Earn shoppers’ Valentine’s Day embrace

February 08, 2012

Here’s a way for supermarkets to gain a larger share of the growing consumer spend for this special day.

Want to help shoppers light their fire this Valentine’s Day?

Set up an endcap of ‘love foods’ or aphrodisiacs that expand your store’s appeals beyond flowers and boxed candy. To appeal to sweethearts of both genders, assemble and display these at full margin, with signs stating their romantic benefits.

Some foods associated with love since ancient times (some of this is lore rather than science) include:
•    Bananas, rich in potassium and B vitamins essential to the production of sex hormones
•    Ginger, thought to aid in relaxation
•    Chocolate, a tasty source of a better mood and quick energy
•    Garlic, increases blood flow
•    Oysters, rich in zinc and iron to stimulate metabolism and transport oxygen
•    Pine nuts, also rich in zinc to help maintain male potency
•    Vanilla, aromatic and seductive, and shown in some studies to raise adrenaline levels

So, while we admire Fairway Market’s ambition to stretch floral purchases to as high as $119.99 – for a dozen long stem red roses with a large orchid in an ornate rattan and metal bicycle holder – The Lempert Report sees the inclusion of food in this “holiday” as a potentially stronger differentiator that ties closely to a supermarket’s core strength.

It may not matter much that Valentine’s Day lacks credibility as a “real” holiday to more than half of the nation’s consumers:  70% of U.S. adults feel this is a trumped-up day created by card and candy companies and florists to profit, and 80% feel it is over-commercialized, according to the latest SupermarketGuru Quick Poll. 

That still leaves nearly half many million who buy into the day’s premise and look for a novel spin to help lift Feb. 14 into an especially warm midwinter’s night. And since two-thirds of polled consumers (65%) don’t eat dinner out that night, they do seek an at-home solution which supermarkets can provide.

Overall spending for this upcoming celebration will reach an all-time high, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGinsight.  The average spend to celebrate will be $126.03, up 8.5% over last year’s $116.21.  The average male is expected to spend $168.74 compared with the female spend of $85.76.

Supermarkets seeking a greater share of that should put this food display early in the shopping trip, and promote it on social media to reach tablet- and smartphone-reliant shoppers.