Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, and that stands to be far lovelier for 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. than the holiday landing on a Sunday, as it did in 2016.
“On a weekend, consumers have more choices and you might skip flowers as a primary gift,” CEO Chris McCann says. “When it’s during the week and more people are at their places of work, you almost have to deliver flowers to your sweetheart’s work.”
McCann says because of the timing of the holiday this year, he projects the retailer’s sales to increase 7-10% year over year for the Valentine’s Day season. Planning for Feb. 14 began almost as soon as the rose petals settled from Valentine’s Day 2016, he says.
The National Retail Federation projects shoppers will spend $18.2 billion overall this year on Valentine’s Day, down 7.6% from a 10-year high of $19.7 billion last year. The NRF did not break out online sales in its projections.
“The planning capabilities that have gone into this holiday are phenomenal, starting a year ago working with our growers, our logistics partners, our florists,” he says. “[There are] so many moving pieces and then making sure our technology platform is ready for that. We ramp up significantly every day this week right through the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, making sure we have more than enough headroom on our servers, our chatrooms ramp up significantly and we have a social media command center making sure we’re staying on top of it.”
There’s a good reason why 1-800-Flowers, No. 57 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, has to make sure its servers are ready—a lot of consumers will visit its site.
According to data from web traffic measurement firm SimilarWeb, February 2016 was the second busiest month 1800Flowers.com has experienced in the past 18 months with 3.5 million visitors, trailing only May, the month of Mother’s Day, with 3.8 million site visits. By comparison, 3.5 million represents month-over-month traffic growth of 120.5% compared with January.
The retailer is encouraging shoppers to get their Valentine’s orders in early, offering 20% off on select items delivered from Thursday-Monday.
“Get it done early and be a hero,” McCann says. “I’d much rather have my sweetheart receive the flowers on Monday and not be sitting there on Tuesday anxious at 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, waiting.”
1-800-Flowers isn’t the only retailer dealing with a spike in business.
Iris Voltaire, business and brand development analyst with online lingerie retailer Adore Me, says January 2017 was the company’s biggest month from a sales perspective since launching in 2011, and that momentum has carried over into the first week of February. According to SimilarWeb, AdoreMe.com saw just over 5 million visits in January, 1.6% more than its previous best month within the past 18 months. Its previous best month for traffic was February 2016.
This year, Voltaire says the company is aiming to make the holiday more inclusive so shoppers who aren’t romantically involved don’t feel left out.
“Adore Me is re-branding V-Day to ‘Me Day’, empowering women to feel confident regardless of their relationship status,” she says. The e-retailer is running a marketing campaign to support Me Day. “Rather than oversexualized lingerie, the fashion shoot was centered around activewear and comfortable leisure wear, and featured a plus-size model to send out a message of inclusivity and body-positivity.” The campaign launched in part with a Facebook video showing a single woman “falling in love” with one of Adore Me’s bras.Favorite