Did Supply Chain Complications Spoil Valentine’s Day 2022?

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How can retailers feel the love this Valentine’s Day? FG|PG sheds some light on how brands can make this Valentine’s Day week a special one for consumers looking to purchase a special gift.

Valentine’s Day gifting has long since been a favorite way to celebrate the love we share for one another. It allows consumers to think outside the box while showing their admiration for their loved ones. Still, the world’s supply chain disruption follows us into 2022, raising concern this V-Day season. The repercussions from the gifts that were delayed or did not arrive on time last Christmas are still being felt amongst several industries — causing consumers to be more hesitant in participating in this year’s festivities. This supply chain predicament has forced retailers to be more transparent with their consumers if they want their customers to have any purchasing confidence. With Valentine’s Day as the first major shopping event in the 2022 calendar, now is the chance to reform consumer hesitancy and provide them with an invaluable purchasing experience. So how can a retailer ensure they are building customer loyalty while also building the bottom line? FG|PG is here to help with a retailer’s guide to help better understand consumer behavior for 2022.

Image of boxes of Godiva chocolate on a table for a private screening on valentine's day

Godiva Private Screening by FG|PG

Spending is Up This Year For Retail 

Just how much is at stake this year for retailers? Seemingly, there are expectations for consumers to reach $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day spending, up 9.63% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). The second-highest year on record for Valentine’s Day spending, behind the $27.48 billion spent in 2020. Fortunately, the show will go on, as the latest consumer spending during the holidays will continue to trend into 2022. More than half (53 percent) of U.S. consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2022, up from 52 percent in 2021. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of those celebrating indicate it is important to do so, granted the current state of the pandemic.

NRF CEO and President Mathew Shay states, “Valentine’s Day is a special occasion for many Americans, even more so as we navigate out of the pandemic, and retailers prepare to help them mark the holiday in a memorable and meaningful way.” 

There is light at the end of the tunnel for retailers. Even with the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases and new variants, 31% of the respondents said they would have an “evening out” this year, up 24% from a year ago, which is slightly below pre-pandemic levels. Candy like Godiva still takes the top spot at (56 percent), greeting cards (40 percent), and flowers (37 percent) remain the most popular gift items this Valentine’s Day. Even more staggering, consumers have shared their aspirations of ditching their purchasing hesitancy and demanding more experiential experiences. NRF’s survey claims that tickets to a concert or sporting event have also returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 41 percent saying they would “love to receive a gift of experience,” up from 36 percent last year. Does this mean we are on track to abandoning the entire virtual society we believed would continue endlessly? Or is it impulse? According to NRF, online continues to be the most popular shopping destination for Valentine’s Day this year, visited by 41 percent, followed by department stores at 32 percent, discount stores at 28 percent, local small businesses at 18 percent, and florists at 17 percent. Ultimately, online shopping is still the primary focus for retailers and should prioritize personalizing Valentine’s Day experience.

How can retailers find bliss and get more personal? 

The pandemic is still alive and well this year, as it continues to challenge all industries of every kind. As consumer behavior continues with a “new normal” mentality, some brands believe pitching an at-home social campaign would be one step closer to catering to customers’ personal needs. The opportunity to personalize your marketing strategy and use the consumer themselves as a focal point is getting more popular through various ad campaigns. Brands are reflecting this in ad messaging, with language such as “treat yourself,” “self-care”. Others, such as meal kits and wine delivery, have gotten more traction than usual. Marketers are also expanding ad messages to include more than just romantic partners, but even gifts for pets. Conclusively, it would encourage customers to continue to shop online regardless of the supply chain issues we face

Image of a couple valentine's day shopping together on their laptop

Collective Data

Moving forward, it is ideal to consider the saturation of the online market, as it remains to be the primary form of shopping. Which presents the challenge, how do retailers remain personal while improving their marketing strategies under the current circumstances? — Simple, retailers must learn to embrace all marketing channels and center them around their customers. For instance, collecting and storing customer data from all used channels in one platform is becoming the norm for retail marketers. This type of data is what’s known as Collective Data. Collective data allows retailers to be one step ahead by allowing their teams to analyze consumer behavior to forecast more precisely based on customers’ past behaviors—an essential tool during peak shopping events like Valentine’s Day. 

Retail marketing teams discovered valuable insights that allow personalizations to be at the forefront of customer engagement initiatives. Some tactics can include looking back at past purchases made around the same season last year to efficiently optimize their communication methods to encourage the same successful shopping behavior. Analyzing customer behavior can assist in decreasing uncertainty by using surveys and social data that essentially allows retailers to give back to the consumer. It gives retailers an advantage of knowing their customers personally to offer them the experience they are looking for. Ultimately, personalized services, excellent customer service from top to bottom, and providing more customer service options to be in the top four ways retailers can help consumers shop. Personalization creates a blissful experience, lessens the stress, and makes the experience enjoyable to satisfy your customer’s needs.

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