Posted by: Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp
At this point consumers have received their holiday bills and they’re paying them off, just in time for the next popular gift giving occasion –Valentine’s Day. For retailers, Valentine’s Day has become more than just a holiday to celebrate love, it’s an important part of retail’s winter season. Consumer spending on Valentine’s Day gifts results in notable retail sales, so much so that many businesses see it in their bottom line each year.
Valentine’s Day has become a global holiday celebrating love and romance that often includes gifts from chocolate and flowers to over-spending on lavish gifts. Men reportedly outspend their female counterparts by two to one. Fat Wallet, a growing resource for online shoppers, is predicting Valentine’s Day Sales to reach $19 billion this year and is ready with special deals and coupon offers. In 2013 CNN reported that 40.7% of people used their smart phone to make a Valentine’s Day purchase.
So how can your customers show their love and affection while still trying to save some money? And what about other good deals typically found in February? We turn to Jeanette Pavini, MarketWatch columnist to help us navigate Valentine’s Day opportunities and beyond. Online and multi-channel retailers can take advantage of Jeanette’s insight and plan promotions to attract online shoppers for everything from romantic gifts to tax preparation software and more.
Here are Jeanette’s recommendations to shoppers:
- The more than 23,000 jewelry stores in the U.S. sold an estimated $2.8 billion of merchandise in February 2013, thanks to Valentine’s Day. Engagement rings and diamonds are a good buy in February and this year the halo setting (a small circle of diamonds around a center stone) is the trendy design. In addition, earrings and bracelets are popular and many retailers will be offering good deals to showcase their products and move their inventory. One note of caution – be sure to keep the store tags on any jewelry that you buy until you are sure the person wants to keep the item. Returning jewelry can sometimes be tricky.
- Perfume is a popular Valentine’s Day gift and many retailers opt to promote fragrances by offering a gift with purchase. Some of the best gift with purchase deals can be found in February. Check the sizes and prices carefully; you typically pay less per ounce when buying the larger size.
- Tax preparation software companies are getting more creative in selling their once a year products. TurboTax has teamed up with Amazon to offer special incentives on their products, offering a $50 upgrade to TurboTax Deluxe users who opt to put $500 of their refund toward an Amazon gift card. Items that can help people get organized for tax preparation will be welcome at this time of year also.
- Travel to Europe is a bargain because it is cold there which tends to keep people away. Cities like London or Paris have plenty of indoor attractions and airlines are offering good deals (with the exception of President’s Day – February 17). Europe’s Carnival season has been slow in recent years and prices are expected to remain low all winter. Hawaii’s peak season doesn’t get underway until mid-March so if you’ve got the time, you can book before airfare and hotel rates rise. Travel accessories and off-season clothing would play well with these travelers.
- February is Canned Food Month and you can stock up and save especially with the family-sized options. Just keep an eye on the expiration dates and be sure to buy only what you know you’ll use. This is a good time to buy canned goods to donate to food pantries – the items are on sale and the need is high as the holiday donation season has ended. If you have a disaster supply kit (and if you don’t now’s a good time to think about creating one), swap out your close to expiration canned goods and replace with the sale items you can pick up in February.
Take advantage of historical sales and shopper patterns to see which of your customers could use some ideas for Valentine’s Day. Be the online retailer to offer specials, sales and promotions to attract your best, repeat customers. Get your offers out early and often to capture shoppers’ attention and be ready to fill last minute orders for procrastinators. Keep your audience informed and be sure you are visible across all platforms.
Happy Valentine’s Day and happy selling!