Valentine’s Day comes as a great opportunity for retailers to pick sales up. After Black Friday and Christmas, the beginning of the year is a dull season for retailers. February 14 can be a great excuse to engage with your customer, and make some sales too. We first addressed this topic for Valentine’s 2017 but now Valentine’s Day 2018 is just around the corner, the big day is on everyone’s minds in our marketing agency office.
For Valentine’s Day last year, we prepared a list of things that retail brands could consider doing. These ideas and suggestions are based on real consumer trends and not just market assumptions.
Google Trends suggests that general searches for the words love, boyfriend, girlfriend, valentine ideas etc. do start rising from January but the actual sales take place when last minute panic strikes! 2-4 days before Valentine’s Day. As a retailer, you should start planting your message in January but expect results in February.
However, Google Trends also indicates that the occasion is more important to the consumers than the gifts. Consumers spend on having a good time rather than fancy gifts. Google searches are higher for classic romantic gifts like chocolates, cookies or a new dress to wear on the D-day. Retailers with slightly relevant products should definitely prepare their merchandise for Valentine’s Day gifting, but for service brands? Valentine’s Day is the biggest opportunity for brand promotion and sales. Restaurants, pubs, spas, resorts or even, bike rentals!
Another thing that Google Trends showed us was the spark in the search for engagement rings post-Valentine’s. This indicates that Valentine’s is a bigger occasion for couples who are engaged to get married in the summer and for couples who decide to commit to their relationships by proposing on Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of information. Enough to come up with 4 awesome ideas for doing better business on Valentine’s Day. Here’s how.
Customer engagement tips for retailers on valentine’s day
1. Find the perfect pair
Let your products celebrate Valentine’s Day. Ask your customers to vote for the best valentine couple amongst your products.
Who said Valentine’s Day is just for humans? If you are a shoe retailer, for example, and you have shoes for both men and women, you can definitely get your customers to find you a pair of shoes that should go on a date together! Or if you are a pet supplies store, you could ask your customers to pick a pair of dog and kitty dresses that should totally date. You will get a chance to showcase your products directly, you customer will engage with both, your brand and your product and at the end of it all, you can cash in on the popularity by offering a promotion on the winning pair of products.
2. Celebrate a bigger love.
How about your love for the city? Or your love for the high-street your flagship store is on? Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to proclaim your love for things you want your brand to be associated with.
Let’s assume you are a costume company and your brand has nothing much to sell until Halloween. You’d think Valentine is just another passable occasion. But here’s what you can do to get some eyeballs for your brand. Create a hashtag for your flagship city and popularize it on Twitter and Instagram. Get your followers to post about how much they love the city too, using your hashtag. You will be able to successfully establish your belongingness and earn more fans.
For Valentine’s 2016, the fabric softener brand, Snuggle, promoted what it calls the “snug,” or “a hug, but with more love,” with snug-related content from its spokesbear, including snuggling tips and Snuggle Valentine Video Cards, which allowed consumers to choose from more than 400 names spoken by Snuggle Bear and five different video messages shareable on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Corporate Love Responsibility
Hold on. It’s not just more marketing jargon. We just coined this term last year. It still means ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’. All we wish to say is that Valentine’s is a great time to do some serious CSR – all in the name of love.
Your retail brand could express love to animals, to everything vegan, to the senior community, to the parks in the area – there are so many options. Just pick one which resonates the most with your brand and your target audience and then celebrate your love by doing something good for that cause. You will be able to ride the wave of February 14’s popularity, and also get some CSR done on the way. Two birds, one stone. (Ouch! That’s an awful idiom, by the way. I don’t think I will use it again)
4. Celebrate couples
Sounds cliche, eh? But it is easy and economical. And most certainly, effective. There must be love stories around your workplace. They could be couples who shop from you or some people who work with you. Pull out those interesting stories and get them on your social media, especially your Instagram. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to show your culture to your fans. You might be a pharmacy store, but love stories can be found everywhere.
Cosmetics company Revlon teamed up with Google to launch an animated, personalized shareable Valentine’s Day GIF e-card program.
Canadian airline WestJet also created a video with the hashtag #WestJetLove for Valentine’s Day featuring two Toronto-area couples. The brand says it identified two men shopping for engagement rings in November and offered to send them to Barbados, with the catch being that WestJet got to decide when they actually proposed to their girlfriends.
If you are a service brand like bike rentals or even exterior maintenance, you can do so much on Valentine’s Day. Tie up with other service brands and offer a promotion for couples like a dream date or a free bike ride, a patio makeover! Or run a contest and offer free service to the winning couple. There are endless options really. We’d be so excited to help you with them.
There. These were some easy tips that shouldn’t ask for a lot of financial investment for your brand. But irrespectively, there are some things every retail brand needs to do to fit in with the local feel and festivity. If your store is indeed relevant to Valentine’s day, make sure you do a little display feature dedicated to the occasion. Keep your store well stocked and try to start from the doorstep itself. Maybe put an easel or a sandwich board that says something Valentine-y to set the mood right. Offer to gift wrap the purchases for free, announce special deals on social media, create your own gift baskets to help your customers make a decision and don’t forget gift cards. Many people still think gift cards are great gifts for Valentine’s Day!
As a marketing agency, we will be keeping a close eye on all the creative campaigns that will be running this Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking to shake up your marketing and come up with some creative campaigns of your own, we’d love (see what we did there?) to hear from you. Send us a message, give us a call or stop by our marketing agency in Vancouver – we’ve always got chocolate!