Now a month plus into the New Year and love is in the air for both retailers and the shoppers whose affection retailers are hoping to win over. According to recently released data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), US shoppers are projected to spend $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, up 7.7% from $18.2 billion in 2017, and falling just shy of the record $19.7 billion that shoppers spent on the holiday in 2016. The NRF also reports that shoppers will spend 5.1% more per person this year than they did last year. In fact, Mintel’s US report on non-winter holiday shopping shows that one in five Americans plans to spend more on Valentine’s Day in 2018 than the year prior, especially among men aged 18-34. But how can brands earn those extra dollars?

What's making shoppers swoon?

  • Guarantee delivery by Feb. 14: Reassuring shoppers that their gift will arrive in time for them to give it to their valentine will go a long way toward allaying their fears that they’ll be left empty-handed.
  • Price isn't everything: Shoppers are always looking for a bargain, but Valentine’s Day is one of the holidays where it’s important for a shopper to get their gift right. In fact, 37% of those who celebrate holidays say that getting the right gift is more important than the price. Shoppers also aren’t nearly as conditioned to expect steep discounts on Valentine’s Day as they are during the winter holiday shopping season.
  • Take the guesswork out of it: Finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift can be stressful. Putting together a simple quiz based on what a shopper knows about their sweetheart could help them make the right decision when it comes to finding the right gift, and helps brands maximize the chance of securing a sale.
  • Bundle up: Online retailers could throw in a free gift as a reward for shoppers spending more money on their site, or create bundled packages centered around a specific theme. This has the twofold impact of both helping a retailer or brand differentiate itself from the competition while also helping introduce shoppers to products they might not otherwise buy.

What online retailers are doing this year

Amazon

The largest online retailer in the US is targeting Valentine’s Day shoppers by placing a link to “Shop Valentine’s Day Deals” right next to the search bar at the top of its homepage. The retailer is also encouraging shoppers to “explore Valentine’s Day” with links to various product catalogs. Amazon is expanding its Valentine’s Day messaging beyond it being a romantic holiday to include consumers looking for gifts for their friends and pets, allowing the retailer to reach shoppers who may not be in a relationship and capitalize at a time when gift giving is top of mind. Source: Amazon

1-800-Flowers.com

In an interview from 2017, 1-800-Flowers.com CEO Chris McCann said he and his team start preparing for the next Valentine’s Day as soon as the current one ends. This year, 1-800-Flowers is trying to get shoppers to buy more by encouraging them not to “settle for less” on their homepage. The retailer is also offering shoppers free shipping if they opt to have their gifts delivered between February 10-13, which extends the holiday by encouraging shoppers to celebrate early and often. Additionally, if 1-800-Flowers is successful in convincing online shoppers to have their orders delivered early, it minimizes the chances of a shopper not receiving their order in time for the big day. Source: 1-800-Flowers.com

Godiva

Premium chocolate maker Godiva is going all in on Valentine’s Day with a large rotating banner promoting its Valentine’s Day offerings taking up the bulk of its homepage. Godiva is incentivizing shoppers to spend more by offering them a free gold heart-shaped compact mirror if they spend $50 or more on their online order. Source: Godiva

Jared

Clicking on the Valentine’s Day gift guide page on Jared’s online site takes you to a landing page that links to top gifts for him, for her, and – my favorite – the Valentine’s Day gift finder to help shoppers decide what to buy. The gift finder asks who the recipient is, what kind of jewelry the shopper wants to buy and what type or which brand of jewelry they’d like to buy, all leading to an assortment of products. Source: Jared

Matt Lindner joined Mintel as Senior eCommerce Analyst after covering omnichannel retailing for a leading business publication.