After Christmas and Easter, the period before Valentines Day is one of our busiest. Given that we make presentation packaging for chocolate and flowers, you can understand why.
Of course, it’s not only GWD who look forward to Valentines Day for a welcome sales boost. Following the post-Christmas lull, retailers all over the country look forward to February 14th as an opportunity to boost their sales heading to the end of the financial year.
Despite the fact that the day of Saint Valentine is often derided as a ‘hallmark holiday’ and the preserve of those in long-term relationships, there’s no doubt that it is still a crucial period in terms of generating revenue.
As with any major event that generates revenue for retailers, the trouble lies in the competition. As we noted, chocolates and flowers are very common Valentines Day gifts and there are lots and lots of retailers selling them. The question is: how do you get the customers to buy your product rather than someone else’s?
Your product has to be good
This is an obvious point, but one that people still overlook. Given the competition in your sector, the most important thing you can do is to ensure that your product is worth buying.
By that I don’t mean that your product has to be the chocolate or floral equivalent of haute cuisine; but it needs to have a selling point that makes it a sensible purchase. It might be that it’s a sensible purchase because it’s cheaper than your competitor’s. It might be that your unique chocolate recipe tastes better than anything on the market. It might be that your brand name is so well known that a customer will automatically opt for your product.
I would like to suggest another factor along the same lines: it might be that your product looks good. You know what it’s like when you go into a shop and your eye is drawn to a product. The first impression is crucial to the sale, so it’s vital that customers get a great first impression of your product.
That’s where we come in.
Packaging products proficiently
Let’s take chocolate as an example. In most cases, if you’re selling chocolate on the shelves of a chocolatier or a department store, your actual product is not visible to the customer. Your product is placed in some sort of box, and – all of a sudden – you’re selling your product on the strength of the first impression of that box, not the first impression of your product.
Therefore, it’s very important that your packaging can sell your product for you. Maybe it needs to be eye-catching, giving customers a reason to investigate your product in more detail. Maybe it needs to send the same sort of message as your product. Whatever it is, the first impression your product gives off is the difference between gaining and losing a sale.
A Valentines Day example
To illustrate what I mean, I’ll use an example of a product that is one of your specialities. In terms of images associated with Valentines Day, hearts come pretty close to the top of the list. Therefore manufacturers want hearts featured as part of their product in order to say ‘this is for Valentines Day’.
Generally retailers will do this by having hearts printed on the packaging. But say you wanted to go a stage further and really incorporate the Valentines Day message into your product. You’d make your packaging (the first thing the customer sees) a physical representation of a Valentines Day gift. One way of doing that? A heart shaped box. Rather than just printing hearts on your packaging, why not make your packaging an actual heart? It stands out, and it explains exactly what it’s for without any confusion. As one of the very few companies who make heart shaped boxes, lots of customers come to us for that precise shape.
Over the last few years, Valentines Day spending in the UK alone has risen to well above £2 billion. The retailer’s share of that income is at well over half that amount. Given it’s size, retailers will know that getting Valentines Day wrong can have catastrophic implications for a business. For that reason, it’s crucial to leave no stone unturned in order to sell your product.
Noel Greenwood is the Managing Director of GWD Ltd, the designers and manufacturers of presentation and promotional packaging. You can reach him on (01279) 416093 or at the company’s website: www.gwd.ltd.uk