3 Marketing Tips with Heart on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day offers retailers the chance to market to consumers with a little bit of love on this special day.

Valentine’s Day, the day of hearts, is here. February 14th marks the first consumer holiday of the year and offers retailers across the globe opportunities to market the perfect gift to help jumpstart sales and make customers happy. Whether it’s a candlelight dinner, a stuffed animal, or a bottle of cologne, consumers spend a lot of money on this holiday. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this year’s spend will reach $20.7 billion.

Valentine's Day with heart

How will shoppers find and purchase gifts for their loved ones or a little something for themselves this year? Almost half (45%) of customers search Amazon first when looking for products, according to a survey by inRiver. Amazon has become the go-to resource for online shopping and as many as 74% of Americans over the age of 18 plan to purchase their Valentine’s Day gifts on Amazon this year.

What marketing tactics can retailers use to increase sales on Valentine’s Day? It’s never too late to show some love to new and existing customers with special offers and ideas. Holiday marketing is a great way to showcase your brand, products, and creativity. Helping someone find the perfect gift is where the real value comes in and brands can really feel the love.

Three Ideas with Heart for Valentine’s Day:

1. Send love via multi-channel messages-

Create a sweet promotional offer or gift idea and share across channels. It sounds obvious, but many retailers forget to think about the different channels available when sending out holiday promotions. Valentine’s day isn’t just for couples. Think of the different consumers and age ranges when choosing promotional channels. Different generations have different preferred methods of communications so plan accordingly.

Create online promotions with links to special offers and bundles unique for Valentine’s Day. Drive shoppers to brick and mortar stores as well. In-store opportunities also mean outside the store. Don’t forget to merchandise sidewalk displays or pop-up shops. Think of context when building promotional offers and include everything from the gift, the wrapping, and the card. Make the experience easy and positive.

2. Spread the love via social media channels –

As you send promotional offers and ideas via social media, use this opportunity to develop user-generated content as well. Request that your audience “Share the Love” on social channels. Ask customers to share sweet stories, poems, or pictures that represent love, romance, or friendship. Highlight the ways in which customers are making Valentine’s Day special for others too. Don’t forget to have participants tag or use your brand’s hashtag for additional promotion. Continue the positive customer experience by always making sure to engage with fans by liking and responding, even after the holiday.

Another idea is to post an Instagram story displaying gift ideas on Valentine’s Day. Instagram also has a snazzy feature where you can utilize a countdown sticker on an image via the story feature. The sticker reminds consumers that they only have a certain amount of time left to purchase something before the holiday is over. This creates a sense of urgency and more often than not, serves as a last minute reminder that may just save the day!

3. Merchandise with heart –

Everyone needs inspiration when it comes to buying the perfect gift. Traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like chocolate and roses pale in comparison to the idea of giving experiences or trips. Retailers don’t have to sell traditional products like jewelry or perfume to merchandise Valentine’s Day. Nothing is off the table these days and for many, the more unique the better.

How to merchandise quickly for Valentine’s Day? Think about producing a video. Today’s videos don’t require a large budget. All you need is a smartphone with a decent camera (they all have great cameras now) and a little help from a video editing application.

Showcasing products via video is easy. Find an outgoing salesperson and a picture-worthy space to display products. Avoid windows that can cause glare and choose a backdrop with just enough detail to make it interesting. Set up a table artfully displaying products and go for it. Simply edit, post, and voila! If you are selling experiences like a night out or a white water rafting trip, use video footage of real customers. Nothing builds engagement better than video. It is easy to edit existing footage or shoot new footage and share it across all relevant channels.


Valentine’s Day offers retailers a great opportunity to turn the first consumer holiday of the year into a big win. With the right promotional ideas, tactics, and a little creativity, brands can drive significant revenue from the holiday with heart.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to build a lasting relationship with customers. Delivering a great customer experience by helping someone find the perfect gift for someone special is just good business.

To learn more about the difference between selection vs. merchandising and how it impacts revenue, listen to our most recent podcast here.

Written by

Erika Goldwater, CIPP

Erika Goldwater is the director of global communications for inRiver. An industry veteran, Erika lives and breathes B2B marketing, content, public relations, and data privacy. She's a Boston marketer who hails from Baltimore.