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Jewelers show free shipping love to last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers

February 7, 2017 04:35 PM
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Valentine’s Day is a week away, and retailers are hoping shoppers will have some extra affection left over for them.

Jeweler Tiffany & Co., No. 127 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, is giving shoppers until  3 p.m. Eastern on Monday to place their online orders in time for complimentary delivery by Valentine’s Day, which is the following day.

Online jewelry retailer Blue Nile Inc. (No. 82), is also giving its customers a little extra time. Blue Nile promises to deliver custom diamond jewelry ordered by 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday for free by Valentine’s Day, while almost all other items ordered by 7 p.m. Eastern can be received in time for Feb. 14.

Meanwhile, Sterling Jewelers (parent company Signet Jewelers Ltd. is No. 122) is offering free overnight shipping on online orders placed through 2 p.m. Eastern on Monday, which is the deadline to have an item delivered in time for the holiday. According to a report from wedding resource website The Knot, 8% of all couples that get engaged this year will get engaged this month, with December being the most popular month to get engaged at 15%. According to the Top 500 Guide, online accounted for 7.3% of total retail sales for the 16 retailers in the jewelry category in 2015.

Flash-sale retailer Rue La La (No. 80) created a Valentine’s boutique of products that also served custom content to shoppers based on their response to a question about their relationship status. Shoppers who provided their email address could choose from three answers: “It’s casual,” “It’s exclusive” and “It’s for life.” The retailer began curating its Valentine’s Day product mix well in advance of the holiday, a spokeswoman says, though she declined to specify how far in advance or how much business picks up this time of year.

Much like in shoppers’ personal lives, retailers that use romance in their messaging could increase engagement. Marketing emails around Valentine’s Day in 2016 with the word “romance” in the subject line had an open rate that was 71% better than those that didn’t, according to a report from web hosting and online marketing services vendor GoDaddy Operating Co. LLC.

“Using holiday-related words like ‘romance’ or ‘crush’ in your email marketing subject lines ahead of Valentine’s Day, you tap into what customers are already looking for and can see large increases in open rates and sales,” GoDaddy director of product marketing Eric Gilbert says.

Retailers can also boost their sales by making it easy for consumers to shop across channels. 40% of all shoppers will take an omnichannel approach to their Valentine’s Day purchasing this year by shopping online and in stores, according to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers for cash-back affiliate site Ebates conducted by market research company Propeller Insights. 17% of all shoppers will shop for Valentine’s Day online only, while 41% will shop in-store only. The company did not conduct a similar survey last year. Only 9% of all women surveyed wanted jewelry this Valentine’s Day, with “something thoughtful” leading the pack at 15%. An Ebates spokeswoman defined “something thoughtful” as being something that a partner had mentioned in the past that her partner remembered to pick up or something handmade. “Something thoughtful” proved popular with men as well, with 14% saying that was what they wanted most, while a romantic getaway and chocolate candy tied for second at 9%.

Spending on Valentine’s Day is projected to be $18.2 billion, down 7.6% from a 10-year high of $19.7 billion last year, according to a report from National Retail Federation in conjunction with Prosper Insights & Analytics, That $18.2 billion represents a three-year low point in spending. Prosper and the NRF surveyed nearly 7,600 shoppers in the U.S. from Jan. 4-11 to come up with its projections. The average spend per shopper is expected to drop 7.0% to $136.57, down from $146.84 last year. The NRF and Prosper do not break out online sales figures in the report.

 

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