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Romancing the consumer

Romancing the consumer
Monday February 13 2017

Sam Knights, director of shopper media agency Threefold, on how retailers can make the most of Valentine’s Day

Each and every year retailers look to lure lovebirds to either their online or retail store to help them buy that perfect Valentine’s Day gift. As the opportunities abound for retailers, here are a few tips to help retailers reach out to those consumers who are looking to feel the love, and those who aren’t.

For retailers wishing to do well out of Valentine’s Day, it’s worth timing any offers or promotions carefully. When it comes to consumers actually splashing the Valentine’s Day cash, it’s the week before that is the key period to focus on; 35% of people plan to spend most of their money then according to research from Barclaycard, with 16% expecting to spend the most on the day itself. Creating impact in this week is key to getting share of spend.

Convenience store formats will also be important as shoppers rush to get their evening food, drink and gifts. Local stores that are in close proximity to work and home will see a lot of footfall, especially among over 55s as 49% of this demographic leaves it until under a week before the day to plan spend. For those that are tech-savvy, proximity stores will likely be found through mobile browsing, with searches for terms like ‘chocolates near me’ growing 4.1 times year-on-year according to Google.


Retailers also need to be mindful of which day Valentine’s Day falls on, as this should shape their marketing strategy. In 2015, Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday and 2016 was a Sunday. Falling on a weekday this year means that shoppers are unlikely to indulge in the same food and drink they would enjoy if it fell on a weekend. With this in mind, campaigns should have post-event longevity, with communications staying live in-store until the weekend of the 17th February to create maximum impact. And with most in-store media live for three weeks, we recommend book-ending the campaign around Valentine’s week.

We also know that peak hours for in-store shopping on Valentine’s Day itself are the two hours before and after lunch, probably as this is the most likely time that shoppers will have away from their partners while at work. Time-targeted mobile messaging and outdoor media is a great way to maximise sales and engage people when they’re in the shopper mindset.
It’s also a powerful method to optimise one’s spend and prevent wastage.


Despite 76% of consumers feeling that Valentine’s Day is “too commercialised” according to a Mintel report, event spend continues to grow - largely a result of social pressures to buy around the day. With negative feelings around a “hallmark holiday”, there is still an opportunity to transfer spend into food and drink which we know there’s an appetite for.

With special meals / dining out accounting for the higher spend during Valentine's Day by Londoners, and search interest for “valentine dinners at home” growing nearly 20% year on year according to Google, clever communication strategies can help drive that growth beyond the capital.
Messaging around memorable moments and using food to get together with loved ones is far more likely to strike a chord with people, for example.

Finally, marketing communications is undoubtedly key to driving penetration with a market that wouldn’t otherwise buy. Certain retailers should also consider promoting an anti-Valentine’s approach to increase spend through single shopper penetration. Examples of successful initiatives include the anti-Euros campaigns that Shop Direct did last year that played on the ‘football widow’ concept.

Tagged as: Valentine's Day | Threefold