Friday, 13 February 2015

Selling and The War of the Roses St Valentine's Day Massacre

 Happy Valentine's Day, Ystävänpäivä ,Saint Valentin, Dia dos Namorados, Valentinsdag, 
Love was even on the platforms of South West Trains network
London Waterlove

Newly adopted Black Friday and Cyber Monday from USA were hyped considerably last year. Yet it seems unclear whether the overall result for additional sales in the long run has occurred .

The business of romance ,February the 14th however is a much longer established retail event.

For the brands, (Saint) Valentine’s Day provides a much-needed sales boost following a post-Christmas lull.

The event gives businesses an opportunity to engage with customers and find new ones.

 it is estimated at least £1.6bn is spent on gifts and treats for the occasion.

Sean Poulter in the Daily Mail this week, drew out some very interesting information about the War of the Roses between the Supermarkets.

 The Imperial unit , the dozen (12), still hangs on for Valentine’s day despite these days of metric.

A hand tied bunch of long stemmed  top quality Grand Prix roses will set you back £70.

Lidl  caught the media’s attention with their bargain dozen roses at £ 3. The variety suitably called ‘sweetheart’ comes from growers in Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Aldi’s cheapest bunch was £ 5 . But they offer a product range increasing in price and luxury that Alfred Sloan would have recognised.  Luxury ‘Freedom’ roses @ £15  and top end Premium Naomi roses @ £20 per dozen.

Tesco, similarly offered a range from £ 5 (matched by ASDA and Morrisons) , Premium @£10 , A luxury bouquet @ £15 and then under their Finest label  £30 bouquet

Sainsbury offered a £7 Fairtrade bunch. 

M and S offering  ranged from £12 for a dozen Kenyan roses to £ 40 for its Freedom variety.
Of course should you wish Interflora to deliver for you their offering ranged from £ 44.99 -  £139.99 .

There are 8,000 independent florists in the UK who have to fight the supermarkets according to their trade body.

Morrisons’ survey revealed
85% of bunches of flowers bought on Valentine’s Day on Red Roses

40% of women say they agree they are a lazy choice and would rather a more imaginative variety of flower

In contrast The Daily Telegraph’s Elizabeth Anderson wrote a fascinating piece on the opportunities for new businesses that Valentine's day presents. 

Sparkling Valentine's

 Trevor Clough, founder of luxury English sparkling wine brand Digby Fine English, the day ia one of the key moments in the calendar.

For brands that aren’t  household names, it’s a great chance to interact with consumers. Valentine’s Day is associated with luxury fizz. At this happy time of year, people are more open to trying new things. English sparkling wine is still new so we need to catch people’s attention.”

“The fun thing for us is making it personal. We’ll be spending time with potential new customers and telling our story. English wine is top quality. People love the story of how our wine is made – and hopefully that will translate into sales."

February retail sales are typically flat, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium, so any extra takings over Valentine’s are welcome.

Cards on offer at WH Smith

Britons spent £40.2 m on cards for the day in 2014, averaging £1.86 per person, the highest spend among special occasions, the Greeting Card Association has calculated.

Easy Easy catch a monkey

Katie Rowland, who runs a luxury jewellery business, says it’s important to teach consumers something, rather than just encouraging them to spend money.

She is running a social media campaign that allows people, particularly men, to work out what ring size their partners are.

“We start gearing up for Valentine’s Day at the beginning of January. Spring is bridal season, so Valentine’s Day fits nicely into that.”

Rowland launched her jewellery business on Valentine’s Day in 2011. She caters for the luxury market, using bold designs that appeal to powerful and headstrong women.

 Her jewellery is sold in Harvey Nichols, Liberty of London and Fenwick, as well as online.
Overseas sales are important, with 25% of customers from Asia.

“Valentine’s Day is important to our industry because jewellery is a popular gift,” she says. “We offer something bespoke and luxurious. For the women we design for, it’s not all about hearts and teddy bears.

Simon Read of Growth Accelerator, the Government-backed scheme that provides small businesses with a mentor and grants, says firms should start planning for the occasion soon in the new year.

Whether it’s hiring someone to give your social media channels a real push or being able to boost your stock ready for the Valentine’s rush, being prepared to really take advantage of these opportunities is crucial for those businesses wanting Valentine’s success.”

Selling “Luck” = preparation + opportunity

Firms have found that having a stand or pop-up presence on the day itself can also pay off, as time-poor consumers are increasingly leaving things until the last minute.

In the UK, Google says there has been a year-on-year increase of 41% in “last minute Valentine’s gift” searches.

Maison Blanc take on a passionate heart
Valentine’s day Doubles Eventing

Suzanne Noble, the head of Frugl, an app that suggests free and low-cost events to people in London, adds there has been a rise in venues using occasions such as Valentine’s Day as a way to attract new customers.

There are almost double the events being held over Valentine’s weekend than there would be in a normal week,” says Noble,who launched Frugl last year.

 “Whether it’s speed dating for book lovers or comedy Valentine’s shows, there really is something for everyone."

An electronic notice board at London's Waterloo
 gets in the spirit of Valentines Day

Clever use of the cup guards into heart shapes by Nero Coffee Shop for Valentine's day

Even charity shops benefit from Feb 14th

If you missed the retail opportunity of February14th afforded by St Valentine don't worry. Next Tuesday is Lemon Jiffy Pancake Day ( or Shrove Tuesday for those preparing for Lent)

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