Valentine’s Day kicks off the annual gifting calendar and it epitomizes all the challenges of gift giving. Is this really a good choice? Will it fit? Is it popular? Is it on trend?
For retailers, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce social proof messaging and help anxious gift buyers choose with confidence. No more FOGAT (Fear Of Gifting A Turkey). Social proof guides consumers through the online cornucopia and reassures them that they are making good choices.
These days, Valentine’s Day is no longer only for couples. People also buy gifts for their family, co-workers and friends and with COVID and lockdowns, what better time to tell someone you love them?!. Since 2010, spending on Valentine’s Day gifts for friends has nearly tripled, says the National Retail Federation. And what started as a plotline in the TV show Parks and Recs, has now become ‘Galentine’s Day’ a celebration of female friendship on 13 February. Oh, and let’s not forget our fur babies: one in four Americans buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets.
For a traditional Valentine’s Day there’s a shortlist of acceptable, desirable gifts: candy, flowers, jewelry, champagne (other sparkling wines are available) – and (ahem) more personal items. There’s also a trend to giving experiences – something we’ve noted before in the world of gifting – especially for younger people. But as we head on to Mother’s Day in May, Father’s Day in June, not to mention birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, the gift shopping list gets longer and the recipient profile more varied.
You can at least browse online and make your choice from the privacy of your own screen. In 2020 nearly half of all Americans shopping for Valentine’s Day said they would buy their gifts online. But so much choice! And no-one ever wants to be asked to return an unsuitable gift – especially a Valentine’s gift. Americans already return about 3.5 billion products every year. Which is why offering accurate, real-time information about products, availability and reviews via social proof messages can help shoppers choose a suitable present first time.
Social media plays a huge role in gift buying. People use it to look for inspiration and new gift ideas. And increasingly, they’re able to shop directly from social media sites. Social commerce is the latest development in online shopping, where brands and retailers enable customers to buy directly within social media platforms. It shortens the gift buying journey – you no longer need to click away from the social media site to the brand website.
When consumers can click and buy in one place, it becomes even more important to give them all the useful information they need to make a decision. The beauty of social proof is that retailers seamlessly provide relevant information and connection with customers across all digital touchpoints – websites, apps, emails, messages and social media.
It’s important that social proof is deployed responsibly. We draw directly on the retailer’s own data to deliver factual messages that are accurate to within 5% of that source data. It’s this integrity that builds trust in the online process and transaction.
Consumers today expect online shopping to be easy and convenient, to be personal and fun. Social proof helps retailers deliver on this expectation and enable everyone to shop for gifts (or anything) with more confidence.