Ah, Valentine’s Day. Whether you love or loathe this sweet holiday, you can’t miss it if you live in the United States. Seemingly by magic, stores begin filling with red and pink treats right after Christmas. And while you might be astonished by the quick switch in your favorite store, have you ever wondered how it all happens?
So, how do the shelves get filled for holidays like Valentine’s Day?
At SAS, we work with some of the world's biggest holiday retailers and suppliers to solve this problem with advanced analytics.
According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans spent a whopping $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2022. This is the second-highest recorded Valentine’s Day, and experts expect 2023 to be another high-spend year.
So, with the intense demand, how do companies plan for Valentine’s Day? Let’s look at three ways advanced analytics is supplying the love:
Demand planning: predicting what people want
The first step to getting the right supplies on the self is looking at the data. Historical data tells retailers what people like to buy and when.
Powered by advanced analytics modeling capabilities, machine learning and an in-memory planning engine, SAS® Intelligent Planning Suite is designed to support demand-driven planning and forecasting. SAS simplifies data management, streamlines common planning processes, and provides analytics with sophisticated features.
With SAS® Intelligent Planning Suite, suppliers can take thousands of data points and turn it into useful information for making inventory decisions.
This tool is used by some of the holiday’s biggest retailers to make informed decisions. For example, one nation’s largest candy supplier worked with SAS to develop a custom and comprehensive demand planning solution.
Candy is the most gifted item for Valentine’s Day. 56% of consumers reported plans to buy candy for loved ones to mark the holiday. (Fun fact: the first heart-shaped candy box was created for Valentine’s Day 1861!)
With SAS, this candy retailer created a model to help predict demand for spikes in candy sales like Valentine’s Day. The result? Sweet savings for the retailer and better access to products for the consumer.
- Ambient temperature products (like chocolate) saw an 8.4% increase in weekly forecasting accuracy.
- Water products (like sparkling water) saw a 13.6% increase in weekly forecasting inventory.
Retailers lose less money on poor planning, and consumers face fewer empty shelves.
Transportation: delivering what people want
Another key element of stocking the shelves for Valentine’s Day is transporting the goods to the stores. Valentine’s Day inventory involves a lot of time-sensitive items like flowers, cookies, and specialty refrigerated items.
If these items arrive too early, they can spoil. If they arrive too late, the demand is gone. Precise timing is key.
Advanced analytics ensures supplies arrive on schedule by helping truckers keep on trucking.
Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks use remote diagnostic and preventative maintenance services based on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies with analytics and AI from SAS. With these solutions, Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks can help their customers maximize a vehicle’s time on the road and minimize the costs of service disruptions by servicing connected vehicles more efficiently, accurately, and proactively.
This means they can deliver Valentine’s Day items like candy, gifts, flowers, and more to the stores without unnecessary delays.
Marketing: connecting people with what they want
Once retailers have successfully planned for holiday demand, manufactured their goods and delivered them, the last step is to let people know what’s available through marketing.
What started in 1976 as a single flower shop in New York City, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. has grown into a $2.12 billion enterprise with more than a dozen gifting and sharing brands in its portfolio, including Harry & David, PersonalizationMall.com, Cheryl’s Cookies and more. The company has doubled its business size over the past few years. And every year, Valentine’s Day is one of their busiest days.
“SAS helps us work cohesively across all our brands,” Arnie Leap, CIO of 1-800-FLOWERS, says. “And as new brands are added to the business, we can apply the same proven analytics and methodologies to understanding our new customers and better communicating with them in our marketing campaigns.”
SAS Viya on Azure gives 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. a near-infinite capacity to scale analytics up and down as needed. When holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day bring the need for added computational oomph, they can add capacity at the click of a button.
Love: powered by advanced analytics
These are just a few snapshots of the ways advanced analytics is helping stock stores and homes for Valentine’s Day. Every day, consumers and companies rely on advanced analytics to get them what they need and where they need it when they need it.
So next time you’re browsing the aisles of pink and red treats, ordering flowers, or buying Valentine’s gift, remember: SAS might just be supplying your love.