Just in time for Valentine’s Day, 1-800-FLOWERS.com is giving shoppers additional ways to buy gifts for their loved ones at virtually any time and place. The retailer has upgraded or debuted numerous platforms to kick off February, including:
- Voice command-powered smart ordering and order tracking with Samsung Bixby, Apple Business Chat, Google Assistant and Facebook Messenger;
- A “Quick Meets Easy” gift selection tool designed to help shoppers who prefer receiving speedy, tailored floral recommendations;
- Augmented reality (AR) messaging through the mobile app, with a variety of filters and messaging options to choose from;
- A redesigned mobile site powered by progressive web apps (PWAs); and
- Last-minute gifting via SmartGift; shoppers can select a floral arrangement and let SmartGift notify the recipient when it will arrive, via text, email or any other messaging platform.
1-800-FLOWERS.com is no stranger to adopting new technologies as shopping preferences have evolved, from becoming the first company to sell on AOL in 1994, to investing in mobile in the late 2000s to testing conversational commerce platforms starting in 2016.
“As consumers adopt newer platforms and devices, we are looking to further our mission to make it easier for our customers to express themselves,” said Amit Shah, CMO of 1-800-FLOWERS.com in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We felt as intelligent assistance blew up from a nascent stage to more consumer adoption that it was important to be involved with every leading platform. As time progresses this will be a very important component of how customers interact with brands.”
The various conversational commerce platforms offer order tracking, which is designed to eliminate anxiety for the gift-giver by detailing exactly where the gift is. The feature aligns with the company’s mandate for meeting the customer wherever they are, according to Shah.
“Facebook Messenger has a strong adoption both in the U.S. and globally,” Shah said. “‘Track My Order’ is a natural extension of not just the ability to order or seek customer service, but in a very automated way, we figure out what happens with that order. We want to focus on the customer service elements that are most often evoked by our customers — we are thinking deeply in terms of how to relay that information back to the customer. We wanted to provide a pathway not just to have general conversations, but specific confirmations.”
1-800-FLOWERS.com Makes First Jump Into Augmented Reality
Beyond conversational commerce, starting Feb. 1 shoppers with an iPhone and iPad could send AR messages to one another through the 1-800-FLOWERS.com iOS mobile app. The retailer leveraged Apple’s ARKit platform to offer a variety of AR filters and messaging, allowing shoppers to interact with loved ones by sending playful, thoughtfully-customized “Will You Be My Valentine?” photo or video messages.
“This is brand new for us,” Shah said. “We are obviously studying this space and trying to find the perfect use case for us, and we felt that especially in the gifting experience, the gift message is the most personalized aspect of that. When customers come to our site and they’re expressing themselves, you can imagine some of the words that they write, and the emotions they express in the message. This provided us with a rich ‘petri dish’ to start experimenting with this new medium. It really brings to life what was before a very two-dimensional message into something more three-dimensional and richer.”