For web-only sustainable flower retailer Organic Bouquet Inc., Valentine’s Day is like the Super Bowl, so to maximize sales, planning for the holiday starts as early as November, says vice president of e-commerce Jesse Matney. In order to handle the barrage of orders to be delivered today, the e-retailer even temporarily rented out an additional fulfillment center in Miami to handle the increased order flow.
Organic Bouquet, No. 920 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide, accepted orders for Valentine’s Day delivery as late as 6:30 p.m. Eastern time last night, three and half hours later than last year.
The advanced planning paid off, too, as sales are up compared with last year and most FedEx deliveries were going smoothly by 11 a.m. Eastern this morning. “We haven’t seen any operational issues at all,” Matney said in an interview this morning.
Today is also a big day for Godiva Chocolatier Inc., so the retailer made a point to not only go after the shoppers that purchased well in advance of the holiday, but also those that opt for last-minute orders.
“Earlier, we focused on targeted promotions to reward our earliest shoppers,” says Mahender Nathan, vice president of Godiva Direct. “Our later shoppers are also our bigger ticket buyers and it’s clear that these shoppers really wanted to make this holiday special. We’re thankful that we could help make that happen by highlighting some of our standout pieces. Our large satin hearts, chocolate fondue kits and our largest gold ballotins were big winners this year.”
Those efforts paid off for Godiva, No. 533 in the Second 500 Guide, as the merchant experienced double-digit sales increases over last year in the first two weeks of February. “We’re looking forward to continued strong sales with customers who continue to celebrate past the 14th,” Nathan adds.
Organic Bouquet is also noticing shoppers celebrating Valentine’s after the 14th this year and has taken several flower orders for delivery this Thursday or Friday.
Shoppers are increasingly using the web to scout out Valentine’s Day gifts, as searches on Google Inc. for “jewelry gifts” have grown more than 10% compared with last year, according to Jim Lecinski, vice president of U.S. sales at Google. Searches for “flower delivery” were up 20% and “couples massage” searches jumped 50% compared with last year’s Valentine’s Day season.
Searches for more off-the-wall type gifts are increasing, too, as the number of web users who searched for “chocolate bacon” jumped 20% year over year, “heart-shaped pizza” jumped 100% and “Valentines cheese gifts” increased 20%, Google says.
That’s paying off for web-only retailers like BaconFreak.com, which has secured more sales thus far in the first two weeks of February compared to the entire February of last year—thanks in large part to paid search efforts focused on keywords like “chocolate bacon.” “We have a pretty major Google AdWords campaign going on right now with about 12,000 keywords,” says president Rocco Loosbrock. “Valentine’s Day is our third biggest sales holiday and the AdWords campaign has been a major contributor to our sales increase this year.”