You’re back for a new term and love is in the air. For many students, they’ll be spending time with their significant others this Valentine’s Day, but other students will be winging it solo.
It doesn’t have to be a sad or bitter time of the year for them or your store, though. Court your single students — and your local business community — with a Galentine’s Day or Guys Night In. Hold a girl’s night, a guy’s night or both, providing students with events and services to provide a cheaper alternative to a big date night or so Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to feel like a precursor to “Singles Awareness Day.” It can build relations with stores in your community and build buzz among your regular customers!
Pick your partners and your merch
Download: Valenguy marketing kit
This is a great opportunity to expand your store’s network and partner with businesses in the community off campus. You could invite a bartender to make mocktails, a beautician to do mani/pedis or a restaurant to provide food or cater the event (though arrange that plenty in advance if you plan on holding your event on Valentine’s Day itself!) Every college town is different, so take into account what unique services your local town has to offer and what the students at your school would appreciate.
This is a great opportunity for your store to network with other businesses in the community to collaborate on future events. Plus, since your store has immediate access to the valuable student demographic in your town, savvy businesses will love to take part and showcase their services!
Pick a date and promote
If your store is open on Saturdays, you can host a myriad of events and local sales on Feb. 14. If not, you can do your events the day before, or any other time that week it works for your store and campus.
We’ve created a Facebook cover photo for the event you can feel free to use and fliers to hang up in store, but what better way to promote your event than by valentine cards?
Valentine coupon exchange
Download: Galentine's Day marketing kit
Why spend extra effort promoting your event or sales when you can have students do it for you with a valentine-themed coupon contest! Participating students can print off the valentines from your social media site or pick up some ready-made ones in store and write down their name on the valentine they use as an event invitation.
The person who has most returned valentines gets a prize of your choice — it could be merchandise you want to showcase from your store, or a gift certificate from one of your participating businesses. The valentine itself is a coupon good for a discount in store on things like concessions, school supplies or surplus inventory, so the recipient has even more incentive to come turn in their valentine, while the card-giver has an incentive to invite everyone they can to come out and enjoy the night!
We’ve taken the liberty of creating a partial social media prompt you can use to help explain the rules of the promotion.
Not going out this Valentine’s Day? Come on over to our store at *EVENT LOCATION/TIME* for *EVENT NAME*! We’ll be having a FREE night of food, games and more!
Don’t go stag this year. We’ve created fun valentine invites you can give out to your friends to invite them to come! Each invite is also a coupon for *SPECIAL DEAL*. Plus, the student who hands out the most valentines that are returned back to the bookstore wins *PRIZE*!
Tag your friend and our store to spread the word about *EVENT NAME*!
Throw a bash!
Each section of your store can host different activities for your guys’ night or Galentine’s Day gala. If your store has a movie section, show a film — you can stick to the typical rom-com fare, or something along the lines of The Breakup for a lighter mood. Your students might get a makeover by the cosmetics department, or play some games and sing karaoke near the tech department. You could host sports trivia by game apparel, and students can unwind with some simple craft projects such as a make-your-own-valentine station. Serve traditional treats such as candy hearts or chocolates by the convenience items.
As you host all of these activities, don’t forget to put out displays of your latest merchandise so students can peruse. “Comfort” items like blankets, apparel, pillows, candy and games can be good sales for those without a significant other this time of year, or you can opt to display more traditional gifts like jewelry or accessories, fragrances and more.