Remember the innocent days of 2019? As consumers looked towards Valentine’s Day, dinner plans were made, events were planned, flowers were ordered, and chocolate was chosen. The COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent economic downturn, drastically changed the retail landscape. As business owners look towards 2022, a Valentine’s Day sales strategy should not be overlooked by small businesses.
According to NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual Valentine’s Day survey, consumers plan to spend an average $165 on Valentine’s Day gifts and celebrations in February. However, this amount is $32 less than they budgeted last year.
However, there is good news about this important retail holiday. “There is no question the pandemic has disrupted many aspects of Americans’ daily interactions and activities,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “However, there remains a special significance around Valentine’s Day, and consumers are committed to celebrating friends and loved ones, even if that means having to alter those traditional holiday celebrations.”
How can you reach consumers looking to celebrate the day of love this year? There are lots of low-cost and creative ways to capitalize on Valentine's Day. Even if you don’t sell flowers, candy, or teddy bears, you can launch creative promotions to increase profits, engage current customers and attract new shoppers. Show some love and increase profits this February!
Make Valentine’s Day customer appreciation day
A whopping 68% of customers leave because of what they perceive as indifference from a business. The definition of indifference is “unimportance” and “unresponsiveness”. These are not words you want associated with your small business. Use February 14th as a day to show love for your customers.
One easy and thrifty way to show appreciation is to send a personalized note or email letting them know you appreciate their business. Be sure to add a few personalized details so your note doesn’t read like a form letter. You can also feature photos of customers (with their permission) on your website, in an email or in your store along with a big “we love our customers” message.
Focus on safety
These days, safety is top-of-mind for many. If you have a physical address, assure customers that you are practicing mask, distancing, and disinfection mandates and are committed to safety. Read Workplace Safety for Small Business on the SmartBiz® blog for information and ideas to keep your customers safe.
Run a contest
Shoppers love an opportunity to get discounts or free stuff. To run a Valentine’s Day contest in-store, you can go old school and use entry forms and a ballot box. Go digital and promote via email or newsletter. If you have a healthy social media following, running a contest on Facebook®, Instagram® or Twitter® is easy and low-cost.
Prizes can be a discount on your products or services. You can also put together a gift basket filled with Valentine’s Day goodies – from chocolate to bubble bath to a restaurant gift certificate, this is the time to get creative. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, display the basket prominently.
Create product bundle specials
In bundle pricing, businesses sell a package or set of goods or services for a lower price than they would charge if bought separately. A bundle pricing strategy may help to increase your profit by giving customers a discount. It’s a win-win!
Social media promotions
These days, you can spend a small amount of money and get your social media content in front of a targeted audience. Promote special products, discounts and giveaways with a creative post featuring a colorful Valentine’s Day theme. If you don’t have the bandwidth or know-how, consider using a service like Thumbtack® to hire a professional to, temporarily, help you out.
Set the mood
You can decorate for Valentine’s Day whether you run a storefront or an online business. Discount or dollar stores can be a great resource for signage, balloons, and other themed decorations. Go beyond hearts and flowers – visit Pinterest® for lots of decorating inspiration. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, consider helping another small business – hire a window painter to celebrate this holiday of love. Don’t forget about music! Choose a love themed playlist to get customers in the mood. Check out this list of the Top 50 Love Songs of All Time from Billboard Magazine® for inspiration.
Remember the procrastinators
If you’ve been in a grocery store early on February 14th, you’ve probably seen flowers, chocolate and cards being snatched up by last minute shoppers. Not all your customers plan early for this holiday. Email last-minute messages and Valentine’s Day ideas or offer extra-special discounts the day of.
Celebrate the Singles
Of course, not everyone is paired up like Noah’s Ark. Add a twist to the usual Valentine’s Day celebration and launch a “celebrate yourself” promotion just for singles. You can do this through social media promotion, an in-store singles event, or a special single-themed giveaway basket.
In 2010, the second season of Parks and Rec® included an episode called “Galentine’s Day,” in which Leslie gathers a group of her closest gal pals for a brunch full of waffles and love. “Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style,” Leslie says in the episode. “Ladies celebrating ladies.” And thus, Galentine’s Day was unofficially added to everyone’s calendar. Use the day before Valentine’s Day to attract an alternative audience.
Singles Awareness Day is celebrated on February 15th each year. It is an unofficial holiday celebrated by single people. It serves as a complement to Valentine's Day for people who are single, and not married or in a romantic relationship.
These are just a few Valentine’s Day themed ideas. For more information about how to promote your business all year, visit the SmartBiz Small Business Blog. For a comprehensive calendar of unique observations to use, read: Marketing Calendar: When to Promote Your Business.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.