News

Need a gift for Valentine’s Day? There’s an app for that

Need a gift for Valentine’s Day? There’s an app for that

VALENTINE'S DAY MADE EASY: Consumers will spend an average of $133 on Valentine's Day. Photo: clipart.com

By Natasha Baker

TORONTO (Reuters) – Those who fear that their penchant for procrastination may have foiled plans for a Valentine’s Day of romance can turn to new apps that offer help with dinner reservations and fresh flowers, even at the last minute

Consumers expect to spend about $133 on Valentine’s Day, with candle-lit dinners, flowers, candy and greeting cards the most common ways for couples to express their love, according to a National Retail Federation survey of more than 6,000 consumers.

But despite the best intentions, without some advance planning Cupid’s arrow may not find its intended target.

For a spouse or significant other who forgot to make dinner reservations on one of the busiest restaurant nights of the year an app called NoWait let users view how booked a restaurant is and has virtual waiting lists.

“Valentine’s Day should be spent falling in love with your wife again, or with your date. It shouldn’t be stuck waiting,” said Ware Sykes, the chief executive officer of NoWait, which is based in New York and Pittsburgh.

The app shows how many people are ahead on a restaurant list and the estimated wait time. It will also send a notification when a table becomes available.

“It means you can make time to have a glass of wine at home or at a bar around (the restaurant), knowing you have the extra time you would normally spend waiting,” Sykes explained.

Thousands of restaurants across the United States are available on the app, which launched last week on iOS and Android devices.

Several other apps aim to modernize and simplify the act of giving flowers on Feb. 14.

With ProFlowers, for iOS, and Bouqs for iOS and Android devices, users can order flowers from smartphones for delivery the next day. ProFlowers lets users pay by taking a photo of their credit card.

In the San Francisco area serious procrastinators can have flowers delivered with a hand-written note in 90 minutes via BloomThat, a new app for iOS. The app sends a notification when the flowers are sent and delivered.

“If you don’t get your order in for flowers in the next few days you’re not getting them, or you’re scrambling at the grocery store to pick out the best of what’s left wrapped in cellophane,” said Matt Schwab, co-founder of the San Francisco-based startup.

For couples in New York City in need of a bottle of wine on Valentine’s Day a new app called Minibar will deliver one within 60 minutes. Users enter their ZIP code, select wines or spirits and proceed to checkout.

And for last-minute Valentine’s Day cards, Shuttersong, a free app for iOS devices, lets people send audio-enabled photos instantly via text, email and social networks.

The company has teamed up with the American Greetings card company to provide virtual Valentine’s Day cards that can be personalized with a voiceover or music clip. A pack of 10 cards costs $1.99 and can be used an unlimited number of times.

(Reporting by Natasha Baker in Toronto; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Leslie Adler)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Ben U Student Airs Concerns Following Private Forum

school test

The questions surrounding Benedictine University's decision to cancel undergraduate programs at its Springfield campus continue.

in Local

Springfield Clinic’s “GIVE75″ Campaign Continues

sojourn

Springfield Clinic is celebrating its 75th birthday but the company is giving the presents instead of receiving

in Local

Bar Assoc. Offers Help Voting for Judges

gavel2

How do you know how to vote for judges? The Illinois State Bar Association has some help.

in Election 2014, Local

Rauners Say Bruce and Quinn Agree on Social Issues

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Speaking to a coalition of women supporting her husband’s campaign, Diana Rauner said Gov. Pat Quinn has tried to take the focus off jobs and the economy.