Get ready for the flying Cupids and candy hearts because Valentine’s Day is exactly one month away. If you haven’t already, you may notice a quick change from reds and greens to reds and pinks in your email inboxes and local shops. It’s understood that Valentine’s Day consumer spending only falls second to Christmas, but while there isn’t much of a comparison to the Holiday and Christmas season, flower shops, restaurants, jewelry retailers, and even beauty salons tend to make a pretty penny around this holiday. If patterns hold from previous years, businesses should anticipate a big, last-minute rush of sales within the four days leading up to February 14th.
Here are 6 ways to prepare for the season of love.
- Know Your History
Take a look at last year’s numbers and the numbers from the year before that. Did you see a drop in sales? A rise? What did you do differently from 2013 to 2014 and what can you change for this year? Consider the promotions that were in effect and the intensity of your marketing efforts. Did you push social campaigns or newsletters on a consistent-but-cautious basis? Decide what changes need to be made as far as your products and services, the promotions that you’ll offer, and how you will spread the word to consumers.
- Position Your Business
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a couples-only day. The day is about celebrating love in general; love between friends, family, significant others, strangers. However, where there is a market for one group, there is a market for the opposing group. Singles may find Valentine’s Day to be quite depressing and some couples may simply be anti-Valentine’s Day. There are no limitations as to who should be celebrated and how. Everyone matters and deserves something special on Valentine’s Day. Leveraging this idea is a great way to attract all types of consumers.
- Promote as Early as Possible
As soon as you know the angle you’re going with for this Valentine’s Day, push your promotions and message out to the market. Valentine’s Day is one of the more profitable holidays of the year for businesses. If you have seasonal deals or promotions, let your customers know. Send out e-newsletters highlighting the products and services that you’re offering and any discounts that can be used. Start conversations on social media and interact with people who are looking for products and services that you provide.
- Get Digital
We’ve seen an increase in online shopping over the past several years, that’s not news to anyone. The amount of consumers who are researching and shopping online continues to grow year after year. Retail mobile sites should be optimized for quick loading times and store and product information should be well-placed. Mobile devices are heavily utilized for shopping activities and purchases. They are also used in majority to find information – store locations, open hours, product information, etc. Be sure to have up-to-date information across all digital platforms. Incorrect information or falsely advertised products and services may have a negative effect that will last beyond Valentine’s Day.
- Leverage Shipping and Pickup Options
Many stores now offer a “ship from store” and “pickup from store” option. It provides a competitive advantage for local shops when consumers are buying from within their community. The delivery time is cut down and the hassle of getting caught up in the wild shopping frenzy is eliminated. If your business offers these options, take advantage of the convenience and make it known.
- Anticipate the Last Minute Shoppers
It’s inevitable that you’ll have customers calling and visiting your shop on Saturday morning rushing to find a gift for their special someone. Make sure your inventory is stocked and in the case that you may run out of a popular product, have an alternative available.
The celebration of Valentine’s Day is a growing trend. Like any other holiday season, it takes some preparation and thick skin to get through it. Prepare early and prepare for the worst and the best will happen.