Where has the Magic Gone?

Christmas Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are four of the main celebration events of the year, making them some of the busiest events in retail, with people buying gifts for their loved ones. These are key events for retailers to be ensuring the shopper’s expectations are being met, in turn maximising their sales. But are they Valentines-day-valentines-day-22236757-2560-1600using these opportunities fully to their advantage?

I read some interesting facts in an article by Isla Kirby from Retail Gazette, that Valentine’s Day is the second most popular event of the year for people to exchange cards, send flowers, buy chocolates and many other treats. According to the journal this event has grown so much throughout the years that it is now worth a whopping £2.3 billion for retail in the UK alone, thus making the average spend around £119 per person. This is an opportunity for all retailers, including non romantics, to get involved in the busy period and give the shoppers the exact product and experience they are searching for. But retailers are mistaken if they think this is easily done.

There are basic rules when creating an alluring display, as opposed to a display that isn’t quite up to scratch, but some retailers can’t quite seem to get their heads around the basic rules. Why is this? Time after time retailers campaigns fail to get their points of parity across, or clearly spell out the offer on the table. It is these types of offers that gets the shoppers attention and draws them in. Retailers are missing a massive opportunity! Isla Kirby explains in her article that research from activity in America last year found that 84 percent of shoppers who purchased items for Valentine’s Day were conscious of in-store marketing, with the basic POS item of shelf tags driving the strongest awareness. This suggests highly engaged shopper behaviour.

RosesAnyone could take a stab in the dark and guess that roses are the most popular gift on Valentine’s Day. But as the world, and the people in it keep evolving, roses aren’t at the top of everyone’s wish list any more.  Men and women would prefer other treats such as: restaurant meals, chocolates, lingerie, spa days, CD’s, perfume…the list can go on and on. For this exact reason it is crucial that retailers are on top form with their window displays and in-store theatre to make the shopper believe in their product and think what they have found is perfect for their loved one.

This year was disappointing for retailers. The majority of them all got off to a turtle pace start, dedicating a mere ten days to Valentine’s Day, with lacklustre displays which in turn made shoppers hold on to their cash as opposed to handing it over!

With this said there were retailers that really captured what the shoppers were looking for. Windows filled with cuddly toys, lingerie brands showing off their personality and not just valentines-day-wallpapers24-1advertising the date. But again when all said and done it is difficult to actually know whether these messages reverberated more with men or women… only their sales will tell.

With online shopping dominating retail sales from sheer convenience, it is important that high street stores really get involved with each occasion and capture that little bit of magic each shopper consciously or unconsciously are seeking. Otherwise it could lead to high street stores and shoppers getting a divorce… now that isn’t the spirit, is it?