They say money can’t buy you love. But according to NRF’s 2023 Valentine’s Day spending survey, U.S. consumers plan to increase their spending to nearly $26 billion in 2023, with an average of $192.60 per consumer.  Of course, love should be celebrated every day, not just one day a year.

So why do we celebrate it? The history and origins of Valentine’s Day and the patron saint associated with it, seem to be surrounded in mystery. From Roman priests called Valentine who were martyred, to a 700-line poem by Geoffrey Chaucer. The tradition of celebrating love on Feb. 14 each year remains.

The challenge to get things right is a tough one. The multi-billion-dollar global industry associated to this one day of the year retailers/manufacturers need to deliver on their customer promise. With that promise, comes challenges both to the retailers and manufacturers (and particularly at this time of year, flower growers).

Finding that perfect gift takes a bit of time and effort so you want to be sure that it will arrive in time. As consumers we are fickle; if a retailer lets us down on this special occasion, even if we are usually loyal to the brand, then we are going to think twice about using them again in the future.

Retailers need to ensure that special gift is in stock and will be delivered on time — and this is critical, especially given this is the one time that being even one day late could have life-changing consequences!  The gift receiver needs to know how lucky they are to have the gift giver in their life. For retailers, consumers needs to feel the same way about you. Nobody wants that last-minute mad panic trip to the local shop because the item they ordered didn’t arrive in time.

Firstly, the anticipated huge spike in demand needs to be forecast. The supply chain solutions need to ensure the right inventory is in the right places in the network and at the appropriate levels – not too low with the risk of stock outs and not too high with items left over after the event.  

Real-time inventory visibility and availability throughout the network enables the ability to offer multiple options to the customer – shop online; shop in store; buy online and pickup in store (BOPIS); pick up from a locker; delivery today, next day, or at a specific time convenient to the customer; and so on.  

Labor and capacity requirements are key, relating to how the customer orders will be fulfilled – delivery from warehouses and fulfillment centers or availability in bricks and mortar stores, etc.

Consumers want to know that when a promise has been made to them, it can be kept. Thus, the ability to source and fulfill items profitably is a major driver when committing to the customer.

Blue Yonder provides end-to-end supply chain and commerce solutions to retailers and manufacturers. Bringing together planning and execution with an unrivalled customer engagement model to ensure that Valentine’s Day continues to be a truly wonderful and romantic experience for the customer but maintains margin for the seller. 

Learn why Blue Yonder is a leader in powering supply chains and commerce.

Brigette Hughes is an Omni-Channel & Digital Commerce Principal at Blue Yonder.