That decline is larger than the multichannel retailer’s overall 5.8% sales decline.
1-800-Flowers and FTD Group will give discounts for gifts delivered before Valentine’s Day, while Amazon.com offers free one-day shipping on more expensive items. American Greetings predicts its site traffic will be 12 times higher than usual on the holiday.
Many e-retail sites scream red and pink today, as flowers and gift merchants ranked in the Internet Retailer Top 500 and Second 500 Guide blanket their sites with images of flowers, candy and gifts, and increase promotions ahead of Valentine’s Day on Friday.
The two largest online flower merchants, 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. and FTD Group Inc. are running campaigns today targeting early Valentine’s Day shoppers. 1-800-Flowers.com is offering customers 25% off their order if they select delivery today, tomorrow or Wednesday. FTD is giving a $10 gift card on future orders for delivery by Thursday.
American Greetings Corp., greeting card maker and the fifth largest online retailer in the Top 500 Guide flowers and gifts category, says most of the Valentine’s Day rush will come on Friday, as customers sign on at the last minute to send digital cards that arrive instantly via e-mail.
“Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for our digital brands at American Greetings,” a spokeswoman says. “On Feb. 14, our web sites will welcome 12 times as many visitors as an average day; this is twice the visitors of the next biggest day–Christmas Eve.”
The country’s largest web merchant, Amazon.com Inc., is also pushing Valentine’s Day promotions. Last week the e-retailer offered up to $90 off Kindle e-readers and 30% off some jewelry items. This week, Amazon is giving free one-day shipping on select styles of watches and jewelry.
In early August, Amazon began selling fresh-cut flowers through a shop it’s calling the Amazon Curated Flowers Collection, but the new flower selection is not front and center among Amazon’s Valentine’s Day-related pages. A search for fresh flowers brings up a slew of arranged flower options, and Amazon says orders placed by noon on Wed., Feb. 12 are guaranteed to arrive on Valentine’s Day.
Amazon declined to comment on its flower shop strategy or sales performance for the flower shop , but a spokeswoman says, “We’ve been very pleased with the interest from our customers.”
For GourmetGiftBaskets.com, the rush of shoppers will likely come today and tomorrow, says Jason Bergeron, director of sales and marketing. Even so, purchases are guaranteed to arrive Friday for all orders placed by 6 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.
GourmetGiftBaskets.com, which secured $18.0 million in online sales in 2012 according data available on Top500Guide.com, brings in around 10% of its annual revenue in February. However, sales of Valentine’s Day gift items are likely to suffer this year since the holiday falls on a Friday, Bergeron says. It’s easier for loved ones to be together on a weekend night, he says, so whatever discretionary funds they have available for Valentine’s Day are more likely to be spent on dinner together than gifts from an online retailer.
“We’re going to be up in sales in February since we’ve been on a growth pattern for the last ten years,” he says. “But because Valentine’s Day is failing on a weekend this year, it will be slightly smaller than a normal growth pattern would be.”