Location and Marketing: A Love Story

This year, roughly half of adults in the U.S. still plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF)—and that means dropping a significant amount of cash on the objects of their desire. In 2018, consumers spent an estimated $19.6 billion on items related to the holiday. That’s a big market to tap.

GroundTruth’s insights give you the understanding you need to help you ensure your marketing arrow lands right in their hearts.

The enamored are shopping for tokens of true love

Most lovebirds look to speak from their hearts on Valentine’s Day, rather than dazzle with a grand gesture. Our aggregated data revealed foot traffic spikes in people going to discount stores to do their Valentine’s Day shopping last year, proving that it really is the thought that counts. In 2018, Dollar Tree saw an increase of 47% on Valentine’s Day, compared with quarterly averages, and both 99 Cents Only Stores and Dollar General got a 28% boost from lovestruck shoppers.

The old classics were still the gifts of choice in 2018, though. Candy was the preferred present for one’s crush. 55% of people surveyed by the NRF said that’s what they planned to gift their significant other. Other favorites were greeting cards (45.9%) and flowers (35.6%), naturally.

The easiest place to tick those items off your list? The corner drugstore. Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS all felt the love last Valentine’s Day, getting a lift in foot traffic of 48%, 36%, and 36% respectively, according to our data.

Those insights can help you effectively court your customers. Citi Retail Services found that 79% of suitors planned to visit a store to do some or all of their shopping for their sweethearts, so sending them an advertisement at the moment when they are making their buying decision is key to winning their business.

The perfect date takes planning

More than a third of those surveyed by NRF said they planned to go out to celebrate their cherished one. The vast majority of lovers ditched the pizza and burgers last year, instead, delighting their darlings with seafood and steaks. That made Red Lobster and Ruth’s Chris Steak House the big winners. The seafood powerhouse saw a jump in foot traffic of a whopping 102% on that day last year over the quarterly average and the chophouse saw a 75% bump.

But a great night on the town requires preparation. More than 64% of lovebirds start thinking about or making arrangements for their Valentine’s Day date well in advance—anywhere from a week to a month before the big night—according to Citi Retail Services.

Hold the key to their hearts

Once you know your customer’s wants, you can play cupid and serve them messages that will help them fulfill their hearts’ desires. Using location data, you can both send the early planners information about promotions in the days before the holiday and deliver messages to the last-minute chocolate shoppers to steer them in your direction.