Online retailers deliver romance and performance this Valentine's Day
Develop | Posted February 15, 2011

Shoppers were expected to spend 12.8 percent more on gifts for their loved ones this Valentine's Day, said the National Retail Federation late last month. Per capita spending for traditional Valentine's Day merchandise was predicted to reach $116.21. Meanwhile, total holiday spending was anticipated to climb to $15.7 billion.

The NRF also predicted that more than 18 percent of Valentine's Day sales would be recorded online. To determine the effect (if any) the onslaught of V-Day traffic would have on the performance of the Internet, we decided to keep an eye on the websites of some of the biggest online brands in flowers, candy and greeting cards.

To do so, we recorded a typical transaction that hit the website homepage, as well as the search, add-to-cart and checkout functions. Transaction response times and overall availability was monitored every five minutes between Feb. 7 and Feb. 14. from 12 U.S. locations.

Online florists deliver only partially rose-y website performance.

Valentine's Day celebrants were expected to spend $1.7 billion on flowers this year. We monitored FTD, ProFlowers and Teleflora, to see how successful they were in meeting the floral needs of their online customers.

ProFlowers and FTD were the two most available online florists, both delivering greater than 99 percent availability. Teleflora shoppers, meanwhile, were able to complete their order the fastest. Average response time for the four-step transaction was only 16.05 seconds.

Oh, how sweet performance is for chocolatiers.

The NRF predicted that shoppers would spend $1.5 billion to satisfy the sweet tooth of their loved ones this Valentine's Day. Accordingly, we monitored the websites of three gourmet candy and edible gift-sellers: Godiva, Lindt and Harry & David.

Harry & David proved to be the quickest of the three sites, delivering an average response time of 15.80 seconds. Godiva took silver, and Lindt the bronze, with 17.84 and 19.67-second responses, respectively. All three ranked above the average of 23.32 seconds.

Lindt and Harry & David were the two most available sites in our monitors this Valentine's Week--Lindt, with 99.56 percent availability, and Harry & David with availability of 99.29 percent.

Season's greetings for a speedy Valentine delivery.

Lastly, we monitored the sites of three favorite greeting card distributors-- American Greetings, Blue Mountain and Someecards. American Greetings and Blue Mountain tied with 99.12 percent availability. Someecards came in with below average availability (94.65 percent) but ranked fastest of the three, with 24-second response times.

For the most part, all the sites seemed to deliver a quality user experience for Valentine's Day shoppers. See the full availability and response time comparisons below.


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