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As February 14 is filling the air with love and people start contemplating Valentine’s Day gift ideas, retail businesses have a unique chance to gain momentum and get their own slice of an $18.9 billion cake.

But what actually sells on Valentine’s Day and how?

Here is a good guide that will give you a glimpse into customer behavior during the holiday season and give tips on catering to modern Valentine’s Day shoppers.

Valentine’s Day Consumer Insights

No, this is not only about hearts and flowers. Modern market research software allows analyzing a wealth of customer sales data and survey responses and gives a better picture of what Valentine’s Day shopping is about. Here are the main customer insights to know:

  • Searches for gifts start three weeks before Valentine’s Day and peak 24 hours before the moment.
  • The most common gifts include a night out, smartphones, clothing, jewelry, chocolate, and flowers. Gift cards and certificates gain popularity too being the gift idea of 16% of consumers.
  • Mobile sales increase during the weekends and peak on the weekend preceding Valentine’s Day with 53% of orders being made on mobile devices.
  • An average amount spent on a Valentine’s Day gift is $142, which is higher than most retailers assume. Buyers aged 23–29 are the most likely to fork out on Valentine’s celebration with an average spend of $266.
  • Men make a better converting target audience as they are more inclined to spend on their significant others and plan to spend more compared to women: While an average man plans to spend $339 on the Valentine’s Day celebration, women plan to spend just $64 on their spouse or partner.
  • Millennials and Gen Zers have been redefining Valentine’s Day, 73% viewing the day as a chance to show affection to significant others — family, friends, co-workers, and pets — not necessarily romantic partners.

The analysis of customer behavior trends informs some great strategies for Valentine’s Day marketing. Here are the major ones.

1. Leverage Key Buying Periods

The weekends before Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day itself are the most fruitful for the holiday marketing campaigns. Note that it’s better to customize marketing messages depending on the timing.

For example, advertising a night out at your restaurant, you can emphasize the popularity of the present, which is actually on the wish list of 51% of customers, and the need to schedule beforehand. At the same time, ‘reserve the last seat/ x seats left’ message might really help out last-minute shoppers while increasing your chances of selling out.

The beauty of it is that the days before and on Valentine’s Day justify it all, allowing you to offer love-saturated content, whether users seek it or not, or to make nasty jokes and still earn love. Just like Netflix did. Their Valentine’s day selection of horror movies is just adorable.

2. Optimize for Mobile

Mobile is a new buzzword in the marketing field and optimization for mobile purchases might work well for any occasion. Nonetheless, optimization for a mobile presence is a great way to leverage last-minute on-the-go buyers that feel inspired to please their beloved ones — or themselves.

This is not limited to digital sales only. A great idea is to target mobile users in your location, urging them to stop by your store. For florists, location-based targeting seems to be a golden rule for Valentine’s Day.

Using mobile apps and relevant hashtags to spread the word in social media can make Valentine’s Day marketing a huge success. For example, Uber leveraged its mobile app to launch on-demand flower delivery on February 14.

This not only made the company leverage the holiday for increasing sales, but also promoted positive sentiments towards the brand and caring Uber drivers.

3. Set Up Targeted Campaigns

Use research data to tap into the right audience with the right message. Considering the great difference between their Valentine’s Day buying behaviors, it’s better to run separate campaigns for men and women.

For example, anticipating Valentine’s Day craze, Deadpool specifically targeted men and successfully lured them into bringing their couples for a night out. Thus, Deadpool managed to increase its audience with women who might not otherwise be interested in the R-rated X-Men movie.

Also, a winning strategy is to target those who are already interested in your brand and are shopping for Valentine’s Day. This can be achieved by retargeting those who have viewed the related products, read your Valentine’s Day ideas list, or engaged with themed content on social media.

4. Think Beyond Romance

Another strategy that would help you generate more revenues on Valentine’s Day is tapping into different forms of love — the trend millennials and Gen Zers are powerfully imposing, to nurture self-love and warm feelings towards family, co-workers, and pets.

This Tesco Valentine’s Day marketing campaign is an excellent example.

Such a move has a great social mission, too, as it breeds inclusiveness and fights the feeling of loneliness and the pressure to have a romantic partner, which is sometimes associated with February 14.

5. Be Their Valentine

When it comes to Valentine’s Day marketing, it’s not only about helping people to find the best gifts for couples, it’s also about being a sweet Valentine for them.

Show love and appreciation to your customers launching giveaways and giving gift coupons. Needless to say, these have a great chance to convert. No wonder this study of a successful giveaway conversion features a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign as one of the examples.

One of the brands that leveraged this idea in a remarkable way is Burger King. In 2017, the brand launched a naughty Valentine’s Day campaign mimicking a distinctive feature of its competitor — McDonald’s Happy Meal. This way, the company not only tapped into Valentine’s Day sales but also stole the hearts of the competitors’ customers.

Concluding Ideas

Valentine’s Day is a great occasion for retail businesses to tap into increased customer spending. Often, there is no need to develop a brand new product line or customize the existing products. Momentum can be gained if you use the right marketing messages, precise targeting, and exclusive marketing campaigns. The key to success is to market with love!

Originally published on Better Marketing