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 Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 31

Fresh
phoenix

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable moments.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘Birdman’ could be the best film of 2014

In this image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Michael Keaton portrays Riggan in a scene from "Birdman."

You’ve heard the buzz for Michael Keaton's "Birdman." It’s loud and it's merited.

in Entertainment

PHOTOS: 31 adorable pets in Halloween costumes

Bailey Jarrett and her dog Teddy visit a Dallas-area PetSmart store on Oct. 25, 2014, for the company's annual in-store Halloween event. The event took place at all PetSmart locations throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

This Halloween is going to the dogs... and cats, ferrets, and bunnies.

in Music

Queen, Fleetwood Mac won’t be playing Glastonbury

fleetwoodmac

The two veteran rock acts were strongly rumored to have been booked as the big names for the 2015 festival.

in Music

Rihanna donates $135K to AIDS charity

rihanna

The singer dished out $135,000 at an auction to benefit AIDS research at the star-studded amfAR Inspiration gala.