Last Updated: January 29, 2021

Valentine’s Day has historically been one of the biggest retail days of the year. It is expected that over $25 billion in retail revenue will result from Valentine’s Day spending in 2021. For retailers, Valentine’s Day is a great time to get a piece of that $25 billion pie; it’s also an opportunity to make your returning customers thrilled and attract some new shoppers.

So with Valentine’s Day coming up around the corner, it’s important to come up with your most creative marketing plan. The key strategy? Share all types of love, tap into consumer emotions, and drive engagement. We’ll show you how with these Valentine’s Day promotion ideas.

  1. Run a Pre-Valentine’s Promotion
  2. Remember to Cater to Last-Minute Shoppers
  3. Re-Engage Lapsed Customers
  4. Reward Your Loyal Customers
  5. Offer a Couples Package
  6. Market Towards Single People
  7. Pay Attention to Trends and Themes Around Valentine’s Day
  8. Engage Shoppers Online
  9. Offer Valentine’s Day Promotional Gift Box Sets
  10. Partner with Other Retailers

1. Run a Pre-Valentine’s Promotion

Like most gift-giving holidays, most shoppers put off their Valentine’s Day shopping until the last minute. Incentivize preparedness and run a promo for the week leading up to the day. You could even run one during the entire first half of February.

No matter what you’re promoting or when you hold the sale, be sure to create a sense of urgency around it. Highlight time constraints or limited supply. This will increase attention and foot traffic in your retail store.

2. But Remember to Cater to Last-Minute Shoppers

Even if you get creative with the early promotions and attract early shoppers, there will still be plenty of procrastinators. Don’t ignore this group.

These last-minute sales are better to run as storewide discounts. People who know exactly what they wanted to buy have probably already made their purchase. And the urgency is already there because it’s right before the holiday. So running a more broad sale or promotion will attract the casual shopper who hasn’t decided on their purchase yet.

3. Re-Engage Lapsed Customers

If you use a great customer resource management (CRM) or loyalty program, you’ll have detailed data on your customers. Target those who haven’t been in for a while and think about offering them a special deal.

A great way to reach this segment is through your email marketing. Send out a promotional email with a relevant sale and measure how many come back to make a purchase. You can offer a free box of chocolates or roses with any purchase over a certain amount. Take advantage of the holiday to win back a percentage of past customers.

Valentine's Day marketing design

4. Also Reward Your Loyal Customers

An advanced loyalty program can create customer tiers within your CRM. These shoppers are already going to make one or multiple purchases. So rather than giving away products that they would buy anyway, think about other ways to reward them. If you provide a service, consider offering a free upgrade, like a free facial for a Valentine’s spa day gift.

Offering personalized and VIP-status promotions give your regulars a greater sense of importance and value.

5. Offer a Couples Package

Gift-giving is fun for most of us, but we also want to buy ourselves gifts! Marketing towards the idea of “treating yourself” has become increasingly popular around Christmas. Do the same for Valentine’s.

This can come in a variety of forms, but the most effective way is to encourage a higher spend from each customer. Buy one get a second item at a discount is a tried and true. You might also offer a small bonus for purchasing a gift card: buy a $50 gift card and get a free item. The additional item could be something that the shopper would get to keep.

6. Market Towards Single People

There is a huge segment of the consumer market that HATES Valentine’s Day (it’s not exclusive to single people, either). Perhaps your retail store isn’t well suited to a Valentine’s Day themed promotion. Or maybe you don’t like the holiday either. If that’s the case, still use the day in your favor.

This is an easy way to be humorous and fun with a promotion. Plus, people love an excuse to splurge on themselves. Take inspiration from Chinese retailers, who have capitalized on Singles’ Day. November 11th is now the single biggest day for retail in the entire world. In 2018, online sales were six times those on Black Friday.

7. Pay Attention to Trends and Themes Around Valentine’s Day

Traditionally, the holiday sells a lot of jewelry, flowers, chocolate, getaway trips, cards, and dining out. Focus on these basic categories first when coming up with Valentine’s Day promotions. If your retail small business is suited to sell any of these, go for it! If not, think about related products or services that you could promote for the holiday. Find ways to follow the theme and make it clear that you’re recognizing the holiday. An easy way to do that is to offer free gift wrapping on any purchase or even free Valentine’s cards or messages.

Also, think about how you can cross-promote products or upsell others. This is an easy way to bump the average transaction up a little bit.

Fireworks in the shape of a heart

8. Engage Shoppers Online

Valentine’s shopping is still largely done at brick and mortar stores, but more and more of the business is moving online. Make sure you are optimizing this arena as well.

Start by carefully crafting a few promotional emails. Use pink and red and make it eye-catching. If anything, it will put your brand in people’s minds. Even if you don’t make a sale for the holiday, perhaps you’ll attract a shopper for the future.

You also want to make sure your social media pages are all planned to release Valentine’s related posts (just like this one!). You might even consider adding themed banners or pop-ups on your website to advertise sales or discounts.

Finally, optimize everything for mobile devices. More and more shopping or browsing is done on phones. A poor mobile experience is a quick way to lose a customer.

9. Offer Valentine’s Day Promotions Gift Box Sets

Shopping for Valentine’s Day can be really difficult! So make your customers lives a bit easier by giving them great ideas.

One easy way to do this is by making pre-packaged box sets. These are increasingly popular for all different holidays. It saves time, money, and stress. And, if done well, looks great. If you have a wine shop or liquor store, putting together a themed assortment of bottles. Flower shops can sell chocolate or candy assortments to go with a bouquet of flowers.

The options are endless if you want to package less traditional Valentine’s gifts, like camping gear sets, apparel sets, or whatever it is you sell. A little direction and the power of persuasion can go a long way towards increasing your retail sales this Valentine’s Day.

10. Partner with Other Retailers with Your Valentine’s Day Promotion Ideas

January is a tough month for many retailers (even though it doesn’t have to be!). And Valentine’s Day is the first major consumer day of the year. So chances are, all retailers are pretty much in the same boat.

Think about neighboring businesses that would be fun to team up with and cross-promote. It’s community building for small businesses and a great way to group different types of gifts together. A classic example would be offering theater discounts if guests eat at your restaurant prior to the show. Working together with other SMB owners will also give you better promotion strategies down the road.

According to the National Retail Federations (NRF) about half of Valentine’s Day shoppers will spend more for a really good promotion. So take the time to prepare and come up with great promotions, deals, discounts, or sales so that this Valentine’s will be your best yet.

Don’t forget to check out our other seasonal/holiday marketing guides below:

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