The study was conducted two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day by searching “Valentine’s chocolate” on major online stores in both countries, including Amazon.com, Tesco, Ocado, and Walgreens.com, according to Clavis Insight.
Clavis Insight’s director of marketing, Katherine Wilson told ConfectioneryNews, the research found many retailers are not mapping Valentine’s Day products to appear in a search for “Valentine’s chocolate.”
The e-commerce analytics company said in a statement: “These retailers should consider adding online store listings for a wider range of Valentine’s products, either for home delivery or ‘click and collect’ (buy online, pickup in-store).”
Few Valentine’s related items or none at all
In the US, online retailers, such as CVS.com and Walgreens.com return either few relevant times or none at all in a search for “Valentine’s chocolate,” according to Wilson. It’s the same case for the UK counterparts.
US Valentine's candy forecast
The US National Confectioners Association (NCA) forecasts a 1.6% year-on-year rise in 2016 Valentine's candy sales to $1.1bn
However, Wilson said some of the retailers carry dozens of chocolate items, such as boxed chocolates and individually wrapped Dove and Ghirardelli products, which could be mapped to Valentine’s search terms.
“The Valentine’s chocolate portfolio is available but won’t be found by consumers who use Search in online stores to find products to add to their basket. As it is, many online retailers are delivering a very limited choice for shoppers who opt to use search as their path to purchase.”
US fall behind on 'click and collect' model
Wilson said the UK had pioneered the “click and collect” model, where consumers can buy products online and pick them up in local stores or other pickup locations, such as Tesco’s refrigerated vans.
“The model is emerging in the US, but the kinks are still being worked out,” she said.
Still not too late to take the opportunity
With under a week to this year’s Valentine’s Day, Wilson believes there’s still time for chocolates brands to improve their online performance.
One of the things chocolate brands can do is to prioritize inventory management, watching daily for items out of stock and preparing to react with new shipments to retailers quickly, Wilson said.
“Brands can also make tweaks to product content and product titles to make sure key category search terms are included, such as ‘valentines chocolate’ and ‘valentines gift’, to increase the findability of their products.”