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What does Valentine’s Day mean for SA retail?

Posted by Sureswipe on 13 February 2017

As consumers seemingly go towards more experiential and bespoke gifting options, what does this mean for traditional retailers particularly around Valentine’s day? What exactly are consumers spending on this Valentine’s Day and what does this mean for the books?

There is an assumption that as consumers look for more tailored, personal ways to gift their loved ones, this has meant a migration from normal gifting to looking for experiences to share. While the modern consumer is certainly looking for gifts that are more ‘one of a few’ this does not mean that traditional gifting has died, but that it has become more tailored. Retailers find themselves needing to create gifting solutions that combine convenience and speed, while capturing the feeling that ‘i got this just for you’.

The idea of what is seen as person has however changed in this millennium - people are not concerned as much with the amount of time spent looking and selecting a gift but rather that they get the ‘right’ gift, and increasingly this means allowing the person being gifted to choose this themselves. The reason behind this is not as simple as that consumers have become lazy to shop, but rather, that with a growing market and endless options on the table it is almost impossible to know what the next person wants.

The solution to the consumer’s gifting problem has shifted from the perfect gift to narrowing down the perfect store for their purchase. For instance, in the case of Valentine’s Day, jewellery is still a big gifting purchase, but which piece of jewellery? Would she prefer a ring, a bracelet or a pair of earrings? The answer seems to be to simply purchase a gift card and let her choose.

Valentines is now the third largest period of the year for Gift Card purchases, what this shows is that consumers are not only becoming accustomed to alternative gifting but have come to expect it. What this also means, is that businesses need to amp up their gifting offerings and the way they market them, or lose out on the nearly 85% of millennials state that they are giving a gift card this Valentine’s season.

A fairly new development around gifting is the impact of social media and the growing frenzy to not only do but be seen doing. Traditionally, Valentine’s day gifts and flowers were displayed on office desks so colleagues could fawn and appreciate, this need has now migrated to social media. This presents a unique challenge - can one really Instagram a gift voucher? No. But alternative gifting, means that consumers will not be stuck with a present they hate and can now choose and tailor that gift which will undoubtedly end up on their feed with a tag endorsing your business.

This kind of marketing and endorsement is invaluable for a consumer market that often shops based on the opinions of the people they follow on social media channels.

The first step for businesses is ensuring that people know what gifting options you offer and where they can get them. This will require social media marketing as well as traditional marketing options.

Go through this easy checklist to evaluate your marketing:

  • Do your staff actively engage with customers about your Gift / Loyalty program?
  • Is your Gift / Loyalty program visibly advertised and promoted in store?
  • Do you use social media platforms to promote your Gift / Loyalty programs and what the benefits are?
  • Do you include Gift and Loyalty card offerings in promotions and events?
  • Do you track customer information to promote your business through SMS and Email marketing?

Success for businesses this Valentines will rely on smart marketing that speaks to what the consumer really wants - to get it right.

Topics: retail, Special Occasions & Seasonality, Valentines, Valentine's Day