The average U.S. consumer is expected to spend around $120 on Valentine’s Day gifts, meals, and entertainment. According to U.S. National Retail Federation, ladies spend over $75, while men still shell out almost twice as much.
This might not sound much, but for 320 million U.S. citizens, retailers get a whopping 30 billion dollars in average. Mind you, this is extra spending for Valentine’s, which is widely celebrated worldwide.
There’s also a wide spread not so funny fun fact that 53% of women in America would dump their boyfriend if they did not get them anything for Valentine’s Day. While this might be a hoax, your retail customers sure are pressed or just plain happy to spend more around 14 February each year.
So how should retailers and retail store owners cash in on it? Having researched the web quite a lot, the main conclusion is not to try to cash in. At least not in a direct sense. Valentine’s is there to show admiration and close bonds. Here are some ideas that help you show your customers that you actually love them.
1. Send branded Valentine’s on social media.
This is easiest thing you can do. Practical experiences show that simple flower themes do the best. Don’t forget to include your company’s logo and website address. If people share your love via social media, more potential customers will become aware of your brand. It works, but there are better ways to impress your customers.
2. Do something real.
If you send your retail customers a real gift that would be extremely nice. And not only nice, in digital age, it’s outstanding. Can your retail business afford it? And, by the way, do you have their addresses? A good CRM software can help you keep track on your customers.
Although sending cards, or even flowers or chocolates is super nice, you have an alternative. Why don’t you just ask your customers to come over on 14 February? You don’t have to organize a party. Just give them a gift they can pick up in-store. They will probably buy something else, too.
But what if the customer cannot make it on 14 February? Should the gift opportunity be gone forever? Not at all. You’re a retailer, and actually prefer to see a steady customer flow. So keep the gift opportunity open for at least to the end of the month.
There’s a lack of solid retail customer data to tell if a Valentine’s discount is just as a good as a gift. On the other hand, most people make gift to their loved ones, instead of a gift card or a discount.
So how to be able to offer a gift that looks fancy enough to impress? The key is in how long have you got to prepare for Valentine’s Day. If you have time for purchasing, you could pick a couple of items for each customer group, and bulk order these well in advance from your suppliers.
3. Make a special gift.
If you’re a flower shop, a general discount is a good idea to boost the sales. People spend almost $2 billion on flowers this Valentine’s Day. By the way, 75% are bought by men. A general discount might work nicely for jewelry or chocolates.
If you’re owning a store or managing a retail chain in any other field, use CRM and sales history to determine what does a customer need the most. What are their special interests? Offer a discount on a specific product or product group. Or give something for free – it’s Valentine’s after all, and these are your customers you have to keep.
You do not have to pre plan your supply much in advance, as you can use your retail and inventory software to pick gifts or gift offers from you stock. You as a store owner need to keep your stock flow moving and products no piling on shelves, so it is possible to get rid of merchandise that are not so popular after all. If it’s a gift or a discount to a real dumping price, you customers are much more forgiving for what they get.
Just don’t make it too obvious that you are also dealing with your inventory buildup. Targeting is the key here – if the product is still useful, although not highly needed, it is valuable as a gift.
You do have a CRM solutions with customer grouping and sales history integration, don’t you? If not yet, it’s time to consider getting one, because this kind of retail software solutions help getting your holiday preparations done in a couple of days. And you can get amazingly creative and touch your loyal customer’s heart with very well targeted gifts and offers.
Remember that with Valentine’s gifts, you are bribing your retail customers to buy more in the future. So better be as generous as possible. Base your decisions on sales history reports and financial situation.
If you are managing a large retail or franchise chain, you could test a generous gift strategy in some stores and regions only. Or you could pick a customer group for a test run, and compare the sales statistics to other customers who had just the normal Valentine’s discount. Do they buy more in the months to come? Valentine’s is not the only “consumer holiday”, so persistence might be needed until you see results.
4. Decorate your store.
There are people who accuse Valentine’s Day of being a consumerist holiday. They have sense but not the whole truth. Traditions, including decorations, are important. Just keep it within the reason, and don’t overdo with pink plastic and flashing lights, unless you are absolutely convinced that this is what your clients want.
Start with your storefront. Put out a chalkboard with an inviting message, “We Have Valentine’s Day Treats Inside”. If you use Valentine’s notes, have you shop assistants write these by hand. Avoid printed handwriting imitation. It’s just not cool anymore.
Use natural fabrics to decorate the store. Your retail customers have an overdose of pink and red during Valentine’s, so they may want to see other colors. It’s not too early for a dash of spring green, softened with natural tones.
Set the mood with lights. Use candles, lanterns, strings of lights and other light sources to set the display’s mood and bring attention to your products. Wood and other warm, natural materials are excellent for that Valentine’s mood.
If there’s only a week left until Valentine’s and you stores are not much decorated yet, it’s not be as bad as it sounds. While most retail stores tend to be overly decorated for Valentine’s, Christmas and other consumerized holidays, a store or retail chain has an option to o heresy.
Drop the decorations, or keep it minimal, and focus on helping your customer to survive Valentine’s. After all, holidays are for a happy time but they also pressure your clients to get gifts.
5. Help your customers.
As quoted before, ladies are prone to dump their partners, if left without the attention they deserve during Valentine’s. We hope that reality is not that harsh. But still, it’s you, the retailer, who can come to rescue. Girlfriends and boyfriends, moms and dads, friends and colleagues deserve a little attention, so remind your customers to get something for them. Remember that girlfriends and boyfriends are the priority in spending.
In your retail store, set up signs like “Great Gift for Mom”, “He’ll Love This One”, “For Someone Special”, “Buy One, Get One for Valentine’s Day”. Signage can be as simple as handwritten messages on paper bags, or more elaborate ones complete with photographs of happy people using your products.Either way, signs are like an extension to your staff and help customers with ideas and reasons to buy.
If you have adopted a feature rich retail software package like Erply, you also have Product Information Management (PIM) software at your disposal. With PIM and Inventory Management software, is very easy to make product categories and tags, compare the stock to stock flow in real time.
Holidays are perfect time to improve the stock flow by guiding your customers to specific products. People in your retail chain head office and marketing unit can add specific holiday-related copy and photos to a selection of holiday specials, further boosting sales.
Holidays are a great time to increase your sales. Be sure not to forget you to motivate your employees in the end of the day.
They need to be sure that excellent customer service and great holiday sales results will be rewarded. As retail store employees are like to miss some holiday fun, it is a good idea to organize a small social gathering for them after the super busy time of Valentine’s sales.
A thank-you speech, followed by a snack table or free cinema tickets, goes a long way.