Buyers will spend $18.2 billion on Feb. 14, according to the National Retail Federation — and if you want to reach customers this Valentine's Day, it's not too late to get in on the action. Even with the day fast approaching, you can take a few steps to snag customer attention at the last minute.
Here are five ways to foster love and appreciation among your customer base:
1. Run Promotions for Every Kind of Buyer
Valentine's Day is not just for one type of shopper. Couples are usually the focus, of course, but many families also exchange gifts, and kids may shop for their classmates. Or, there's "Galentine's Day" — held on Feb. 13, it's a celebration of female friendships.
If you're a retailer, create a display geared toward all the types of gift-giving that people embrace on this day. Move suggested items to a table with a few decorations and a sign directing shoppers there. If you're a food services business, offer discounts for customers buying something for another person. A coffee shop, for instance, could have a "buy a sweet for your sweet" promo where the buyer can get a second baked good for half off.
2. Reward Longtime Customers
Spark some good feelings on Valentine's Day by offering up a small gift to your shoppers. It can be a small item from your own stock, or you could offer up a free chocolate truffle or piece of candy with purchase. Restaurants that don't get a ton of business on Valentine's Day, such as casual diners or burger joints, can offer a free small dessert to anyone who comes in for a meal.
Remember to promote your giveaway in advance so it drives more traffic to your business. Mention the giveaway in your email newsletter and social media to catch the eye of customers, and hang signs in your location. A lot of people don't make big plans on Valentine's Day, and would happily take advantage of your small freebies.
3. Show Some Heart on Social
Social media conversations can be especially lively around this holiday. Pick a topic that's fun or heartfelt — for example, #HilariousBadDates or #WhyILoveYou — then share stories or messages, and encourage followers to join in. Whenever possible, find a topic that reflects your brand. Bookstores can tweet out funny lines about romance from famous authors, for instance.
You might take it up a level by holding a themed contest on social media, such as a quick quiz about love stories in pop culture, and reward correct answers with a coupon code for the customers' next purchase. Tie these conversations back to your holiday-themed promotions or specials.
4. Add a Twist of Love to Your Branding
Show that you're in the holiday spirit with a few decorative touches to your store. Subtly alter the color scheme of your window display to include more warm colors such as reds and pinks, or direct customers around the store with signs featuring arrows tweaked to look like they've been shot by Cupid's bow.
If possible, create temporary changes to your website — cupid icons flanking your business name, or changing the backdrop to pink and red — and create a button or section calling out your Valentine's celebrations.
5. Show Your Customers You Love Your Community
One component of Valentine's Day is showing love — consider using this season as a way to communicate how your business gives back to the community. Whether you make a donation or volunteer, be sure to promote your good deed with signs in-store. These signs can also encourage customers to spread the love by telling them a portion of the day's proceeds will go to the same charity. Who doesn't love — and want to support — a business that loves helping others?
Showing a little love this season can reach customers this Valentine's Day, while building deeper connections with your community. Invest in promotions and find creative ways to show customers, prospective buyers and the wider community that you're a business they should connect with.