeys on Sunday:


Don’t Let Competitor Ads Come Between Your Brand & Your Customers

The good news? Retail brands do not need to sit back helplessly while their customers are enticed by these unwanted temptations — and when their intended customer journeys are recovered by eliminating these ad injections, conversion rates and key eCommerce KPIs improve instantly.

Namogoo’s Customer Hijacking Prevention solution tracks KPI performance for Recovered visitors (site visitors previously impacted by ad injections blocked by Namogoo) and Unaffected visitors (visitors not exposed to ad injections) throughout the year.

In line with data from other major eCommerce sales events, global online retailers that prevented ad injections this Valentine’s Day experienced a big boost in conversion rates for top-performing customers compared with those for the rest of their site traffic, as shown in the graphic below.

Across all industries, conversion rates for recovered visitors on Valentine’s Day averaged out 4.03% — that’s 112% higher than the 2.01% conversion rate obtained from the rest of visitors not exposed to ad injections, showing that traffic hijackers target high-intent online shoppers. 

All industries saw these customers convert far higher than the rest of their traffic on February 14. Luxury brands stood out, with conversion for these shoppers 3 times that of unaffected visitors to their sites.

 

Disruption-free Journeys Less Likely to Ditch You at Checkout for Another Brand

Retailers preventing these ad injections from flirting with their customer journeys also saw visitors abandon them at checkout less frequently. Industry-wide checkout abandonment rates were 49.1% for visitors not impacted by Customer Journey Hijacking, while Recovered visitors left at checkout 12.7% less often at 42.2%. Interestingly, footwear retailers saw recovered visitors abandon a whopping 38.3% less than the rest of their visitors.


All is Fair in Love and War

Not only do online retailers need to work extra hard to nurture old relationships this year, they must also make themselves very attractive to those new to eCommerce while ensuring that the customer journey runs smoothly without interruptions. 

Online shoppers are constantly bombarded with promotions and special offers, as well as other distractions that can easily derail the customer journey and prompt them to start flirting with competing online retailers and brands while visiting your eCommerce site. Talk about cheating hearts!

By blocking disruptions like ad injections stealthily set up by traffic hijackers and designed to seduce unsuspecting customers often at the most critical juncture of their session, online retailers stand to boost conversion rates by as much as 5%. Removing such obstacles will ensure smooth sailing for your customers while driving the journey forward, uninterrupted, all the way to checkout. By blocking the threat of disruption, the risk of revenue loss and erosion of customer loyalty has also been neutralized.

A perfect customer journey helps nurture existing and budding relationships so that your customers can fall in love with your brand. An optimized online shopping experience leads to higher conversion rates and revenue, lower checkout abandonment, and stronger customer loyalty. By driving the journey forward online shoppers will keep coming back and spending, even during a time of tighter budgets to spend on gifts for loved ones.

Find out how you can maximize your online sales performance during big spending holidays like Valentine’s Day with Customer Hijacking Prevention.