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Retailers-get that loving feeling this Valentine's Day


Valentine's day... one of the most romantic (and commercially viable) holidays of the year. Last year Britons spent £958 million on all the Vday trimmings! How can independent businesses maximise the opportunity to claim their share of the profits?


It’s a given some businesses lend themselves to the romance and will experience a huge boost in revenue, even with minimal effort. However, Valentine's Day isn’t an exclusive affair restricted to jewellers, florists and chocolatiers. Independent retailers of all kinds should be looking to leverage the marketing potential of Valentines.

Timing is everything

The trick to a successfully building connectivity with Valentines and your brand is to start early. Typically, women are shown to start their shopping earlier than men so starting your campaign early will target these shoppers. Many retailers will start as early as the last week in January to start building hype around the year's first commercial holiday. Create a sense of occasion through music, decorations and balloons. This acts as a cue to remind shoppers they should be preparing to buy their significant other a gift.

Getting people over the threshold is half the battle. Creating an engaging window display will entice people in, allowing them to peruse the rest of you stock and encourage them to make purchases. Window dressing is a powerful tool when drawing in foot traffic, giving you the opportunity to tell a story, make your products the focal point and build your brand. There's no limit to how out there you can go, get people talking, tweeting and sharing! Of course, if you’re less creatively inclined, keeping it simple can be an equally effective way to elegantly showcasing your products.

Retailers-get that loving feeling this Valentine's Day

The same principle applies to your online store. Update your website to include a valentines theme, discounts and promotions. Perhaps include a countdown clock to add a sense of urgency to promotions and discounts. The Royal Mail conducted a survey which showed one in ten online shoppers abandon their baskets before making a purchase. Consider having a pop-up prompt to give consumers that little nudge.

Social media is a great free advertising tool allowing you to build relationships with your customers. Twitter is a great platform for sharing snippets of stock with your existing and potential customer base. Consider creating a teaser campaign on the build up to Valentines to generate interest in any promotions you plan on running. Sharing images, cryptic messages or competitions can go a long way in generating interest. Encouraging your customers to share content of your products, such as pictures and testimonials adds to your social footprint. A small themed gesture, such as heart shaped baked good's, or complimentary discounts on certain products will incentivise your customers to upload content to your social media platforms.

This is also a prime time to build your email lists, standing you in good stead for the coming years consumer holidays. Encourage people to sign up for newsletters and website updates. You could have a signup sheet by the till or note the website and social media details on the receipt. Shoppers will generally be more inclined to do this if they feel they’re getting something out of it. Exclusive offers for email subscribers, such as discounts and promotions are certain to see a boost in engagement.

Retailers-get that loving feeling this Valentine's Day

Convenience is key

Historically men are more inclined to leave their Valentine's shopping to the last minute but they also willing to part with more cash, making them a retailer's best friend. Financial website, Evolution money, reports men spend an average of £40 on Valentine's gifts whereas women will spend just over half that. The key to targeting this demographic is convenience.

Many men will often succumb to the mounting pressure, waiting until the final hour to get their gift. This means they want quick and easy purchases decisions and are willing to pay an additional premium for the convenience. There are a number of ways to do this, on both your on and offline stores.

Creating a gift guide for your online store assists overwhelmed shoppers valuable purchase options. Suggesting complementary products and including customer reviews will help turn browsers into buyers. Again, tapping into the psychology of the consumer and offering discounts or promotions will drive purchases. People are more inclined to buy if they feel they are getting a great deal.

Retailers-get that loving feeling this Valentine's Day

In store, try grouping products together or creating your own gift baskets. Not only will your customers enjoy the minimal thought required, but you can adjust the price to account for the labour and additional wrapping. Gift wrapping is a popular service for last minute shoppers, easily boosting the spend per head in your shop.

Novelty budget friendly gifts should be near the counter. These are the type of products people don’t seek out but will buy on impulse if they catch their eye. Committing an area of your shop to Valentine's display can highlight key items making it easier shoppers find inspiration. This will be more effective in pushing larger or more expensive items.

Conclusion

The commercial value of valentines runs into the millions and the traditional retailers we associate with the day are likely to come out tops. However, this is a ripe opportunity jump on the bandwagon and shamelessly market your business. Consumers are primed to spend, so getting your brand noticed, both on the street and on digital platforms can secure long term custom.



AUTHOR

Erin Heenan

Erin joined Epos Now in 2016 as an in-house content writer for the marketing department, making use of 10 years experience working in busy restaurants. An avid fan of shopping and eating out, she is committed to helping retail and hospitality SMEs get the most out of their businesses.



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