A new forecast from Forrester Research credits greater online spending by Canadians, lower shipping costs and more selection for the spending increase.
Retailers are flooding social networks with Valentine's Day promotions.
This Valentine’s Day, a stupid gift idea from a Valentine’s Day past could reap a big reward—like a free trip for two to the Caribbean.
That’s the Facebook pitch from floral retailer FTD. “We’re collecting the worst Valentine’s Day gift faux pas,” it says on its Facebook page, which as of today had garnered 214,800 Likes, with 8,946 people talking about it. “Share yours and win a chance to take a Sandals Resorts Luxury Included Caribbean Vacation.” To insert a little humor, the retailer punctuated the promotion with an image of a gift-wrapped box and the personal note, “We’re done.”
Not to be outdone in the vacation offers, Kay Jewelers ran its own Facebook sweepstakes to a more distant place known as a destination for lovers. “Like Kay Jewelers and then enter the Open Hearts Valentine’s Day Event Sweepstakes,” the jeweler called out on its Facebook page, which as of today had collected 534,084 Likes, with 50,160 members talking about it. “Win a trip to Paris.”
Jewelry retailer Ice.com promoted product-focused offers in social media and in repeated e-mails this week.
“Fall in love with blue diamonds,” Ice posted on Facebook yesterday, showing a blue diamond pendant marked 54% off the regular price. The blue offer generated positive feedback, with one Ice fan, Kellie Kane, commenting: “Now you’re talking. Never mind the nasty black diamonds. This is much nicer.” A previous Ice.com offer on Facebook had promoted a rink with white and black diamonds.
Ice also posted offers on Twitter every few hours, including: 60% off earring studs, and 56% off ($100) a ring with heart designs. And it aggressively extended its pitches through e-mail, with several a day in the past week. “Spend More to Save More. Hurry! Ends Tonight,” one e-mail said on Feb. 6.
In one of the more unusual Facebook campaigns, Harry & David, the food and gifts merchant, kicked off on Jan. 29 a daily campaign to send someone a Valentine’s Day gift. The line-up: a lobster dinner for two, including two Gourmet Lobster Pot Pies, two Quattro Formaggio-on-the-half-shells and a Chocolate Sin Cake; a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates and a box of pears. For extra exposure, Harry & David tweeted about its sweepstakes on Twitter.
Other social media pitches from merchants of flowers, candy and other gifts were more routine, but plentiful, consistent and often apparently generous.
New research on consumer buying, meanwhile, underscored that Valentine’s Day is a strong day for online sales. A survey by PriceGrabber, the comparison shopping engine, found that 62% of online consumers plan to spend up to $100 on Valentine’s Day gifts this year and that 36% plan to spend more than $100. In addition, 56% of consumers said they would buy gifts online, up from 34% last year, compared with 69% who plan to buy in a store, up from 54%.
And men plan to outspend women this year, spending on average $287, compared with $164 for women, according to a Shoppers Trend Report from coupon site RetailMeNot.
In more good news for online merchants, at least for those with the best offers, online shoppers will visit an average of 2.7 e-commerce sites before making an online purchase, according to a study by Forrester Consulting conducted for Rakuten Linkshare, the affiliate marketing network.
Here’s a sampling of other Valentine’s Day social media activity:
● Shari’s Berries, which specializes in chocolate-covered strawberries, displayed a series of promotions on its Facebook page: “Our Love is Classic,” with chocolate-covered strawberries; “Our Love is Unique,” with chocolate-covered fortune cookies; “Our Love is Playful,” with smiley-faced “love cake pops” on sticks. All had links to “Buy” pages on Berries.com. The retailer’s Facebook home page showed 241,218 Likes and 8,946 members talking about it as of Friday afternoon. On Twitter, Shari’s tweeted a “15% off with promo code Sweet on You,” with a link to a Valentine’s Day gift.
● Godiva Chocolatier posted on Facebook: “This Valentine’s Day, we’re serious about sharing the love—and the chocolate! Ten lucky winners of our Share the Love Sweepstakes will each win a 19-piece box of Godiva chocolate for themselves and up to five hundred boxes for their Facebook friends!” Entering the sweepstakes, which started Jan. 15 and runs until Valentine’s Day, requires a participant to share on Facebook a photo “of you with your Valentine.”
● Gifts retailer Cherry Moon Farms received exposure on Twitter from other companies, such as YourDealMachines.com, which tweeted “Valentine’s Day Special: Save 15% on Romantic Fortune Cookies, only $24.99.”
● Jewelry retailer Zales posted several tweets, including: “Candy is the perfect gift for your Valentine. Candy Colored Gemstones, that is. Shop now. A link to a shopping page followed. Zales also featured on its Pinterest account a board labeled “Valentine’s Day;” by Feb. 7 it had 45 pins.
● Jewelry retailer Ross Simons offered a daily deal on Facebook and Twitter for a 14-karat gold-heart bracelet, with free monogramming.
● Wine Country Gift Baskets displayed on Facebook photos of the winners of its Valentine’s Day photo contest. On Pinterest, it featured a Valentine’s Day board with 26 pins of its products.
● Old Time Candy Co. used Facebook as a reminder for those who had missed its Valentine’s Day newsletter. “If you missed the savings in our Valentine’s Day newsletter, click on the link below.” The link sent visitors to a web page with offers including “Whitman’s Sampler—a Valentine’s Day staple!”
● Jewelry retailer Blue Nile tweeted several promotions, including 20% off select diamond, gemstone and heart jewelry until Feb. 13 and a grand prize of $3,500 in a Valentine’s Day sweepstakes.
● Gifts retailer Red Envelope tweeted messages about gifts in its Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, including a pocket compass featured on CountryLiving.com and a monogrammed bracelet featured on MensHealth.com.