Valentine’s Day Retail Best Practices to steal your customers’ hearts.

retail best practices valentine's day

Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day? If you’re an online retailer, you already know that the international celebration of true love is a great time to boost sales and to recover from the post-holiday slump. In 2020, Valentine’s Day sales reached an all-time high, hitting $27.4 billion in the United States alone. This year, as retailers cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Valentine’s Day sales are more important than ever. The future of eCommerce in the post-pandemic era seems to be promising, with emerging retail technologies and opportunities arising. Since Valentine’s Day campaign is one the most important marketing campaigns of Q1, every year, it is really important to focus on planning, investing in the right technologies, and implementing a 360 omnichannel strategy, in order to properly capitalize at the end of the day. Keep reading to learn the retail best practices for Valentine’s Day and what you can do to market your business to reap the full benefit of the upcoming holiday.

Valentine’s Day Marketing in Numbers

There’s plenty of good news in the numbers when it comes to marketing your online shop. Ecommerce sales for Valentine’s Day have been steadily rising for several years now, and they look poised to keep going up. Here are a few key statistics you may be interested in learning.

  • Just over 50% of Americans say they celebrate Valentine’s Day. That number has remained pretty stable in the past few years.
  • Americans expect to spend a total of $21.8 billion on Valentine’s Day 2021. That means that each person celebrating the holiday will spend an average of almost $165.
  • Men tend to spend on average twice as much on this holiday than women. Keep this in mind when considering your audience targeting.
  • Americans will pay approximately $4.1 billion on jewelry for Valentine’s Day.
  • Consumers are expected to spend another $2 billion on flowers and $2 billion more on candy to celebrate the special day.
  • Only 24% of Americans plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2021 with an evening out, thanks in large part to the pandemic. That means that more people will focus on the classics like chocolates and flowers and unique gifts to make the day stand out.

If that piques your interest, we have a wealth of useful and relevant statistics for you over at the Pigeon Coop – we’ve tried to anticipate all of your V-day needs!

Valentine’s day Marketing and COVID-19: What are the latest trends and industry predictions?

This year, most Americans plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home. About 75% of people say they plan to avoid eating out, and 46% of people say they’re planning to avoid in-person gatherings altogether.

But that doesn’t mean that people won’t be celebrating the special day. Valentine’s day 2021 could be all about take-out dinners, meal kits, and luxury ingredients for couples who plan to cook at home.

Cooking at home - Valentine's Day 2021.
Cooking at home may be the go-to option for Valentine’s Day 2021.

Valentine’s day looks poised to be more intimate than usual this year. With many schools and workplaces still closed, it looks like most people won’t be buying cupcakes and candy for their co-workers or the kids’ classmates. Instead, Valentine’s Day 2021 looks like it’s going to be all about couples and immediate families.

The demographics around Valentine’s Day seem to be shifting this year also, with more young people in the 18 to 24 year-olds range saying that they’re opting out of celebrating the day. That’s likely because young people usually celebrated Valentine’s Day by going out with their significant others or their groups of friends, which is much harder this year. 

With these trends in mind, we’ve put together a list of retail best practices to help you keep your customers happy and boost your bottom line this Valentine’s Day.

11 Creative Retail Best Practices for Effective Valentine’s Day Marketing

We want you to have your best Valentine’s Day yet! We’d like to see you crafting a digital-first marketing campaign, creating an omnichannel marketing plan for the holiday, and creating a special Valentine’s category section on your shop. There are some other marketing ninja tips for you too. Read on to get the details!

Tommy Hilfiger Banner

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #1: Design a Digital-First Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaign

If you’re not using digital marketing yet, this is the time to get started! Creating a digital-first marketing campaign allows you to target your customers based on their demographics, buying habits, and special interests. It’s a good idea to use email and SMS to reach your customers on a few different platforms.

Valentine's Day Email Marketing
Email campaign example from e-Card maker, Paperless Post

Not sure where to start with your digital marketing campaign? ContactPigeon’s new capability makes it a breeze to set up personalized mobile messaging campaigns.

TIP: If you need some inspiration take a look at the best Valentine’s Day campaigns ever. Thanks us later!

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #2: Create an Omnichannel Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaign

An omnichannel campaign allows you to deliver your message (and your Valentine’s day marketing slogans) to customers across various channels and devices. To get an idea of how it works, imagine watching an ad for pretzels on TV and then seeing a post on Facebook about the same brand of pretzels – when you check your email, you have a coupon for that very brand of pretzels. Are you thinking about pretzels yet?

Body Shop Valentine's Day
Social media campaign example from The Body Shop

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #3: Create a Dedicated Valentine’s Category Section on Your Shop

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to find the right gifts. Streamline the process for them by gathering all your Valentine’s Day merchandise together in one section. We have a lot more information on category best practices right here.

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #4: Reduce Costs by Creating Product Bundles from Existing SKUs

Product bundling is one of our favorite retail best practices. It can reduce your production costs and boost sales, especially when customers are looking for last-minute gift ideas. Create bundles of mugs and hot chocolate, or bath bubbles and lotions, or whatever else you think your customers would like!

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #5: Run SMS/Whatsapp/Viber Valentine’s Day with Timely Expirations

SMS, Whatsapp, and Viber are all great ways to reach your customers and grab their attention with your Valentine’s Day marketing ideas. These platforms all convey a sense of urgency, so it’s a good idea to use them to promote timed events, like special offers and promotions with an expiration date. You can use ContactPigeon’s SMS marketing to get started with this one.

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #6: Offer Time-Sensitive Discounts on Selected Products Using Special Valentine’s Day Badge / Price Tag

We could all use a boost this year, which is why offering discounts is more important than ever. Targeting your discounts and making them time-sensitive is a great way to motivate your customers and a surefire hit for Valentine’s Day marketing 2021.

Macy's Valentine's Day promotion
Examples of Valentine’s Day Newsletter with offers from Macy’s

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #7: Boost Loyalty and Sales via Doubling Your Points Per Product Until February 14

Who doesn’t love double points? Offering your customers a nice bonus will put a smile on their faces and keep them coming back to your online shop long after the holiday is over. After all, they need to spend the points they’ve earned!

Retail Best Practice #8: Boost Your Marketing Revenue Via Secret Valentine’s Day Deals

Secrets and surprises are a fun way to boost customer interest in your online shop. You can offer your loyal customers secret checkout deals, or you can sell mystery boxes full of holiday surprises. Whatever you do, adding an element of secrecy is sure to spice up the holidays. 

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #9: Include Valentine’s-themed Freebies to Every Single Order

It’s been a depressing year for most of us, so what better way to perk up your customers than with a freebie? Including a small, Valentine’s-themed item with each order will keep your storefront and center in your customers’ minds. It will also keep them thinking about their Valentine’s Day plans!

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #10: Create and Distribute Lots of Valentine’s Day DIY Content

In many parts of the country, it looks like a new shutdown is on the horizon. With people hunkering down anyway, why not give them some gorgeous DIY content? We suggest using Canva, or even turning to a professional designer to help you make some magic.

DIY Valentine's Day
DIY projects used as part of content marketing. Example from Esty.

Valentine’s Day Best Practice #11: Do Data Mining on Your Customer Data

The more you know about your customers, the more precisely you can create targeted marketing campaigns to reach them. Crunch the numbers from your previous Valentine’s Day season and the first lockdown to get a sense of their shopping patterns and motivation. A program like Google Analytics can be great for this, especially when paired with Salesforce or another CRM.

Final Thoughts: Why Are These Marketing Tips So Important This Year?

Let’s face it – we are in a red alert situation, and we have been for some time. Retail is facing a callous time right now. The world’s population is sheltering in place and hunkering down. Many people are concerned about their economic future, and plenty of consumers are tightening their belts.

That’s why it is so important for retailers today to refocus their energy on boosting their sales and expanding their customer base. Whether you’re an established business or an emerging shop, this is the time to invest in the new technologies and specialized solutions that can attract customers. 

This is the time to make sure your brand has a solid 360 omnichannel strategy as part of retail best practices. After all, customers still want the fun and satisfaction of purchasing great products and engaging with your brand!

ContactPigeon can help you build omnichannel customer engagement and create the marketing strategy you need to stay competitive in today’s environment. Get in touch today to learn more.

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Joyce Qian

View posts by Joyce Qian
Joyce runs Marketing at ContactPigeon. On a daily basis, she ponders on different ways innovative campaigns can translate into significant busienss growth, particularly given the ability to leverage data-driven insights. Outside of work, Joyce loves reading, traveling and exploring her new found home in the ancient city of Athens, Greece. Follow her on LinkedIn.