It’s February. The hectic holiday season is in hindsight while it’s still early enough that retail marketers aren’t thinking about the next one quite yet. Of course, that only applies to the holidays without considering the numerous celebrations sprinkled throughout the rest of the calendar year. Take Valentine’s Day, for instance.

Last year, consumers spent more than $27 billion on Valentine’s Day, a record-breaking 32% increase over 2019. Valentine’s Day is traditionally a gift-giving holiday — the only bigger event for floral retailers is Elvis Presley’s death — and people are increasingly using that to treat themselves. According to a Prosper survey, 11% of people were their own valentines in 2019.


Valentine’s Day and other B-List holidays, from Mother’s Day to Easter to Halloween, represent a big opportunity for marketers.

Personalized Send Time

This is one of the easiest thing marketers can do to make sure their messages get heard loud and clear. Even on secondary holidays, customers will be receiving an increased volume of emails. It won’t be quite as overwhelming as the year-end barrage, but inboxes will still be full.

Personalized send time ensures that your email arrives just when each individual customer is most likely to open it. If a customer never checks their email before their second cup of coffee, why send it at 6 a.m., only to see it get buried? That send time is more suited to folks who read their email early — and that’s exactly what personalized send time will do.

Gift Guides for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Beyond

With so many people unsure what constitutes the perfect gift, Valentine’s Day is made for gift guides. And not just for retailers specializing in flowers and jewelry. This is a great opportunity for any retailer to think outside the box of chocolates and get creative. Chubbies isn’t the most obvious brand for Valentine’s Day gifts, but the shorts retailer went for it anyway. Notice how these gifts are also perfect for “yourself.” 

Drive Urgency with Click-and-Collect

As the pandemic kept brick-and-mortar stores closed throughout the country, click-and-collect shopping has exploded in popularity. According to market research firm Ipsos, consumers are buying online, picking up in-store (BOPIS) and using curbside pickup 78% more than they were pre-pandemic. Because click-and-collect eliminates shipping delays, these offerings are a great way to engage last-minute shoppers, like Target does.

“Wisdom of the Crowd” Recommendations

Also known as collaborative filtering, these recommendations often begin, “Customers who bought this item also bought…” These are ubiquitous across ecommerce sites for a reason: They work. Now, take advantage of the holiday themes to update your copy and better reflect your brand’s personality.

Best Sellers

In many cases, people will be buying both for themselves and for others. And often, gift-givers aren’t sure exactly what they want to buy. Make it easy for them to browse your site with recommendations for bestsellers, favorites, or most popular designations. Showcase products that do especially well at converting first-time buyers, since gift-giving often pushes people to buy outside their usual categories and brands.

Create Complementary Content

B-List holidays are perfect for showcasing your content+commerce strategy because the possibilities are limitless. At Halloween, that can mean a makeup tutorial from Sephora or an apparel retailer demonstrating how to turn its clothes into costumes. Tory Burch went this route last Valentine’s Day with content about her parents’ love story.

Triggered Messages

Behavior-based triggered messages represent an opportunity to get more mileage out of communications that they’re already sending. That’s because triggered emails, such as abandoned cart and order confirmations, have sky-high open rates. While your customers engage with those communications — and with you — use them as an opportunity for cross-selling and discovery. Many brands even use the holidays themselves as triggers.

Differentiated Discounts

Discounts can bring in new customers and do wonders for your top line. Of course, they also can hurt profitability. That’s why not all customers should get the same discount. For each customer, you want to make the offer that will compel them to buy without damaging your financials or your brand’s reputation. Some customers may respond well to trial sizes or gifts with purchase, while others may want free shipping. Offers such as “10% off your purchase of $100 or more” can be effective in boosting purchase value.

Most of these personalization strategies are effective year-round. But if you’re not already employing all of them, these secondary holidays can be a great opportunity to up your game — and to make sure that your customers stay engaged with you, year-round.