February 14 is just around the corner, and it’s time for retailers to fall in love with the celebration all over again. So dust off those cherubs, unbox those bows and arrows, and get ready for the first big commercial day of the year.
Rooted in a Saint’s day that honors a medieval Roman martyr, there are several theories explaining how Valentine’s Day became associated with romance. What is known, though, is that it took off as a day dedicated to one’s love after Hallmark started producing greeting cards that could be sent to them in the early 20th Century. Since then, the day has only grown in popularity, becoming the incredible sales opportunity it is today.
Red roses and chocolates are indelibly associated with the day dedicated to “amour,” but that doesn’t mean that only florists and confectioners can take advantage of it. In fact, Valentine’s Day has become so popular it’s no longer just for couples. Gifts are now given for friends, work colleagues, and pets. It would be a shame to miss out on sales opportunities like this, and retailers shouldn’t. Online marketplaces and physical stores of every kind can tap into the open-hearted generosity the spirit of the day brings out by doing whatever they can to attract willing shoppers. They can use romance-themed decorations and images as attractions, and they can offer a whole range of items that could be tokens of affection or appreciation.
Here’s what Valentine’s Day stats say:
The National Retail Federation has predicted that 2023’s Valentine’s Day spending will reach $25.9 billion USD this February, that 52% of consumers plan to buy something for the holiday, and they’ll spend an average of $192.8 USD per person – up from $175.41 USD per person last year.
Here, in descending order, are the items Valentine’s Day shoppers are expected to buy to express their affection this year:
- 57% opt for candies,
- 40% hand their special one greeting cards,
- 37% say flowers,
- 32% prefer an evening out,
- 21% gift jewelry,
- 20% give gift cards, and
- 19% buy clothing.
The same survey predicts that shoppers will get their Valentine’s Day gifts from the following outlets:
- Online – 35%,
- Department stores – 34%,
- Discount stores – 31%, and
- Specialty stores – 18%.
4 top Valentine’s Day gifts that can be sold online and offline
It’s no surprise that candy is the most popular gift to give to a sweet one on Valentine’s Day. For retailers both online and offline, the good news is that edible delights have a long shelf life, many months if stored properly. Sell them in red-colored, heart-shaped boxes and highlight them on your website or in your store, dedicating a whole display to them.
“Roses are red, violets are blue, look what your admirer has just sent you.” Fresh flowers are the ultimate declaration of affection, and they’ll bring a smile to any woman’s face. They’re also the standard fallback for men who want to woo or just say, “See, I remembered.” Most people tend to order these floral tributes at the last minute – note bouquets nowadays can be made up of fruit – so a retailer has to be geared up in advance to have enough of the blossom arrangements ready and to have the people lined up to deliver them. An enterprising business person could make their bunches stand out from others by placing something extra among the stems like balloons or little cupids shooting arrows. Combine the flowers with chocolates, and you have the ultimate heart melter.
3. Dinner out
Along with the flowers and chocolates, there’s nothing that says Valentine’s Day more than a romantic meal for two in a high-class restaurant, and fine-dining eateries offer special menus for this day. But as the spending power of Millennials grows, other ways to mark Valentine’s are coming into the mix. This age group was identified as preferring experiences over consumerism a while ago, and now that they have the spending power to make them really special, a concert or a weekend away can replace the candle-lit dinner.
For businesses, this new attitude offers a whole host of opportunities. Event organizers and retailers both online and offline can team up with restaurants to offer coupons along with purchases.
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but any piece of jewelry is appreciate on Valentine’s Day. There’s an emotional aspect to jewelry when it’s given as a gift; it’s imbued with romantic connotations. For retailers, it’s always a good idea to offer engraving for personalization.
Marketing ideas for Valentine’s Day
1. Have a sale, give discounts, present offers.
Valentine’s Day may be a boon for retailers, but the lovestruck have lots of choices when it comes to shelling out their hard-earned cash for those be-mine gifts. Vendors can stand out from the crowd by offering compelling deals and discounts. A limited and exclusive sale especially for gifting lovers could start online a few days before Valentine’s Day and, to attract last-minute shoppers, special offers could be promoted on the actual holiday.
Of course, you can’t overlook social media when it comes to advertising this kind of thing, or forget about personalized emails. If you choose to go this route, keep in mind that these marketing messages work best when they target potential customers individually; generalized messages that go out to everyone are not a good idea.
An inventory-management software like Cin7 Core is perfect for marketing in this way. It has all your customers’ information in one place and can segregate them into whatever criteria you choose – gender, age, location, etc. – getting those targeted emails to guys who are likely to buy something for their valentine or valentines (wink!).
2. Create gift guides.
If you decide not to hold sales or have special promotional offers, you have to open your window wide and let everyone know what gifts people can buy from you. This means showcasing all the products and services you have that are appropriate for Valentine’s Day.
Well before February 14th, send out blogs and online newsletters, both on your site and your social media, laying out all the items you stock that could be ideal romance-themed gifts. It’s a good way to get lovers both young and old to consider you over others.
Putting together a collection of items is a great way to attract those Valentine’s Day shoppers who want something more, who want to make a bigger impression. There could be a “for her” basket containing champagne, perfume, chocolates, pieces of jewelry, and a soft toy; or “for him” you could put together a bottle of wine, something in leather like a wallet, something tech, and a gadget. Get creative and use a unifying color or motif, anything to grab the attention of a prospective customer.
4. Offer gifts especially for couples.
Here we’re talking him-and-her gifts, matching items couples can enjoy. His-and-her clothing like T-shirts, one saying “him” the other saying “her,” come to mind. Or it could be jewelry like rings that bear the couple’s names or something else that expresses their deep commitment to each other. The possibilities are endless, and it’s a good idea to have at least some of these interchangeable items for sale.
A lot of sales are made for Valentine’s Day, and concentrated on a single day as they are, a lot of extra work has to be put in for it by retailers, both online and offline. Logistics have to be worked out, stock levels have to be able to cope, and orders have – have – to go out on time, on that single day.
Investing in a sophisticated tool like Cin7 Core could be one of the best decisions you make. It will enable you to take care of those Valentine’s Day orders no matter how many sales channels you have, and it will make inventory management and order fulfillment seamless.
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