There are some interesting cultural factors worldwide, that are changing how retailers prioritize Valentine’s Day marketing and promotions. More people are buying gifts, and there is a strong shift and increase in the cultural acceptance for women to purchase romantic gifts for men, in a bilateral exchange. And the amount that most couples spend on Valentine’s Day gifts and experiences (dining out, spa’s, jewelry and of course, chocolate) is increasing.
The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics released a report at the end of 2017, that demonstrated consumer purchasing on Valentine’s Day was increasing in demand, while the dollar value of gifts showed a slight decrease. In 2016, American consumers spent $19.7 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day products, but $18.2 billion in 2017.
A new 2019 survey of over 1,000 American shoppers by Bankrate.com revealed that both men and women planned to spend an average of $267.00 on Valentine’s Day, 2019. The survey revealed that a whopping 69% of American’s will purchase gifts to exchange, and this year, the National Retail Federation has forecasted that American men and women will spend over $20.7 billion dollars.
So, if you are asking yourself whether your e-commerce business can benefit from Valentine’s Day flash sales, AOV minimum purchase incentives, or romantic bundle deals, the answer in virtually every product niche will be ‘yes!’.
Does Your Product Assortment Include Suitable Gifts?
It’s hard to imagine very many products that don’t serve as suitable gift giving ideas. For every vendor that sells goofy gag gifts and musical stuffed animals, there are thousands of customers will a sense of humor that are looking for the uncommon gift. You know, something different than your average fresh roses, lingerie and box of ganache chocolates.
In a survey of some of our member shops, we’ve seen Valentine’s Day promotions for products that include indulgent gifts, or activities that couples can enjoy together, including:
- Fishing gear
- Ambient music
- Audio books
- Intimate products
- Massage devices
- Bath oils and salts
- Facial masks
- Cooking kits (for gourmet dinner’s at home)
- Pajama’s and slippers
- Cuddle and decorative blankets
- Pet products (stuffed animals, collars and apparel)
- Gardening kits
- Art kits
For every great love story out there, some personalized gifts will be bought (mostly online and shipped home) to celebrate Valentine’s Day. But what do you do if you own an e-commerce business that doesn’t provide those specific products? Does that mean you have to bypass the revenue opportunities that Valentine’s Day offers?
Nope. You just have to figure out a way to offer them, with an integrated and branded approach.
One of the arguments for designing an e-commerce shop that has a ‘seasonal section’ (much like brick and mortar retailers have a seasonal aisle) is to be able to quickly add new products that might not be part of your general assortment. You can capitalize on seasonal sales in a number of ways, with a dedicated flash-sale page.
And every time a new holiday approaches, you can bet your satisfied customers will be looking for advertising and social media posts and previews about the products you are selling on your dedicated seasonal promotion page. Remember to provide gifts in your product assortment
Don’t forget that many products still appeal after the Valentine’s Day holiday is over. Consider running a special ‘liquidation sale’ after the holiday, on popular items like games, activities, non-themed apparel and other gifts that you can discount after Valentine’s Day to create another rush of special offer sales.
Get Inspired to Create Fun and Sentimental Valentine’s Marketing Campaigns
What should you be doing to attract shoppers as Valentine’s Day approaches? Start sharing your seasonal gift ideas on social (and your sponsored ads) at least 4 weeks prior to February 14th. And consider how you can run a contest to make it fun and attract new customers.
Remember that when hosting a contest there are legal requirements all e-commerce businesses must follow. First, there should be ‘no purchase required’ to participate in the United States. That means anyone should be able to enter to contest with a chance to win prizes.
Second, the selection process should be transparent. There are many e-commerce apps that will conduct a random selection (and some contest applications have the feature built in). That way you can provide a report or screenshot of the randomly selected winners, for legal compliance.
1. How I Met Your Mother
Build a contest page and funnel to your Valentine’s Day merchandise. Ask participants to submit a picture and a story of how they met their spouse. Remember to design your submission form to include a confirmation of waiver, to be legally able to use the images, stories and names as part of your marketing campaign(s).
Create a blog post and gallery of updated images as participants submit to win a great romantic prize. Some advanced contest apps for web applications allow business owners to have a voting system, where other visitors to the store can vote for a photo, or submission. That’s another great way to crowd source new customers; they’ll be asking their friends and family to visit the website to vote on their behalf. And increased traffic means more sales potential, right?
While some people prefer to give away free product or a gift-card to the store, both those choices as a reward can actually limit your sales. Think about it this way… if you were trying to win a gift card from a store, would you purchase product before you found out whether you had won? Probably not. But ordering a product or two when you have already won a free bonus product? That makes more sense.
2. Worst Valentine Ever Contest
Just as much as people enjoy sharing some of their happiest and most romantic memories, the other side of that coin is even more popular, and frankly entertaining for everyone. While the epic love stories are being shared, give people a chance to let their sense of humor shine, as they reflect on the worst Valentine’s Day experiences they have ever had.
And all e-commerce platforms that connect to Dropified, including Woocommerce, Shopify and CommerceHQ, have many apps that support creating a professional and engaging contest on your website.
3. Netflix and Chill: The Ultimate Romantic Playlist
What is more relatable to your customers, than a contest that asks them to recommend their favorite and most romantic movies for Valentine’s Day?
Gift the lucky couple with a one-year subscription to Netflix. Because nothing is better than “Netflix and chill” with the right snacks and the right person, any time of the year.
Think about products that tie into that activity and behavior, like throw blankets, slippers, sweatshirts (his and hers), big coffee and hot chocolate mugs, adorable snack bowls, toss pillows and more. Since the products and ‘Netflix with your squeeze’ are suitable any time of the year, you can enjoy stimulating sales all year round for practical items.
Anti-Valentine’s Day Sales Strategies (Because Singles Need Cool Products Too)
Let’s be honest. For people who are single, Valentine’s Day represents the last holiday of the singleton trifecta that includes Christmas and New Years. If you are single right now, you are probably nodding your head.
Sure, it’s great if you have someone to celebrate with, but think about all the advertising that features happy couples and remember back to a time when you were single. Instead of counting down to ‘the big day’, many of us were hoping it would be over quickly, so we could drown our miseries in discounted chocolate after the 14th.
When every other Big Box store and independent e-commerce retailer is focusing on gifts for “the happy couple” you could try targeting singles instead. Find indulgent, trending products that make everyone feel good, like personal technology, fashion, accessories, journals (for those Bridget Jones fans), and spa products like facial masks, bathrobes, bath bombs and essential oils.
If singles don’t have someone to love on, they can feel good about loving on themselves with some treats and inexpensive gifts they can give themselves. And e-commerce shops that compassionately cater to or engage in guerilla marketing tactics aimed at singles (in the weeks preceding Valentine’s Day) can not only spike their sales, but they can attract new and loyal customers.
The store that personally relates to #thestruggleisreal is one worth bookmarking on your browser. Power to the singles too! And don’t forget to include a few “grudge gifts” that reluctant ex-girlfriends or boyfriends may want to send (particularly if they broke up before Valentine’s Day).
Good humored revenge gift giving is a thing. The more sarcastic, the better.
And don’t forget about the now globally recognized official “Single’s Day” which is on November 11th annually. Yep, singles finally have their own day as an antithesis to Valentine’s Day, so schedule a special sales promotion that starts in October, to attract new customers celebrating their own awesome.