By Higor Torchia, Country Manager for Vend EMEA – Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day, retailers! Since the day of hearts is upon us, we thought it’s high time to remind merchants about the things they can do to spread the love. You don’t have to be in the flowers or gifts industry to show your V-Day spirit.
Valentine’s Day is the first consumer holiday of the year, so if you felt business slowdown from the Christmas season, this could be just the thing to give you a sales boost.
- Find Valentine’s Day sales and partnership opportunities
Use this holiday to find revenue opportunities. If it makes sense for your business, stock up on products that are commonly purchased for Valentine’s Day. These include jewellery, greeting cards, candies, or flowers.
It’s also important to remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t just about “stuff.” A lot of consumers tend to treat their loved ones to experiences such as dinner at a romantic restaurant or a movie night.
With that in mind, consider partnering with a local restaurant or theatre this February. Perhaps you can offer show tickets or gift certificates as part of a Valentine’s Day promotion.
- Dedicate a special section on your website or store for Valentine’s Day
If you’re selling a lot of Valentine’s Day-centric merchandise, why not place them all in one convenient part of your website or store? Doing so will make it easier for your customers to find the items that they need. Forever 21 is doing just that this year. They currently have a “V-Day Shop” so shoppers can quickly find what they need for Valentine’s Day.
- Position your products as a unique, non-typical Valentine’s Day gift
Not selling romantic or gift-centric products? See if you can market them for Valentine’s Day anyway. You can find ways to infuse your products with the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
- Support a charity or local group
Here’s an idea: show your customers how much you appreciate them by supporting a charity or organization that they love.
Give your best customers a token by sourcing it from a charity or group close to their heart. This will enable you to kill two birds with one stone: you’ll spread the love to customers while supporting a worthwhile cause at the same time.
- Give your employees a Valentine’s Day treat
Don’t forget your employees this Valentine’s Day. Give them a special V-Day gift to show your appreciation. Doing so will not only delight them, but you can bet that they’ll be so pleased, they’ll pass the love along to your customers.
- Hold an event
Valentine’s season gives you a great excuse to throw a party. Why not hold a customer appreciation event and treat your best patrons to free food and a good time? You can even run a special sale while you’re at it.
If you’re an apparel retailer, for instance, maybe you can hold a fashion show coupled with a special Valentine’s Day sale.
- Market according to gender
Remember that men and women have different purchasing habits during Valentine’s season. Men, for instance, tend to spend more than women.
Keep these distinctions in mind when implementing your V-Day campaigns. For example, if you’re sending marketing emails or newsletters for Valentine’s Day, make sure to segment your list by gender and send different emails to each group.
If you have any data on your site visitors, tailor your landing pages by displaying different recommendations and content for the two genders.
- Inject humour
There isn’t a shortage of jokes around February 14, so don’t be afraid to use them, especially on social sites. Give your fans and customers a laugh by poking fun at Valentine’s Day. Comedians always have something to say this time of the year, so feel free to share their clips or jokes on your Facebook page or blog.
- Read your customers before approaching them
Instead of acting all perky with everyone on Valentine’s Day, instruct your associates to get a feel for each customer’s mood before talking to them.
Research has shown that being friendly and happy may not always be the best way to approach consumers. When a shopper is in a bad mood, it’s best to be sympathetic or even a little reserved. Instead of rushing in to chat and assist them, give them some space. Acknowledge their presence, and then gently remind them that you’ll be around to help in case they need anything.
- Can’t implement these right away? Recycle them for another occasion
The tips above may be Valentine-centric, but with a few tweaks, you can easily recycle these initiatives for other occasions. Events, for example, can be hosted around just about any holiday or noteworthy situation (there’s always a reason to throw a party!); and there’s never really a bad time to surprise or delight your employees.
So whether you’re reading this on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or just a “normal” day of the year, always keep customer love top of mind and continuously find ways to express it.