Posts tagged with "holiday shopping"

Valentine Image by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

15 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Your Boutique

By Joseph Heller

Love is in the air, gals… Valentine’s Day is almost here! If you’re new to owning an online boutique and this is the first Valentine’s Day you’ll be celebrating as a small business owner, the approach of February 14th might have you mainly thinking about what you’ll get for your significant other and (maybe even more so) what he or she will get for you. Or maybe you typically spend Valentine’s Day with your best single gal pals, eating chocolate and exchanging gifts.

But Valentine’s Day isn’t all about love, romance, and cheesy cards. No matter how big or small your eCommerce business is, it can be a day that drives sales like no other – especially if you sell clothing, jewelry, or other gifts. In fact, it rivals only Christmas in consumer spending. If you play your cards right, the days surrounding Valentine’s Day could make up one of your best sales weeks of all time.

Of course, competing with major retailers isn’t easy, least of all on Valentine’s Day. Stores all over the country are spending thousands of dollars on Valentine’s marketing, trying to get people to buy their gifts from them. Sure, you could have an incredible selection of Valentine’s gifts and accessories, available for great prices – but if nobody knows about your shop, it won’t do you any good in the end.

If you’re going to drive both new and existing customers to your shop for their Valentine’s shopping, you’ve got to get creative about your Valentine’s Day marketing. Read on to learn 15 affordable Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for your boutique – and why you really should care to do something special for this holiday in the first place.

Valentine’s Day and eCommerce

The numbers are clear – Americans spend a whole lot of dough on Valentine’s Day. The average American celebrating Valentine’s Day spent $196.31 on Valentine’s Day in 2020, adding up to a total of $27.4 billion spent on the holiday in 2020. Trends show that number only heading upwards – 2020 spending was up 32% from 2019.

Of course, that’s just the big picture – and not all of that money is being spent in boutiques like yours. Here are a few other stats you should be aware of that paint the picture of consumer spending on Valentine’s Day, based on 2020 numbers:

  • 32% buy Valentine’s Day gifts from discount stores.
  • Men spend nearly three times as much as women on Valentine’s Day.
  • $5.8B was spent on Valentine’s Day jewelry
  • $4.3B was spent on a Valentine’s Day night out
  • $2.4B was spent on Valentine’s Day chocolate
  • $2.3B was spent on flowers
  • $2B was spent on Valentine’s Day gift cards
  • $1.3B was spent on Valentine’s Day greeting cards
  • 45% of adults didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day
  • 15% of Americans buy themselves a present on Valentine’s Day
  • Americans spend an average of $12.21 on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets

With all of that shopping and spending going on during the Valentine’s Day season, you’ll want to make sure your business ends up with even a small sliver of that massive pie. Running holiday-themed campaigns and upping your marketing efforts leading up to Valentine’s Day will help you keep your boutique fresh in people’s minds and increase the chances that they go straight to you once it’s time to shop for their Valentine’s Day gifts.

15 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Don’t have a huge marketing budget? No problem – with time, effort, and the right direction, you can still get your boutique’s awesome Valentine’s Day gifts and products in front of the right people. Here are 15 Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for small businesses that you can implement for little or no money.

  1. Send a themed email marketing campaign

Instead of generic email newsletters or sale messages, send a themed Valentine’s Day email that’s all about love, friendship, and gift-giving. Drive your audience to your website with gift suggestions and fun Valentine’s-themed wordplay. (You know… “love is in the air,” “we will always love you,” “gifts with heart,” etc!) For more tips on how to use email marketing to grow your boutique, click here.

  1. Host a contest

Embrace the holiday and host a fun couples contest or giveaway on your boutique’s social media page. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Have participants recreate a photo, do a challenge, coordinate an outfit together using a piece from your shop – whatever sounds like a good time. Then, have your audience vote for their favorite entrant on Valentine’s Day. (No need to exclude single people from this one – you could welcome entries from couples, BFFs, family members, etc.)

  1. Run “couples” deals

How do you make a BOGO deal more festive? Call it a couples deal, or a two for one deal! Choose a selection of Valentine’s Day items that you’ll put on sale, whether it’s chocolates, earrings, or pink scrunchies. Encourage them to gift the extra item to their significant other, give one to their BFF for Galentine’s Day, or just keep it for themselves as a token of your love for them!

  1. Partner with another small business

Community over competition, right ladies? Partner with a local business and share the love. It could be another online boutique or a local business that doesn’t directly compete with yours but has a similar clientele, like a florist or a nail salon. Offer a combined Valentine’s Day gift package of your products/services and theirs. This is an especially great idea if you have a strong local presence (or if you’re interested in making it stronger!)

  1. Celebrate Galentine’s Day

Don’t sleep on Galentine’s Day! Coined by Leslie Knope from the TV show Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day is a day reserved for celebrating female friendships. It takes place the day before Valentine’s Day, February 13th. To celebrate, bundle a few of your most popular items offer curated gift packages that’d be perfect to gift to a best friend. You could also offer a discount when they multiple of the same item to gift to their friends.

  1. Have a V-Day themed photoshoot

Create some fun Valentine’s Day photos to post on your social media accounts leading up to the big day. You could take photos of couples wearing your clothing, flat lays of all of the red and pink items you carry, or outfit inspo photos against a red or a pink backdrop.

  1. Create a Valentine’s Day gift guide

You and I both know how hard it can be to shop for people – especially your significant other. Make the whole V-day shopping experience a little less stressful by putting together a list of gift ideas and sharing it on your company blog.

No need to have every single item come from just your shop – in fact, it might be more helpful and comprehensive if you scour other local or small boutiques as well and feature their products in your guide. (It’s a great way to open the door to new networking relationships, too!) If you’re feeling up to it, you could create multiple gift guides with different people in mind – for her, for him, for mom, for Galentine’s Day, for your pet, etc.

  1. Send a card

Everyone loves getting mail! Send your past and present customers a real-life Valentine via snail mail. No need to be salesy – the point of this is to show your customers how much you appreciate them and that you’re even thinking about them on the day dedicated to love. Include a coupon to be used in-store or a unique promo code to thank them for showing you and your store love throughout the years.

  1. Share the love

Turn your social media into even more of a community. Invite your audience to share their love stories with you, whether through DMs or by using a certain hashtag in their posts. You can make this as sappy or spicy as you want to – feel free to mix things up a bit by also asking people to send you their worst or funniest dating stories as well! Once you’ve compiled submissions, feature your favorites in your stories. It’ll keep the rest of your audience engaged and help participants feel even more involved in your brand.

  1. Show the love locally

Valentine’s Day is all about sharing the love. What better way to do that than by giving back to the people who need it most? Celebrate Valentine’s Day by hosting a service project, donating products from your store to a local organization, or pledging to donate a certain percentage of your profits in the weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day.

Make sure to advertise this throughout your social channels and your website so your customers know how much good their purchases are doing. Not only will you be able to make a real difference in your community, but you’ll also be able to involve your customers in your charity work.

  1. Highlight date night outfits

People don’t just spend money on gifts during the Valentine’s Day season. They also spend money on themselves, buying clothing, lingerie, date night jewelry, and more. Put together a few fabulous Valentine’s Day outfits using products from your boutique and share a few outfit inspo photos on social media. Be sure to group those products together on your website so your customers can easily purchase everything they need to recreate the outfit.

  1. Don’t alienate single people

For people who aren’t currently in a relationship, Valentine’s Day feels a whole lot more like Singles Awareness Day. Why not go out of your way to show them a little love, too? Don’t leave single people out of all the Valentine’s Day fun – consider running some sort of promo just for them. Run a sale on self-care items that make treat yo’ self gifts, like bath bombs, jade rollers, and (of course) chocolate. You could do this in conjunction with your regular Valentine’s Day promotions or the week before.

  1. Be clear about shipping deadlines

Some people plan ahead of every holiday and finish their gift-shopping weeks in advance – but most people tend to be last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers. Of course, placing a last-minute order from your online boutique on February 13th probably isn’t going to work out for them. Add a banner to your site reminding shoppers of the Valentine’s Day delivery deadline. Be clear and realistic about shipping cutoffs to receive items by Valentine’s Day. Encourage people to buy early, especially with COVID-related shipping delays making package deliveries even more unreliable than usual.

  1. Make a Valentine’s Day video

When it comes to commanding your audience’s attention, video is one of the very most effective marketing tools out there. Rather than just snapping a few photos of your new Valentine’s Day products, create a video showcasing your favorite Valentine’s Day outfits or gift ideas. You could create a short-form vertical video using IG reels or TikTok, or share a longer informative video on YouTube, Facebook, or IGTV.

  1. Host a Giveaway

Spread the love with an exciting giveaway. Partner with other small businesses in your community or your niche to give something away. It could be a romantic couple’s getaway with flowers, a hotel stay, and a new outfit, a date-night-in package with a dress, a romantic candle, chocolates, and a voucher for fancy takeout, or an epic Valentine’s Day shopping spree. Just make sure it’s somewhat Valentine’s Day related, whether with what you’re giving away, how you enter, or even just with the images and language you use to introduce it.

While implementing these Valentine’s Day marketing ideas might take some serious thought and strategizing, with a little effort they can pay off in a big way.

Now that you have a few great ideas on how you can encourage your customers to shop with you this Valentine’s Day, make sure you’ll have enough Valentine’s Day gifts and outfit ideas in stock ahead of time. Click here for 15 wholesale boutique items you’ll want to stock up on for Valentine’s Day.

Promotional Photos for Noorullah Line for 360 Magazine

Noorullah

By Hannah DiPilato


With a line that unites sustainability and style, Noorullah is a brand to watch. The timeless collection features unique and versatile pieces that appeal to everyone. 

Recently, we caught up with designer Noorullah Amiri who explained what makes the line different from the rest of current-day high fashion. 


Where did you pull inspiration from for this line?


I pulled inspiration from the Ancient Egyptian wardrobe, which is a white linen fabric that has drape. Linen fibers create a very functional fabric that is breathable and good for temperatures all year round. For the pajama styles, I took inspiration from Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s stained glass window in the St. Peter’s Basilica from 1660. It was fitting to use that print for the pajamas, which you can lounge and meditate in.


The tracksuit is inspired by Ancient Greek Olympians, who would participate in the Olympic events. The idea was to create a comfortable and functional tracksuit also for lounging or exercising in cold weather. I also made use of genuine snake leather for small leather goods in relation to Ancient Greek biblical artworks: “Adam and Eve” and “Laocoon and His Sons”.  And also, lamb leather in relation to “The Sacrifice of Issac”.


What made you want to create sustainable fashion?

In the fashion industry, 85% of textiles go to the dumb each year and bits of fibers from the washing machine pollute the ocean. Producing new clothes causes pollution and there is post-consumption pollution as well. The best way to be sustainable is to close the loop in the fashion cycle and use only recycled textiles for making new fibers and materials.


It is our duty to take care of the planet for a better quality of life. And the fashion industry needs to be more sustainable to preserve the ecosystem. Our approach currently, is to focus on style and quality to create sustainable products. Style determines how long products will remain relevant and desirable, while quality determines how long the design will hold up during its use. We fully commit to our highly detailed designs with confidence so that they can be everlasting in terms of style and durability.


Have you had any community involvement relating to your company’s purpose?

Last year in San Francisco, on Earth Day, I went to a fair to gain and spread knowledge about sustainability, and also planted redwood tree sprouts that can grow up to 300 feet.


Where do you hope to see your designs in the future?

I hope to keep the designs exclusive and desirable so they can be enjoyed for a long time. We would like to have a strong global online presence with boutiques in strategic locations.

It is a dream to be able to provide people an experience from our world when shopping inside a brick-and-mortar location. I have a passion for storytelling through visual merchandising. In addition, I hope to have a limited wholesale partnership with a luxury department store.


What is your personal favorite piece from the collection and what makes this your favorite?

If I have one pick, I am going with the Wool Overcoat because it is comfortable and warm. I can wear almost anything underneath and still maintain a modern look. Also, similar to all of the garments from the collection, I created each pattern piece custom for your body. And I like that it has 4 deep pockets for holding valuables.


What would you say is the one thing that makes you stand out against other designers?

I would say it is my confidence because my design process is functional yet artistic, producing something with its own identity. I can pull inspiration from nature, for example, to create something that is unique in design having function and playing with silhouettes or other design elements.


When did you begin designing and how did you get started?

I began designing vector artwork using Adobe illustrator in 2011. I was working on a streetwear brand with t-shirts and fleece before designing window displays and private label brands for assignments in college.

I got started with the Noorullah brand by gathering inspiration and having an end-use in mind for the products. The end-use is when the garments will be worn, where, and by who. Getting an understanding of end-use is what enabled me to get started with bringing the inspirations to life.


Why do some pieces have only limited numbers available? Is this something you plan to change or continue doing in the future?

Everything from the collection is very limited because there are so many ideas to play with for new designs. The collection is truly exclusive and there will be a fresh collection to build from the previous one. In the future, as we expand our business, we will continue to keep the merchandise exclusive in proportion to consumer demands.


What is your process of designing sustainable products to ensure they’re functional and stylish?

To have a sustainable design we begin with the yarns that make up the fabric. To have durable fabrics we select the ones made from long filament yarns which are more durable, produce less fiber waste in the washing machine, and even have a better hand. We pay attention to construction details to make products functional, comfortable, and permanent. This way the products fulfill their intended uses while providing comfort and not becoming damaged. Along with durable materials and construction, we produce designs everlasting in terms of style.


How would you summarize the goal of the line in one sentence?

To give the wearer a high sense of confidence with luxury only for them to know.


Do you believe other brands should move away from fast fashion and create more sustainable clothing?

Yes, absolutely. The biggest way to impact the planet through sustainability in the fashion industry is to not produce any more clothes, but even that will not undo the existing pollution that has already been set in motion many years ago. And since we must continue producing products, it is best to be as ethical as possible.


Although the demand for fast fashion is high because some styles are trendy and affordable, the price that the planet pays is too great. Because fast fashion produces fads, where clothing goes out of style rapidly and they are made poorly to save pennies in productions.


What advice would you give to other designers about becoming more sustainable?

To source only recycled materials, and produce clothing that is classic and high quality.

*Receive 30% off + free shipping with promo code: 360MAG at checkout available through Dec. 31st.

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Noorullah Wool Jacket Photograph 360 Magazine
John Legend illustration by Kaelen Felix for Sperry inside 360 MAGAZINE

The Legend Edit

By Althea Champion × Armon Hayes

“Giving the perfect gift is about finding something amazing and the element of surprise” — John Legend

Tonight, John Legend will perform at Sperry’s exclusive holiday concert for the press, influencers, and Sperry partners worldwide on Zoom.

“John Legend, multi-platinum artist and Sperry’s 2020 Global Brand Ambassador, shares his holiday footwear favorites for him, her, and the littles,” reads the collection’s website. From a refined, rainy day must-have to a cool classic weekend boot, winter weather doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style.

Take a look at The Legend Edit to see what he’s sporting – and gifting – this season. The concert will announce the launch of the new Sperry Legend Holiday Edit—a curation of Legend’s favorite Sperry shoes for the entire family.

Legend curated his favorite Sperry boat shoes, boots, and sneakers, and they will feature in the collection that is launching Nov. 4. It will be exclusively available on Sperry.com. The Sperry Legend Holiday Edit shoes are iconic and reflect Legend’s personal style—impeccably classic, with a hint of an edge.

“Simple, stylish, and suede… a great weekend boot,” says Legend about the new Men’s Bahama Storm Boot.

The collection is full of modern classics that promise warmth and style, a safe bank, and great gift opportunities for men, women, and children, assured to satisfy everyone on your list.

John Legend and Sperry

John Legend
American singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, film producer, theatre director, and philanthropist, Legend has had much success. He has made six albums, the most recent of which, Bigger Love, was released this year and features Jhene Aiko, Koffee, Rapsody, and Gary Clark Jr.

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Sperry
“Sperry is the story of an iconic American brand. Fashion and sustainability has been rooted within the brand since 1934, when Paul Sperry fell off the deck of his sailboat,” our Armon Hayes wrote of the brand. “He set out to design a non-slip boat shoe, which led to the birth of an array of styles that would accommodate lifestyles and seasons to come. For men, women, and children, he inspired everyone to find common ground.”

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Computer Scams illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

5 Tips for Safe Online Holiday Shopping

By Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz, faculty chair for cybersecurity programs at University of Phoenix

Black Friday might look a little different this holiday season as companies opt to close their doors to shoppers and instead offer virtual options to help stop the spread of coronavirus. While doing so may help prevent illness, it puts consumers at greater risk for another threat ― cybercrime.

This time of year has always been the busiest for online shopping, which has grown exponentially during the past decade. And that was before this year’s coronavirus outbreak caused e-commerce sales to rocket further.1 It all adds up to malicious online criminals having many more opportunities to steal valuable personal information.

Online shopping, although convenient, can be problematic if appropriate security measures aren’t implemented. Identity theft, credit card fraud and malware are among the many safety threats consumers face.

It’s important to take steps to protect your personal information while shopping online this holiday season — and throughout the year. These safety measures can help protect your identity and prevent credit card theft.

  1. Ensure the company is PCI compliant

Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is directed by credit card companies to protect consumers. It mandates that a variety of standards be upheld to ensure secure credit card transactions. All organizations that accept credit cards must uphold the required standard.

If an organization is not PCI compliant, personally identifiable information is potentially at risk, either through a third-party seller or through the consumer’s computer or device because the end-point security necessary to shield the transaction is absent or inadequate.

If an error appears when you go to a business’s website indicating their PCI certificate is not secure or is expired, you should not conduct a transaction there. If you do, your personal information is at risk.

  1. Look for the lock

It is important that companies ensure the data you provide when making a purchase is encrypted. To determine whether an organization is using encryption, look for the lock symbol in the browser. This symbol indicates the website uses SSL, a data-transfer security standard that encrypts your data and ensures the server in use is authentic and secure.

Companies can go one step further with tokenization, which means they do not store, manage, maintain or transmit any credit card numbers in their completion anywhere. To determine a company’s security, look for this information published on their website. It should show what they are doing to secure their customers’ information from vulnerabilities related to personal identifiable data privacy.

  1. Firewall application software and active

Consider installing a firewall software application on your computer. If you already have the software, make sure it is turned on. While firewalls are generally used to prevent malicious cyberattacks coming from the outside, you should look for software that can protect your data in both directions — both incoming and outgoing data — to make sure the private information you provide when you make a purchase is secure.

  1. Antivirus or next-generation AI behavior-based antivirus

Antivirus software will help alert you if your network is victim of a malware attack. There are now more sophisticated next-generation apps that use artificial intelligence (AI) to learn about your consumer habits to better identify fraud. Consider installing AI behavior-based antivirus software before you start your holiday shopping online for an added layer of protection.

  1. Research the business

If you are purchasing from an online store that is new to you, be sure to do your due diligence before clicking “buy now.” Check for complaints made to the Better Business Bureau. Look at online reviews, checking specifically to see if there are challenges concerning refunds or processing cards. Visa and Mastercard have publicly available registries listing service providers that comply with rules and industry security standards.

Once you complete your transaction, it’s possible you will have no idea whether your online purchase has put your sensitive data at risk. It could be years before you know you’ve been a victim of cybercriminals. With the rise in online purchases and the biggest shopping season of the year nearing, it is a good time to do as much as you can to protect yourself.

About the Author

Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz is lead area faculty chair for cybersecurity programs at University of Phoenix Las Vegas Campus and director of cybersecurity at Stations Casinos in Las Vegas.

Posie Turner

Posie Turner believes in the power of a few good words and wants you to step into your power with their premium socks intended to inspire the best in you. Each pair of Posie Turners is stitched with an inspirational message like “BE FEARLESS” and “SEE THE GOOD” to help guide you through your day.

Every goal, every challenge, every journey starts with one step. Share the gift of inspiration and wrap the feet of the ones you love with Posie Turner mantra socks this holiday season. A unique and thoughtful way to say I care about you!

Why Posie Turner Socks Stand Out:

• Inspirational message stitched into every left foot

• Woven with the world’s finest cotton, Peruvian Pima Cotton

• 200 needle knitting (highest gauge knitting available for socks)

• Woven in Peru

• Designed in Seattle

• Softened, steamed and pressed

• Women’s and Men’s collections