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How to increase sales for your brand this Valentine’s Day

Sophia King
By Sophia King — February 8, 2021 -

Whether it makes you swoon or cringe, Valentine’s Day is almost here – and it presents a big opportunity for your brand’s bottom line. Even if you don’t sit in the traditional gifting sectors. 

Rewind. When did Valentine's Day all begin?

Valentine’s Day dates back to the year 496, when Pope Gelasius I introduced the feast of St Valentine. Nobody’s entirely sure who St Valentine was, but the legend goes that he was a priest from Rome arrested for secretly marrying Christian couples. 14th February gathered pace in England in the mid-18th century, when people began exchanging handmade cards with their loved ones. It became officially commercialised in 1913, when Hallmark Cards of Kansas City started mass producing Valentine’s Day cards.

Is Valentine’s Day really a big deal for business? 

Yes. Whether you're selling flowers, face masks (the skin cleansing kind), or anything in between.

A billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every year, making it the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year. UK consumers spend almost half a billion pounds on gifts for the occasion.

The current lockdown in the UK presents an even bigger opportunity for brands. Over the past year, online orders and referrals have soared for sectors supporting life at home. In times of crisis, people even more actively recommend their favourite brands to loved ones.

Red roses still reign supreme as the Valentine’s gift of choice – 50 million are received on 14th February each year – but they’re not the only gift likely to be exchanged this year. Alongside the traditional chocolates and champagne, consumers are set to treat loved ones to gifts like restaurant-quality meal-kits, loungewear, and pampering sets as they celebrate at home. 

Consumer spending for Valentine’s Day continues to increase year-on-year – not necessarily because people are feeling more loved up. The day has expanded beyond romantic couples to become a celebration of our loved ones more generally, whether that’s our friends, mothers, or pets. 

Valentine’s Day & referral marketing: a match made in heaven

Unlike other purchases, Valentine’s gifts impact at least two target consumers; the person giving and the person receiving. Plus all those people who see it shared on social media channels. 

As most singletons will be all too aware, social media on the 14th February is a hotbed of heart emojis, gushing captions, and loved-up posts. While many of these posts constitute couples gazing adoringly at one another (#candid), many others show the world the products their Valentine’s has treated them to.

And that presents a major opportunity for your brand. Even if you don’t sell goods traditionally associated with Valentine’s. 

From pet products to probiotics, many of our 450+ clients add a loved-up twist to their messaging to drive sales at this time of year. Read on for inspiration on how your brand can speak the language of love to drive sales and get people talking this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's referral campaigns across sectors


Multivitamins might not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Cupid, but how better to look after your loved ones than by sharing products that’ll improve their health and welbeing? Supplement company Cytoplan incorporates Valentine's into its design to catch customers' attention without diluting its messaging.Cytoplan referral programme ValentinesCytoplan


We may not be able to leave our homes right now, but lockdown won't last forever. Travel and experience providers give loved up couples something to look forward to, be that a spa day or sky-diving. Last year, Virgin Experience Days offered customers a referral discount on experiences guaranteed to get people talking – and uttering that much-loved phrase: “use my name at checkout for a special reward”.

Virgin Experience Days Valentines campaign

Virgin Experience Days


Banish outdated stereotypes of crazy cat ladies; many people today proudly declare pets as their one true love. VioVet builds on this affection with a solus email encouraging customers to share the love by giving friends 10% off. Your dog may not know it's Valentine's Day, but he'll certainly know he's being treated to his favourite gravy bone.

Viovet Valentines referral solus email-1VioVet


For those who like to splash out on their nearest and dearest, luxury retailers like Harvey Nichols celebrate the day of love with referral campaigns offering discounts to both customers and those closest to them. Offering everything from traditional Valentine's bouquets to diamond earrings and men's watches, it's the perfect opportunity for customers to treat that special someone in their life.Harvey Nichols refer a friend Valentine's campaign

Food & drink

Turns out both women and men’s hearts can be reached through their stomachs. 80% of people consider preparing a meal a significant act of love, and nearly half of women believe food is the way to their hearts.

And declaring your love doesn’t have to involve a Hell’s Kitchen style situation, either. Sometimes, less is more – particularly if it's pretty and delicious. Just look at Lola’s Cupcakes. London's number one cake shop presents an eye-catching overlay that captures the Valentine's theme without explicitly mentioning it.Lolas cupcakes refer a friend Valentines campaignLola’s Cupcakes


How better to celebrate Galentine’s than by giving your bestie a discount on her favourite clothing brand? Last year, brands like Ted Baker kicked off celebrations early with refer-a-friend Valentine’s campaigns offering both a double discount and competition entry for customers.

Ted Baker referral Valentines campaignTed Baker

Adult toys

While it's not surprising that adult toy businesses see a surge in sales around Valentine’s Day, you may not expect this to convert into referrals. Our work with brands like Lovehoney, however, tells a different story. People may not feel comfortable telling everyone about their favourite sex toy, but they’re more than happy to share referral offers with their partner for even more bedroom fun.Lovehoney referral Valentines campaignLovehoney

There you have it: a snapshot of how referral can tie into your Valentine’s Day campaign to boost brand awareness, drive sales, and increase overall revenue. There’s a lot to love about that.


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