Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to the expression of love. This year, billions of Americans will celebrate by purchasing flowers, cards, candy and other gifts. Though they may have suffered over the perfect way to express their feelings, many have not considered the essential role the transportation industry plays in the execution of their special day.
With millions of flowers bought by consumers every Valentine’s Day, there is little doubt that colorful, fragrant blooms are a hallmark of the holiday. Before anyone can say, “Be mine,” with a dozen flowers, months of detailed logistics go into the planning and execution of fresh floral deliveries.
Shipping starts weeks before the holiday and involves careful cold chain management as flowers are warehoused, transported, and distributed.
It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is big business and an ever-increasing number of people order flowers for loved ones ($253 million spent in 2006, according to BRC figures.)
Unlike the endless tales of grief from online retailers at Christmas, the flower industry continues to deliver on time at Valentine’s Day, every year. Even with the small window of opportunity (flowers arriving on the 15th never did anyone any good), there are no stock shortage stories or delivery issues – and there rarely is an incorrect name, flower color or delivery day. Years of experience have taught florists to get it right, and they manage to incorporate phone, Internet and in-store orders, while the retail industry struggles. Retailers could learn from this approach to be better prepared for busy periods, and ensure stock levels meet customer demands throughout the rest of the year.
Valentine’s Day shows how much money consumers are willing to spend during one peak time. The importance of an efficient supply chain is obvious, as no retailer wants to miss out on its slice of the pie. Having a dynamic logistics process in place that uses mobile printing technology and track and trace techniques will ensure products be they flowers or otherwise are in the right place at the right time. Consumers who have a good sales experience during a busy period will be more likely to return at non-peak times, but it only takes one bad experience, or one bunch of roses delivered a day late, for a retailer to lose its reputation permanently.
Though many do not consider the supply chain to be an important element of Valentine’s Day, it’s clear from the facts below how important shipping is to a successful holiday:
With millions of perishables, such as flowers and chocolates, being shipped in the weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, shippers must understand the importance of temperature-controlled transportation. Whether they choose over-the-road or intermodal services, transporting their goods in the correct temperature ensures that Valentine’s Day gifts arrive in the best condition possible.
Breakdown of contributions for Valentine’s day:
According to UPS, $100 million: That’s the number of flowers logistics provider UPS expected to deliver throughout the U.S. as Valentine’s Day gifts. This would fill 70 Boeing 767 airplanes. Some 90% of flowers will travel through Miami International Airport, as most flowers are imported from South America, primarily from Ecuador and Colombia.
$0.25 – $0.50 per day: The approximate wage of a cocoa farmer in West Africa. With a spend of $1.6 billion on Valentine’s Day chocolate in the U.S. last year, Fair Trade USA is attempting to highlight the labor issues that affect the sector.
380%: It’s no longer just flowers and chocolates being sent as gifts. Delivery business Parcel Hero reported a 380% rise in the number of women’s hats it delivered in 2015. Rings and bracelets were down 27% and chocolate down by 12%, but lingerie rose by 200%.