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E-retailers appeal to the hearts and pockets of Mother’s Day shoppers

May 7, 2015 01:49 PM
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Online retailers gunning for their final piece of the Mothers’ Day shopping rush got creative in their promotions this week, as one Top 500 merchant employed a rock star and his mother to take to the television airwaves, while others ran contests offering moms the chance to win a luxurious breakfast in bed.

Some of the more standard campaigns this week included one from top web merchant Amazon.com Inc. that gave shoppers free one-day shipping for last-minute Mother’s Day jewelry gifts. Flowers and gifts leader 1800Flowers.com Inc. offered shoppers a 25% discount for gifts delivered on Friday, two days before Mother’s Day.

Others, including web-only discount e-retailer Overstock.com Inc., aimed for a more emotional approach that encouraged consumers to share about their moms on social networks. In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, Overstock.com aired a TV commercial with Bret Michaels, lead singer of rock band Poison, and his mother. “At Overstock.com, we believe all moms are beautiful,” Michaels says. “Simply born to rock.” The commercial encourages consumers to post comments about their moms on social media using the hashtag #ShareRealMoments.

Overstock.com, No. 31 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, also launched a sweepstakes where moms could win a Mothers’ Day spa getaway and dinner at Michaels’ home.

Wall art e-retailer overstockArt.com ran a Pinterest contest where consumers who created a Pinterest board named “overstockArt Mother’s Day Art Sweeps” and pinned five overstockArt.com products could win $500 in merchandise.

While many of these strategies aimed to lock up last-minute gift purchases, data from search engine marketing firm ROI Revolution Inc. suggests consumers are researching Mother’s Day presents earlier this year than ever.

Searches for “Mother’s Day” and related gift terms almost doubled in March 2015 compared with last year, the company says. Many of those searches begin on mobile devices, as year-over-year searches from computers declined 13% while mobile searches increased 13%.

Once consumers arrived on e-retail sites this week, however, many of those sites performed quite poorly, according to data from website performance monitoring firm Dynatrace Inc.

In the week leading up to Mother’s Day weekend, Dynatrace monitored top flash-sale sites—or those that offer select merchandise for a short period of time—in addition to greeting card, and health and beauty sites. Those sites registered an average response time longer than three seconds, which Dynatrace suggests is the maximum amount of time consumers are willing to wait for a site to load before abandoning the site or app, and some took as long as 10 seconds to load.

Here’s how e-retailers’ sites performed this week, with company names, their Top 500 rank, and average response times:

Flash-sale sites:

  • MyHabit.com, owned by Amazon (No. 1), 4.12 seconds
  • Fab.com (no longer ranked in the Top 500), 6.45 seconds
  • Gilt.com (No. 68), 6.87 seconds
  • Zulily.com (No. 39), 7.97 seconds
  • OneKingsLane.com (No. 106), 9.53 seconds
  • RueLaLa.com (No. 84), 10.16 seconds

Health and beauty sites:

  • BathAndBodyWorks.com, run by L Brands Inc. (No. 28), 5.69 seconds
  • Sephora.com (No. 141), 7.05 seconds
  • Ulta.com (No. 196), 7.23 seconds
  • SallyBeauty.com (No. 483), 10.19 seconds

Greeting card sites:

  • AmericanGreetings.com (No. 284), 3.57 seconds
  • Hallmark.com (No. 234), 4.82 seconds
  • Shutterfly.com (No. 50), 8.84 seconds

1800Flowers.com Inc. is No. 56 in the Top 500 Guide; overstockArt is ranked No. 805 in the 2014 Second 500 Guide. The 2015 edition will be released next week.

 

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