This article was authored by the British Display Society, for high street businesses.

In the past Valentines has been about the love relationship between couples’ and commercialised. Love stories like Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ remind us of powerful, deep and enduring love. But Valentines this year is more about universal love and gratitude and love for humanity in general.
There is an opportunity for retailers to express their gratitude to their customers and for all of us to reflect upon some of the more important things in life. Amid a global pandemic that affects all our lives, separates us from those we love and isolate those who feel isolated even more. This Valentine’s day we can reach out to all of those who need the most basic of all human needs, love.
The message of Black Lives Matter is still relevant as we should continue to come to terms with racism and equality for all. Valentines has the potential to be more meaningful and emotionally relevant to everyone.
Make Valentine’s Day windows display this year more meaningful than the cheesy Hallmark card holiday it was in the past. Now it’s an opportunity to say thank you.
The messages of love and compassion are needed more than iconic red hearts. It’s not just about a box of chocolates and red roses but a powerful reminder of what is important in life and our connection to those around us. Whether they are our lovers, family, friends, teachers, doctors, nurses, essential workers, the grocer, the bin man, the neighbour we never used to talk to but helped us out…anyone who deserves to feel appreciated and loved this Valentine’s Day.
If you are a retailer or have a business on a high street with a window display, we hope to encourage you to do displays with messages of love and positive words to help us through these challenging times and hopefully you will be paid back with online sales and customer loyalty.
The general, the mood is glum out there and most retailers will find it hard to be motivated or invest in window display, but the efforts made to encourage and make your customers and the general passing public, feeling better. Keeping window displays up to date and relevant will not only generate online sales but be remembered when shops open up again.
Making others feel good also has an effect of making those doing the windows feel good too. In at least that we share the universal message of love and thanks through the usually cheesy holiday of Valentine’s Day.
The time leading up to Valentine’s day in February will see most stores closed so window display can be about several things:

    • This is a more socially conscious window that goes to a deeper level of communication of a shop or brand’s philosophy with a more personal side and emotional connection with their customers. The universal message of LOVE with other key words such as HOPE, PEACE, UNITY, RESPECT are messages we can communicate that resonate with all of during this period leading up to Valentine’s day.[check out and credit to Shaun PRICKIMAGE’s project https://linktr.ee/MargatePLUR ]
    • These messages can be quite literally used in window display as the images of GAP and John Lewis’s ‘Give a Little Love’ from Christmas show. This message is even more relevant for Valentine’s.
    • As most shops will be closed, windows are an e-commerce selling tool. Products on display should be available online. The website URL, QR codes and other signage linking to online sales and customer services need to be prominent in the window displays.
    • The way products are displayed need to facilitate window shopper’s choice of product and encouraged customers to go online. Products can be about loving others and wanting to show appreciation but also about self-love and buying things to make ourselves feel better.

Advice given to a food & beverage business that is now, like many others in this industry, have expanded to retail during shutdowns:

    • Consider this idea of universal love in your marketing approach so customers can buy the products and gift sets as a thank you to those who deserve some recognition.
    • You could also offer some hampers that are more about thank you rather than romantic love. It could be ‘spread the love’ with focus on your new jams and bread (for toasting) and maybe something around the very British having a cup of tea cure for all problems ‘love in a cup’ with a tea range and branded mugs .
    • Then a selection of ‘give thanks to someone who deserves a bit of love’ gifts. These should be able to be sent anywhere as people have people to thank who may live far from your town or even local but want to say thanks to anyone who’s been helpful during this time. ‘Thanks Love’ could be the tag line ( like how Northerners speak )
    • Food is wonderful to express love and gratitude so these products and those who serve and sell them have a unique opportunity to help get the message out there of universal love in these times of covid.

Mother’s Day 2021 Tips

    • Mother’s Day soon follows so some retailers may want to reuse the valentines window scheme with the same messages that are still relevant but more about showing love and appreciation for the mothers in our lives. The words ‘MUM’ or can be added to existing window background or window vinyl text.
    • There could be images or caricatures of mothers added to focus on this target market and gifting opportunity.
    • Adults, who’s mothers they cannot visit, will want to send gifts to them. The text ’send a gift to your mum in time for mother’s day’ can be included in the window. Gifts wrapped as parcels, in brown paper being sent out, can be props. Again, the products should focus on what mothers might want while they are in lockdown.