February 10, 2017, 12:04 PM

Loot Crate tries to woo Valentine’s Day shoppers looking for an alternative

Sales of pet products in Wayfair’s Valentine’s Day online store are 84% greater than sales in all other categories combined.

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It’s unlikely that the first thing you think of when you think Valentine’s Day is comic books or video games, but online subscription retailer Loot Crate hopes to change that.

“Valentine’s Day represents a new opportunity for subscription companies like ourselves,” says Loot Crate head of corporate communications Erik Reynolds. “We see Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to give your loved one something that isn’t temporary, something that represents the lasting nature of your love.”

The four-year-old retailer, which boasts a Facebook audience of more than 2.5 million, is targeting shoppers via email and paid Facebook ads to try to get them to think beyond candy and flowers for their sweethearts. A sample ad includes a picture of a figurine with messaging that reads “Flowers die. Chocolates get eaten. Teddy Bears can’t love you back. This Valentine’s Day, give the gift that lasts,” along with a link to one of its subscription boxes. Shoppers can sign up for crates ranging from $8.99-$44.99 per month, which include a selection of apparel, collectibles and home goods, depending on the price.

“Every month it’s on (your sweetheart’s) doorstep and it’s a constant reminder that you care,” Reynolds says.

Reynolds paints the campaign as an alternative to traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. However, it could also be an attempt to drum up business during what was in 2016 one of the company’s slowest months for traffic. Data from web traffic measurement firm SimilarWeb shows LootCrate.com drew 4.9 million visitors in February 2016, its second lowest total of the year after September (4.7 million visitors). Reynolds declined to say what kind of a bump Loot Crate has seen as a result of this campaign so far.

Meanwhile, Wayfair Inc. shoppers are feeling the love ahead of Valentine’s Day, but not for a significant other.

A Wayfair spokeswoman reports that since the online retailer launched its Valentine’s Day shop Jan. 20, sales in the “Picks for Pet Lover” category” are 84% greater than sales of all other categories put together. Wayfair is No. 24 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide. Products in the “Pet-Lover Picks” section include gifts for pets and pet-themed merchandise, such as wall art, photo frames and vacuums.

People aren’t just buying goodies for their pets though. They’re also buying booze. A lot of it.

Alcohol delivery platform Drizly reports that the period around Feb. 14 is the second busiest time of the year for the company, with wine sales increasing by 70% compared with a typical week this time of year. Sales were up 60% on the day before Valentine’s Day 2016 (Feb. 13 was a Saturday last year), compared with a typical weekend.

“Whiskey crept up in popularity last year and we expect to see growth in this category again this year,” a Drizly spokeswoman says, noting that it pairs well with chocolate.

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