Many shoppers wait until the last-minute to shop for Valentine’s Day gifts. That makes it even more crucial than usual to make sure your brand is visible to mobile shoppers and that you reach consumers when they are ready to buy.

Greg Archibald, executive vice president, Americas, Criteo

Greg Archibald, executive vice president, Americas, Criteo

Of all U.S. holidays, it comes as no surprise that Valentine’s Day is notorious as a last-minute shopping holiday. In the days leading up to February 14, sales can surge up to 164%. Why the procrastination? In the current shopping landscape, a sense of urgency does not exist as consumers know that even as the holiday approaches, the right gift is easily accessible.

For example, flowers are an incredibly popular gift and florists have a strong business all year long. But in 2018, nine times more flowers than usual were sold on February 12—two days before Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, the prior year saw a similar sharp sales jump just one day before. Does that mean shoppers are beginning to plan ahead a bit more or are retailers just getting better at marketing themselves?

In the weeks prior to February 14, searches for terms like ‘cards’, ‘jewel’, ‘chocolate’ and ‘teddy’ see a big jump.

2018 saw a three-fold increase in same-day sales on Valentine’s Day, suggesting that retailers are producing more effective marketing geared towards last-minute shoppers. In years past, shoppers would have feared that trying to shop on the same day meant they were out of luck, with little inventory left and inadequate staffing. Now many retailers have clearly delivered the message  that same-day shopping is no problem. Some retailers do so with added delivery fees, others charge no fee with a minimum purchase. But either way, shoppers love that their gifting can be fulfilled, no matter what time they decide to buy.

Here are three ways to ensure you’re primed to maximize your Valentine’s Day revenues.


1. Plan Ahead

Even though Valentine’s Day is well-known for last-minute shopping, it still pays to start planting the seeds of gift ideas a few weeks ahead of time—especially with higher-ticket items. High-consideration items like jewelry, wearable technology and even appliances require more research than flowers and chocolates.

That said, people are now able to research products more quickly than ever before. Valuable product information is now faster and easier to find than it was in years past. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure that your brand is front and center in search results and on cart pages across your likeliest shopping destinations. Make sure customers remember you as the gift resource that’s most informative and easy to use. Creating customer loyalty with convenience and speed will only continue to pay you back again and again.


2. Make It Mobile

Last minute Valentine’s Day shoppers are looking for an easy purchase process. Are you mobile-friendly? You’d better be. There’s no escaping the fact that we’re all in love with our mobile devices—so much so, in fact, that mobile now represents 32% of online purchases. With hectic schedules, consumers are often shopping at any moments of free-time available, especially on weekends. Why get out of bed to go to a crowded mall on a Saturday morning when you can stay under the covers and still get the same items? Weekend mobile purchases now move that total to 53%.

Last-minute purchases of flowers and candy need to be easy to search for via mobile and appear on landing pages that are effortless to use. Needless to say, if your Valentine’s gift offerings are accompanied by a great discount, free shipping, or a small bonus gift, shoppers will be far more likely to convert from a previously used retailer.


3. Market to Omnishoppers

In the world of omnishopping, where most people are looking at multiple different screens every day (sometimes all day), it’s easy to see the value of a strategic retargeting campaign. Having easily accessible product visibility on key channels and websites allows you to become the reliable brand consumers turn to when it’s time to buy.

In the weeks prior to February 14, searches for terms like “cards”, “jewel”, “chocolate” and “teddy” see a big jump. In the face of this change in average shoppers’ needs, it’s important to plan ahead to show them you’ve got exactly what they want. Running an uncapped retargeting campaign in the final days before Valentine’s Day can help ensure you’ll be in the best position to beat all of your competitors for key customers.


Whether shoppers are planning ahead or not, by using a few key Valentine’s Day marketing strategies, you’ll be sure to see holiday sales numbers you’ll love.

Criteo specializes in retargeted online advertising.