Small Business Lifeskills: The Independent Retailer’s Guide to Promoting Mother’s Day

7 Reasons to ‘do’ Mothers’ Day  

Here are seven reasons why Mothers’ Day is a good Promotional Event for artisan food shops 

  1. It increases the frequency of regular customers’ visits: 
    Lots of people have Mothers – your audience is large PLUS your target market is families, and families typically come with mothers  
  2. It’s a national cultural event
    The event is widely promoted by other businesses. People will want and expect you to put on a Mothers’ Day offer 
  3. Convenience for Dads: 
    Fathers are usually the gift buyers, sometimes one for each of their children to give. Make it convenient for them and they will reward you. 
  4. The event suits you
    Mothers like food. Food is the most popular gift for mothers after flowers. 
  5. Increase average spend: 
    Customers will top up their baskets as they go round with Mothers’ Day  gifts 
  6. Sell Mothers’ Day meals:
    This may be in your café, or foods to take home and treat their mother with. 
  7. Attract new customers:
    New customers will come to your shop to try you out, because either: 
  • They will “trade up” to give Mothers’ Day presents, encouraging people to come in who wouldn’t ordinarily 
  • Friends and family of regular “mothers” – customers will come in knowing you are a favourite shop, expecting to find something their mother will like 

It is apparently the third largest holiday in the US in retail, and 29% will buy their gifts online so plan to get a piece of that market.  Check https://www.bigcommerce.co.uk/blog/mothers-day-by-the-numbers/ – it’s American but insightful. 

Goals: What does success look like? 

You have three simple goals: 

  1. Buy promotional stock, and sell it at least at your target margin, with none leftover 
  2. Increase your average basket size during the period 
  3. Increase footfall during the period. If you can’t measure footfall, get new customers signed up to your loyalty club as a proxy for new customers in-store 


There are three types of budget you need to consider: 

  • Budget for general stock (General and seasonal stock) that will sell through increased footfall. In general, Mothers’ Day is not a huge promotion, and you will not need to stock much extra for this. Just ensure you are properly stocked up and your shelves are bursting in the normal way to make the most of the extra footfall. 
  • Budget for Mothers’ Day stock that will sell through the Promotional Events increased footfall. This is something I can’t generalise about As it varies so enormously from store to store.   

Charlie’s Top TipIf you have never done Mother’s Day before, identify one or two promotional areas to populate with Mother’s Day only stock and look to restock once.  Buy that. Add some bits and pieces for around your till. 

If you have done Mother’s Day before – do what you did last year plus 20%. 

  • Budget for merchandising: how much? For most businesses they will have a merchandising budget they roll over for each month. This is effective and easy for everyone to understand. I like it. If you are starting from scratch that is a bit harder.  I think it is reasonable to consider 5% of your extra earnings.   

Charlie’s Top Tip – give yourself a 3% merchandising and advertising budgetIf you intend to sell £3,000 in additional general stock, and £2,000 in Mothers’ Day stock, then 3% of £3k+£2k is £150. That will go a long way for merchandising.   

I do not generally allow an advertising budget.  With social media and counter chat, you probably don’t need one either.  That 3% mentioned above – if you want an advertising budget (or flyer print budget or Facebook ad costs) take it from there.  But remember, spending it means earning it back: with these kinds of promotion-led sales, advertising is an above-the-line cost. 

What to stock 

  • Anything with Mum on it 
  • Chocolates  
  • Prosecco  
  • Something luxury  
  • Mothers’ Day cheeseboards/recipe cards using your meat – something special about you 
  • Flower multi-buys 
  • Vouchers!  

Charlie’s Top Tip: Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day run similar themes: pink and red, hearts, fluffy stuff.  My team thinks I shouldn’t say this, they argue it generalises about mothers in a shallow way, but any high street will show you I am right and this is a business decision.  

My advice is when stocking for Valentine’s Day, pay attention to what can roll over to Mothers’ Day.  They are close in the Calendar so Best Before dates won’t be a problem. That doesn’t mean you should plan for the same stock lines; it just acts as an insurance policy to protect your margin. 


  • Overstocking and having stock left over.  Mother’s Day is a full stop kind of event, there is nothing you can do with Mother themed stock.  Ensure it is all gone one way or another by the following Monday. 
  • anything too close to supermarket-ware. Keep a close eye on supermarkets, they are exceptionally good at Mothers’ Day.  

Looking for inspiration? Check out these channels on Delishops Wholesale.


Promotional Period 

This year Mothers’ Day is on 22nd March and most businesses will run their promotion over the two weeks running up to it.  Therefore, the week beginning 2ndMarch is about right. Have your merchandising set by 6th March latest, but you can have a small “starter” display from 28th February. 

Promotions and customer incentives  

Here are some product promotions 

Mothers’ Day packaging Consider your regular products (with event packaging) from regular suppliers. People play it safe and will often go with a brand or product they know their Mother will like. 
Custom packaging You can package your regularly stocked products as Mothers’ Day gifts. Use some tissue paper and ribbon to make some of your chocolates into a zero-stock risk gift. 
Hampers The best Store assembled gift. Pitch them at 2-3 price points. 
Pocket money-friendly items Young kids want to buy presents for their mum.   
Nudge your kids/wish list for mothers Many Dad’s, Sons and Daughters need reminding that it’s Mothers’ Day. Don’t be afraid to get Mothers to nudge them. 
Online vouchers Your target Mothers may be local, but their children may not. Offer vouchers for meals or gifts they can buy online for their Mother to spend in-store 
Click & Collect gifts As a local store, your target Mothers may pop in on a regular basis. A gift bought by someone remotely online for them to collect or eat in your restaurant/café makes good gifts to promote online. 
Events Mothers’ Day events are excellent; they may be as simple as a lunch or tea with a big Mother’s Day cake display. 

Charlie’s Top Tip: Buy some Mothers’ Day ribbon from Amazon (40-45p/meter) and decorate your most popular chocolates. When the event is over you can take the ribbon off and put it back on the shelf. At most 50cm ribbon per box, so add 50p to the sales price.  Practical and unique. 

Price Promotions 

Multi-buys Link a few products together and put a price promotion. An example might be: Some chocolates A potted plant A voucher for coffee  
Loyalty Club reward Free takeaway coffee for all Club Mums on Mothers’ Day. They will love you for it and spend more with you because of it (“At least somebody remembered…”)  
Extended Loyalty Club reward  Free coffee and cake for Club Mums for club members in Mothers’ Day Fortnight. This is a good way to get new club members and drive up the frequency of footfall, plus it makes Mothers feel good. 

Channel review. Where are we going to do our promotions? 


Window display Essential It is a wonderful positive family-centred opportunity to talk to your high street. If you are a Farm Shop, your roadside display needs to do the same thing. 
Tills Essential Till display should be the first and last area of Mothers’ Day stock you display.  It is often the place where the customer has a moment to think and browse, even if they are in a hurry, so use it to remind them to get that special something for their Mother. 
Main display Essential A big display near the front door sets out your message straight away 
Shelf wobblers Useful Shelf wobblers against everyday products which are relevant to Mothers’ Day are good ways of prompting people whil browsing to increase their basket size. 
Signage Essential Many of your products need attention drawn to them. Remind customers in advance to book a Mothers’ Day meal, order a hamper, or visit your website to send their Mum a gift. You can’t be subtle with customers! 

Team chat/Loyalty club sign up 

Every promotion needs a script. Agree what yours is and brief the team in.  

Don’t get too complicated and focus on your promotions, but make sure your team know what they are and are mentioning at least one when they interact with a customer. 

Your Website & Facebook 

Websites and Facebook are useful for facts; people reference them. 

  • Put the entire event on the front page of your website from 1st March   
  • List all your promotions, giving times and dates 
  • Give them an immediate Call to Action ie a link to how to book, buy or get in touch using whatever tools you have 

For Facebook, create an event covering the whole event period and add all the facts about what is going on as above.  

Social media: Facebook PLUS your favourite SM channel –  

Posts are about engagement 

End of February Post your menu plans and images of your dishes and take bookings.  Show your preparations, like developing recipes, receiving products, putting products on the shop floor 
Launch: Friday either 6th  March of 28th February Post images of your displays. Most importantly show your window. 
Launch to 13 March Post: images of products for sale being held, bought or eaten by customers images of your merchandising links to Mothers’ Day products for sale online reminders to book Mothers’ Day meals (eat in or take away) 
13-22 March “Don’t forget Mothers’ Day” messages, with recommendations of what to buy 
22 March Wish Happy Mothers’ Day to all your customers 

Measure performance and success

The key success indicators are: 

  1. Sales of Mothers’ Day promotional products (retail or food service). Ensure they are separately identifiable on your EPOS 
  2. Average basket spend on each day or week within the promotional period 
  3. Loyalty Club promotions that are taken up 
  4. Number of new Loyalty Club members 

Alongside that, record a diary of your promotional campaign by taking lots of pictures of your displays so you have a visual record 

  • keeping notes on what worked and didn’t work so well 
  • update social media with what is going on and how it is going, it’s great for referencing and seeing comments by customers the following year 
  • taking images of your local supermarket displays and offers  

Remaining stock 

You can’t sell Mothers’ Day stock cheap; it devalues what your customers have just bought from you. Make it disappear – but count it first, especially the stock you can’t reuse. 

Ready for next year  

In your monthly Promotions Meeting with your team, note any feedback. Mothers’ Day is essential, but you may choose to decrease or increase its shop presence or budget for next year. The notes you make are your instructions for next year. 

Delishops Wholesale – your online marketplace for artisan food and drink products 

Source your Mothers’ Day Suppliers at Delishops Wholesale – Register for your FREE account today to access small and innovative producers and importers. We stock a wide variety of unusual products that are perfect for Mothers’ Day. 

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