Top Ten Tips: The Valentine’s Vault

This month ‘Top Ten Tips’ looks at ways to make sure your Valentine’s Day sales start 2013 on a high note. From innovative marketing tips to merchandising must-haves, it’s time to give Cupid a helping hand.

1. Don’t wait till February 1st to start your Valentine’s marketing campaign. The minute you’ve packed away the holiday decorations, it’s time to start the marketing out-reach. Send press releases to local papers and magazines announcing your Valentine’s Day themed events and offerings. Lead times vary and you need to make sure your name is out there every time there is a ‘What To Buy This Valentine’s’ themed article.

2. When it comes to marketing, look at unconventional ways to reach the wary male buyer. Whether it’s giving away a gift card for the local hardware or sports store, tickets to a sporting event or maybe a meal at a romantic restaurant, make the men actually want to buy a piece of jewelry for their other halves.

3. Valentine’s isn’t just for couples. Don’t ignore singles and children. If he’s buying for her, make sure you offer suitable Valentine’s gifts for other loved ones. From engraved lockets, to silver frames, help your customers spread the love.

4. Last year, online Valentines Day related searches increased 35 percent compared to the previous year. Ignoring this vast amount of traffic is almost criminal. Top search words/phrases related to the day include; Valentines Day meals, DIY Valentines gifts, Valentines Day drinks and Valentines Day baskets. Make sure your online ads are targeted to searches with these phrases and spend wisely by geo-targeting ads regionally.

5. Keep ads dynamic by offering limited time redemptions. Change the offerings weekly and provide value-added benefits such as a free rose with every purchase. For the higher-priced items, offer home delivery of the product by a bouquet wielding courier.

6. E-mail marketing means content and tone. You don’t want to be promoting your engagement ring selection to a couple who came in a few months ago to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Men are most at ease with a playful, humorous approach, whereas if the email is going to a woman, a sincere, emotional tone works much better. Sort recipients based on the products you intend to market and the demographic you are trying to reach.

7. Streamline and examine every product in your proposed merchandising mix. Too much of a selection can be just as off-putting as too little a choice. While heart-themed pieces are always strong sellers, have several options at different price points, but don’t overload.

8. Offer customization on every piece. From adding birthstone accents to traditional diamond engagement rings to free-engraving of lockets and pendants. Pearl necklaces are always top-sellers, but why not offer an initial charm to be strung on the pearl rope or a miniature charm added by the necklace’s clasp?

9. Colorful balloons, teddy bears and heart-shaped chocolates on counter-tops do not make most Valentine’s gift purchasers feel inclined to spend time in the store. After all, it’s mostly men that buy the gifts and they tend to shy away from teddy bears and balloons (unless they’re under 5). Create a Valentine’s themed ‘relaxation’ area. Let him sit in comfort and bring a selection to him. Consider having a T.V. playing tuned into a sports channel. That’s one way many a man will actually be happy to come in and spend time in the store.

10. If a lone male shopper comes in looking for that all important engagement ring, work with him, don’t sell to him. From education to styles, show him what’s out there, compare prices with him and if he hasn’t already done so, be his partner in organizing a proposal. Have a list of innovative proposal ideas. From places to propose to ways to ‘serve’ up the ring. After all, these are the most lucrative ‘customers for life’.