U.K.-based Prezzybox.com details how its marketing strategy keeps the retailer ranking highly in Google search results for competitive search terms.

Valentine’s Day is online-only gift retailer Prezzybox.com Ltd.’s second-largest sales season, says founder and managing director Zak Edwards.

The Feb. 14 holiday rakes in roughly 6-7% of Prezzybox’s annual revenue and is second only to the Christmas holiday season, which generates 50% of the web-only merchant’s annual sales, Edwards says.

Zak Edwards, founder and managing director

Zak Edwards, founder and managing director

The U.K.-based retailer launched in 2000 and generated $10 million in online sales in 2017, up 12% from 2016. The majority—70%—of the retailer’s sales come from U.K. shoppers. The U.S. is roughly 15% of sales and about 100 other countries comprise the remaining 15%. The retailer generates about 2,000 to 6,000 orders per day, Edwards says.

For Valentine’s Day this year, the retailer hopes its new “Gift Wizard” will increase sales. Prezzybox launched the Gift Wizard Jan. 1 as a way for shoppers to receive tailored product recommendations. A shopper clicks on the Gift Wizard icon on the home page and selects if she is shopping for a man or woman, her price range, the recipient’s age and the recipient’s interests, such as food or drones. The shopper can choose pre-selected interests or type in more. It took about three weeks to get the Gift Wizard on the site, Edwards says.

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The tool then factors in this information and shows the shopper a list of recommended products. So far, Edwards is pleased with the results. A shopper who uses the Gift Wizard converts at about a 4% rate compared with the site’s average 2% conversion rate, he says.

Product video is another site feature that helps the retailer’s conversion rate. A shopper who watches a product video has a 7% conversion rate, again compared with the average rate of 2%, he says.

The retailer has two full-time staff members producing videos. The goal, Edwards says, is for each product to have a video. Right now, the retailer has roughly 1,000 videos on its site out of 2,500 SKUs.

Live events

Throughout the year, Prezzybox uses several additional marketing tactics to ensure brand awareness and traffic to its site.

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For example, for the 2017 holiday season the retailer hosted a blogger event called #JingleMingle, in which the retailer invited 100 bloggers to a local bar to create and publish live content about holiday gifts. For example, one of the segments was “how to make perfume.” The bloggers promoted the event on their own sites and on social media in advance and during the event.

The cost for the event was negligible, Edwards says. Prezzybox bought every blogger a cocktail, which cost “a few grand,” Edwards says.  The venue donated the space for free as the retailer brought in many people who spent money on food and drinks. One of Prezzybox’s suppliers conducted the perfume demonstration and did it for free. Prezzybox plans to do a similar live content marketing event in the spring.

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Prezzybox has several Valentine’s Day gift categories.

For Prezzybox, the benefit of hosting an event was not only the buzz around its brand, but more importantly, all of the inbound links directing to Prezzybox.com. Link building is a search engine optimization tactic. Google’s search algorithm factors into its ranking credible or “authoritative” sources that link to a website. For example, if The New York Times linked to Prezzybox.com, Prezzybox.com’s organic search ranking may increase.

Having numerous bloggers, who have built up their own following and web traffic, link to Prezzybox.com was very beneficial, he says. While Edwards doesn’t have measurable results from this event, he is not worried.

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“We don’t have strict targets that we need to meet,” Edwards says. “In the short term, we got a lot of links. In the long term, we’ll get blogger relationships.”

Search traffic

Plus, the proof is in its organic search traffic. 77.9% of worldwide desktop traffic to Prezzybox.com was from organic search between October-December 2017, according to web measurement firm SimilarWeb. Between organic and paid search, organic is 96% of traffic and paid is 4%.

For comparison purposes, arts-and-crafts marketplace Etsy Inc., which is a common gifting shopping destination, had 27.5% of its global desktop traffic from organic search between October-December 2017, according to SimilarWeb.

During this three-month time period, “secret Santa gifts” was the No. 1 search term driving traffic to Prezzybox.com site, even above “prezzybox,” which ranked No. 2. By comparison, the top nine search terms driving traffic to Esty.com during this time period included the word “etsy.”

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For this upcoming season, Edwards says the retailer ranks No. 1 in the U.K. in Google search results for the search term “valentines day gifts.” Plus, “valentines day gifts” is the top search term driving traffic to Prezzybox.com between Jan. 1-28, according to SimilarWeb.

Another factor contributing to the retailer’s high organic search rankings is its increased web speed. In mid-2016 the retailer switched to web performance optimization service Instart Logic, and its web page speed decreased by one second, Edwards says. Google factors in speed to its search algorithm.

Brand partnerships

Another marketing strategy that builds Prezzybox’s brand is partnerships with larger brands. For example, orange juice brand Tropicana Products Inc. bundled a 5 pound coupon for Prezzybox.com with every Tropicana bottle. Prezzybox has done similar partnerships with Burger King, telecommunications company Vodafone Group plc, and U.K. TV network ITV.

The retailer also is part of McDonald’s “Monopoly” promotions in the U.K. Through the promotion, Prezzybox gave away gift vouchers that could be redeemed on Prezzybox.com worth a total of 20 million pounds. The redemption rate is less than 1% but that still generates tens of thousands in sales for the retailer, Edwards says.

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“The benefit is we’re able to associate ourselves with a massive brand like McDonald’s,” he says.

Prezzybox also isn’t afraid to “fail quickly,” making the retailer willing to try new endeavors but OK with cutting the program if it doesn’t produce worthwhile results.

For example, a few years ago, the retailer launched a program in which children would do video reviews of Prezzybox’s products, and the retailer would post them to its site. After six months, the videos did not garner the views the retailer hoped for, and so the retailer cut the program. However, it may revisit the idea in the future. The project wasn’t expensive, as it only cost the resources to manage it, Edwards says.

Up next for Prezzybox is increasing its global sales, including sales to U.S. consumers, Edwards says. The retailer plans to increase its paid search spend to gain international traction.

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