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How to Capitalize on Valentine’s Day Procrastinators

Now that the Super Bowl is over, expect to see retailers turning to Valentine’s Day themes. The National Retail Federation (NRF)’s Shop.org unit took a look at the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday to see how online retailers should prepare for shoppers.

The good news for merchants: Online consumers who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day will spend almost one-third more (an average of $175.80) than other Valentine’s Day shoppers who will buy in department stores, discount stores, specialty stores, florists and more.

However, Adobe found shoppers for items such as jewelry, flowers and chocolates waited until the last minute last year, even when shopping online.

“If patterns hold from previous years, retailers can expect most of their Valentine jewelry and gift sales to occur in the four days leading up to February 14, which falls on a Friday this year,” said Shop.org’s Head of Research Fiona Swerdlow. “By contrast, the same analysis showed other categories such as electronics and sporting goods remained more flat leading up to the big day.”

Swerdlow said that means retailers should be prepared for a rush of orders next week. Among her recommendations: Meet with shipping partners this week. “Don’t forget fulfillment planning basics, starting with coordination meetings with shipping partners,” she said. “While volumes won’t come close to holiday-season levels, retailers should nevertheless collaborate with shippers partners to review forecasts, shipping peaks and backup plans in the event of delays caused by weather or other unforeseen events.”

Mobile devices are important for many online Valentine’s Day shoppers, so retail mobile sites should be ready with well-placed store and product information and snappy load times.

Some data from the Valentine’s Day shopping study from the National Retail Federation:

  • One-third of online shoppers who own smartphones expect to use them to research products and compare prices.
  • More than one in five will look up retailer information such as location and store hours and purchase items, among other shopping activities.
  • For online shoppers who own tablets, almost half plan to research products and compare prices, and one-third will purchase items on the device.

NRF’s consumer shopping outlook results for Valentine’s Day is available on the Shop.org website.


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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.