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An e-commerce guide to Valentine’s Day marketing

E-commerce guide to Valentine's Day Marketing
Written By Louise
On Feb, 5 2020
5 minute read

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s day is an important date in the e-commerce calendar. In 2019 Valentine’s Day spending in the US exceeded $20 billion, 28% of which was spent online. With both of those numbers expected to grow in 2020, it’s not a holiday that any e-commerce business should ignore.

Even if your company sells something seemingly unrelated (ie not chocolate, flowers or jewelry) there’s still plenty of opportunity for a creative marketing campaign.

The spending pattern of Valentine’s Day shoppers has been evolving in recent years. While the classic gifts of flowers, jewelry and candy still make up a large chunk of the holiday purchases, many customers are now opting for less traditionally “romantic” gifts.

A primary reason for this change in purchasing patterns is that customers aren’t only buying Valentine’s Day gifts for their significant others anymore. One of the fastest-growing new trends is that of ‘self-love’, with customers planning to spend an average of $235 on themselves this year.

Another trend on the rise is customers spoiling their furry friends, with 20% of customers planning to buy their dog a gift this Valentine’s Day!

Thanks to this expansion in Valentine’s Day gift recipients, the holiday has become relevant to every industry. So if you haven’t created a Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, now’s the time!

Unsure where to start? We’ve got you covered:

Check your data from last year

Before you dive right into your 2020 Valentine’s Day campaign, take a step back and re-assess your performance over the last few years. There are a few key factors that you should pay attention to.

What product sold best?

Not only can you focus your marketing efforts around this (and similar products), but to up-sell you can recommend products that would complement it!

What failed to sell?

If there’s an obvious reason this product failed to sell, is there a way to rectify it this year?

Which days and times were the busiest?

Be sure to send your marketing communications at the times that customers were most receptive last year. Keep your brand front-of-mind when it counts most!

How did customers respond to your marketing efforts?

Take a look at last year’s campaign and work out the things that were effective and what could be improved on. You don’t want to make the same mistakes twice!

And don’t stop at analyzing your own data, take an in-depth look at the industry as a whole. Was there a competitor who did particularly well last year? Take a look at what they did, then do it better!

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Build your Valentine’s Day marketing campaign

Your Valentine’s Day marketing strategy should take a 3 pronged approach using the following channels:


Creating a Valentine’s Day email campaign is a great place to start! This campaign should consist of much more than just one message blast, at minimum be sure to include these four emails:

  1. An initial email to get customers excited for Valentine’s Day! This should include the perfect gifts for him/her/yourself! Customers get bored of the same stale Valentine’s Day products year after year so give them fresh, unique gift ideas that stand out from the crowd!
  2. A second pre-Valentine’s Day email for customers who are yet to make a purchase with a special offer included. Instead of offering a percentage off, you could get creative and offer something like free gift-wrapping or delivery on Valentine’s Day!
  3. An order-confirmation campaign to assure your customers that their purchase is on its way and will arrive in time for V-day.
  4. A post-purchase campaign to make sure that your customer is loving their new purchase and to suggest some items that will complement it perfectly.

Another thing to take note of when creating your Valentine’s Day email campaign is the subject line. The subject line is a great way to show some humor and creativity and is essential if you want your email to be opened!

Here are some examples of companies who nailed their Valentine’s Day subject lines:

  • Valen-time’s almost up to get 20% off! - Society6 (puns are always great)
  • This Valentine’s Day, think inside the box - Birchbox (make it personal to your brand)
  • A last-minute miracle for Valentine’s Day - La Mer (instill a sense of urgency)
  • Heat up this Valentine’s Day with a sale on heaters! - Stoneberry (any industry can get involved!)


Adding SMS into your Valentine’s Day campaign is particularly useful if you want to instill a sense of urgency or alert customers to a special discount or sale.

A great example would be:

“Hey {customername! 10% discount to help you find a gift for that special someone! Use the code LOVE10 - Place your order before midnight TONIGHT to ensure delivery before V-Day!”

Another fun use of SMS during Valentine’s Day is to send customers messages from a ‘secret admirer’. Just be sure to keep it cute and fun and to reveal who sent the message so that it doesn’t scare customers away.

Social Media

Social media is a great way to interact with your customers over Valentine’s Day and get some free user-generated content while you’re at it!

A super successful tactic is to create a contest between your customers. Ask them to post pictures using your product with a specific Valentine’s Day hashtag, and give the winners a freebie or discount!

Underwear brand MeUndies did this brilliantly last year. They created a range of limited-edition matching couples underwear and asked couples to share photos of themselves wearing their matching sets with the hashtag #MatchMeUndies.

Social Media Valentines Day-2

Examples of some great Valentine’s day marketing campaigns to inspire you!

Valentine’s Day campaigns can be hugely beneficial to businesses in any industry, it just takes a bit of creativity! Check out the inventive approaches these companies have used to spread the love and get involved in Valentine’s Day:

Mobile provider T-Mobile ran a campaign all about break-up letters. They asked users of competitor networks to write their current providers a letter with all the reasons they’re dumping them for T-Mobile. Not only was this a great way to win over new customers, but it also provided T-Mobile with feedback and insights into the pain points of their competitor’s customers.

Valentines Day breakup message-1

Another great example is writing assistant software Grammarly. Again, it’s a brand that has nothing to do with romance or Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t stop them from getting creative and making the most of the marketing opportunities the holiday provides.

Grammarly’s campaign was all about “how to write the perfect love letter”. They published a blog about the history of the love letter along with a guide to writing the perfect love letter this Valentine’s Day (with the help of Grammarly of course), then blasted the blog across all their social media platforms.

So, are you ready to create your Valentine’s Day marketing campaign? If a writing assistant software and a mobile phone provider can join in on the fun, you’ve got no excuse - Valentine’s Day marketing is for everyone!

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