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Mother's Day

eCommerce Habits

Mother's Day, one of the largest retail holidays in the UK is a tremendous opportunity for online retailers.

In less than a week many people across the UK will celebrate Mother's Day (March 6), which is an event that dictates the shape of eCommerce activity in the weeks preceding it.

In 2013 the UK alone made 800 online visits a minute looking at the gifts, apparel, accessories, jewellery, beauty, luxury items and flowers on ecommerce websites, accounting for over 2% of the total internet shopping during this period which is even higher than Valentine's Day and Father's Day.

The total retail spend on Mother's Day 2014 was £1.3bn, nearly double that of Father's Day £658m. It's not surprising therefore that UK consumers will spend a combined total of around a million hours shopping online for Mother's Day gifts and services.

Interesting Points to Note

  • Searches for Mother's Day related terms usually start to ramp up about 4 weeks before the actual date.
  • In 2012 retailers who included the phrase 'mother's day' in the subject line of their emails saw a 61% increase in transaction rates.
  • Searches for gifts are five times more popular than flowers, although there is always a late surge in searches for flowers for last minute online shoppers.
  • Searches including the word 'homemade' more than doubled in 2012 compared to the previous year, while the increase in searches for novelty gifts increased tenfold.
  • 27% of Mother's day of sales are driven by shopping advice sites. This highlights the importance of "review" and other "product advice" content in the journey to purchase.
  • Around 20% of sales are driven by special offers and vouchers.
  • The Google UK Retail Blog reported an interesting Mother's Day trend which showed TWO peaks for Mother's Day queries in the UK; the first being in the run up to Mother's Day in the UK and a second significant volume of searches in the UK a month later for US Mother's Day (2nd Sunday in May).

Web eCommerce Agility

Online retailers need to pay just as much attention to major events as their high street contemporaries and, arguably, have the ability to be more agile when it comes to time-sensitive circumstances.

Spokesperson, Mark Haviland, MD at Rakuten Marketing, commented that "Online retailers were given a golden opportunity to make the most of eCommerce's innate flexibility in the run up to Mother's Day, since millions of consumers were on the lookout for affordable deals on gifts and experiences."

James Murray, Digital Insights Manager at Experian Marketing Services says national events such as Mother's Day are getting bigger every year for online retailers, due to the fact more and more of the UK's shopping is now done online, rather than in-store.

He added, "However, although overall more visits are being made the amount of time spent on site per visit is declining quite rapidly. This is in line with trends we saw over Christmas, where consumers are short on time and skimming through sites looking for the perfect gift. More than ever it is becoming imperative for brand to make onsite navigation as simple and intuitive as possible and to highlight offers clearly on the homepage to make the user experience as seamless as possible."

Consumers take to the web in order to search for products and offers. eCommerce sites are able to cater to these needs in a bespoke manner. This not only includes incentivising purchases through the implementation of time-sensitive offers, but also the integration of location-based deals, so that people in specific areas are more likely to search for and discover your site/product.

Smartphone Transactions

Last year, Rakuten's affiliate partners saw a 169% rise in smartphone transactions year on year, with tablets showing growth of 57%.

Mark Haviland remarked "We all know that in fact every day is Mother's Day, or at least that's what I tell my sons, but this weekend is when we like to show extra affection. And the numbers back that up; we saw sales rise by a quarter year on year in 2014. But with mobile growing so fast too, that affection is coming as we multi-task, so brands have to be fast and nimble to get the right offers to loyal sons and daughters wherever they are. We don't have to wait till we get home/to the office; we can act on the move and that's how many of us are shopping these days."

He further added, "To capture a healthy piece of this £400 million marketplace retailers should place a premium on marketing through rich shopping content sites which make shopping about more than just the transaction. Furthermore failing to optimise and make sites trackable for mobile traffic, in particular tablets, means retailers could miss out on around one in every five sales (25%)."

Seasonal Approach

Taking a seasonal approach to eCommerce is important. By building dynamic, fresh content on your website relating to Mother's Day and similar events, it's easier to channel traffic and secure conversions. This kind of tactic can really help improve brand recognition and search visibility of a site.

In addition, the high pressure environment of last-minute gift shopping which goes on around these events, mean that consumers are ready to part with some cash, so they just need a nudge in the right direction.

The week immediately prior to Mother's Day is when most people buy the gifts they need, so planning to take advantage of this peak is important.

A Reminder . . .

If you've missed out on Mother's Day don't forget Father's Day is the 19th June. You should start planning how you can market your site/products now!