When you think of Valentine’s Day, what comes to mind? Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, a dozen red roses, and maybe a timeless piece of jewelry, right? You can never go wrong with a traditional gift, but our perceptions of gift-giving are changing, and this year, your store could benefit from shaking things up and offering your customers new ways to spoil their loved ones.

Approximately 55% of Americans celebrated Valentine’s Day in 2020, spending a total of $27.4 billion on gifts, and although the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects sales to drop to $21.8 billion in 2021, its survey shows that most people are still committed to celebrating their loved ones in one way or another. As a growing number of people are thinking outside the box this year, so should grocery stores and food service businesses who want to maximize their sales.

Here’s how to stock your shelves for Valentine’s Day 2021.

Sweet Treats Are Always a Hit

For your customers who want to try something new while staying within the realm of sweets, stock up on an array of baked goods like dipped treats, message cookies, and cupcakes. According to The Nielsen Company, dipped or covered treat sales alone rose by 2,597% during the week of Valentine’s Day in 2017 compared to any other week that year. Partnering with a local bakery is also a great way to support your community and grow your customer base.

And nothing pairs better with homemade baked goods than a bottle of local wine. The same report from The Nielsen Company stipulates that Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays for wine sales, generating millions of dollars each year (in 2017, for example, sales reached $620 million). As the sixth-highest-grossing holiday for wine sales, ensuring your shelves are stocked with a variety of local and international reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines at all price points is a surefire way to increase your sales this Valentine’s Day 2021.

Everyone Loves an Experience

Younger generations are gifting their loved ones special date nights and activities over physical gifts. Although child care and other limitations can prevent some couples from going out, certain experiences can be done right at home. In fact, the NRF’s Valentine’s Day 2021 survey estimates that 41% of those celebrating are planning “a special dinner or celebration at home.” Why not take your cue from subscription companies who are selling date-night-in boxes and give your customers the tools and ingredients to cook their own gourmet meals at home?

Excellence Industries Beyond Chocolate & Roses: How to Stock Your Shelves for Valentine's Day 2021

Cater to your customer’s plans by displaying an assortment of meats, cheeses, jams, and locally made charcuterie boards, for example. Or, set up an array of steaks, wine pairings, and ready-made salads (as well as a few plant-based alternatives for vegan and vegetarian shoppers) for a heartier meal. To appeal to the wine connoisseurs, you can even arrange wine bottles by flavor for DIY at-home wine tastings. Your customers will appreciate the ease of grabbing everything they need for Valentine’s Day 2021 in one spot.

Gift Cards Are Quick & Easy

Contrary to popular belief, gift cards don’t have to be impersonal. If you know the person you’re shopping for, a gift card allows the receiver to choose exactly what he or she wants – and what better way to show our loved ones we care than by giving them total freedom to choose their own gifts.

Line your checkout aisles and cash registers with a variety of gift cards for all demographics. Stocking up on a little bit of everything – restaurants, beauty stores, activities, meal delivery services, even local jewelers – guarantees you’ll pique the interest of as many last-minute Valentine’s Day 2021 shoppers as possible.

Not Every Relationship Is a Romantic One

Keep in mind that all love deserves to be celebrated – not just romantic love! Prepare for customers shopping for Valentine’s Day 2021 gifts for their children, teachers, coworkers, and even pets! Galentine’s Day has become a mainstream way for women to celebrate their closest friendships. (In fact, according to the NRF, prior to 2010, Americans spent an estimated $737 million on gifts for friends, but that number ballooned to $2.1 billion after the popular television show “Parks and Recreation” aired its Galentine’s Day episode.)

For the greatest sales potential, your Valentine’s Day 2021 products and displays should target more than just romantic love: If your store carries pet products, for example, you may want to partner with a local dog treat business to create decorative Valentine’s Day dog cookies.

With so much going on in the world around us, it’s important to take the time to appreciate those we love – and Valentine’s Day 2021 is as good an excuse as any to celebrate! By strategically stocking your shelves with more than the usual boxes of chocolate and red roses, your store can become the go-to spot for customers who want to spoil their loved ones.

Are you unsure of how to display products in your store for Valentine’s Day 2021? Contact us to learn how we can help!