Retail

1-800-Flowers.com’s Expansive Goals For Gifting

1-800-Flowers.com has had a year focused on expanding its brand – and building a gifting ecosystem designed to be consumers’ first (and hopefully last) destination when they are getting ready to gift. Flowers are a good start, though of course 1-800-Flowers does a lot more than its namesake floral deliveries. The brand is also behind Cheryl’s Cookies, FruitBouquets.com, Harry & David, Moose Munch Popcorn and The Popcorn Factory.

And it is a line-up that is continuing to expand, as 1-800-Flowers has added yet another three brands: Simply Chocolate, Personalization Universe and, as of earlier this week, its newest digital gifting portal, Goodsey.

“With Goodsey, we are leveraging the Celebrations platform we’ve built to expand rapidly into new product categories, offering shoppers a wider selection of options,” Chris McCann, chief executive officer of 1-800-Flowers, said in a statement.

Goodsey.com is a wider take on gifting than its parent brand, offering up goods across a broader array of categories, from home decor and outdoor living to art, jewelry and personal care. According to McCann, it is consistent with the larger vision the brand is pursuing: to become the web’s premier gifting ecosystem.

“It illustrates the strength of the celebrations ecosystem and the platform that we have built that allows us to expand rapidly into new product categories, using a marketplace concept to provide our customers with the widest selection of solutions to help them express, connect and celebrate for all occasions and recipients, including themselves,” McCann noted.

It’s an ecosystem, he added, that is designed to support and bolster itself – and to allow customers to take a holistic journey through the process of buying for others.

Goodsey, for example, supports and is supported by the 1-800-Flowers Celebrations Passport program, its Prime-like membership offering that allows users to pay $30 a year for free shipping across 1-800-Flowers’ many, many brands. It’s still early days for the program, McCann noted, but the results are undeniable. For passport and multi-brand customers, he said, the purchase frequency, retention rate and average spend are all significantly higher compared to single-brand or non-passport customers.

“These metrics are the impetus behind our decision to invest in bringing more customers into our ecosystem,” McCann said.

It’s a fairly bold move, according to experts. Linda Bolton Weiser, a senior analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co., an investment firm headquartered in Montana, noted that Goodsey can be very positive for the company, particularly as it looks to expand its many offerings into an ecosystem-level play.

But, she warned, “Amazon wasn’t built in a day.”

“eCommerce websites can be slow to develop revenue and require proper marketing,” Weiser said, but also noted that 1-800-Flowers’ status as a relative authority in the gift-giving space and its continual push to not only build out its offerings, but also time them together, means that “it’s possible that it can achieve good results.”

Its parent brand acknowledges that Goodsey may take some time to develop – even with a full-court press across the company’s other brands and a big digital marketing push. But, said Tony Chivari, senior vice president of enterprise marketing for 1-800-Flowers, even as it builds an audience of its own, Goodsey will strategically contribute to the brand’s broader goals.

“We believe Goodsey will help increase the frequency of shopper interactions and drive overall customer retention,” he said.

And, McCann noted, Goodsey is in itself not an operation being undertaken in a vacuum – it’s part of the broad stab at ecosystem construction that isn’t just designed to put items into consumers’ hands, but to actually change the way the product itself is purchased. SmartGift, for example, doesn’t just allow consumers to send gifts, but to send gifts to anyone, whether or not they know the recipient’s address.

“We can simply notify them of a gift coming via email or SMS and you give the recipient the opportunity to choose their gift from our family of brands, choose their preferred delivery address, even pick their delivery date, equally involving the recipient in the full gifting experience,” McCann said.

Moreover, he noted that 1-800-Flowers continues to “build on our early adopter position in the world of conversational commerce,” because as more customers are pouring in via mobile channels, creating and capturing them with a wider variety of conversation touchpoints has proven effective.

“I think as we continue to look at our business and where we’re going, we’re the leaders in the floral category, we are leaders in the gourmet food category, with steps like Personalization Universe and now Goodsey, we’re starting to move into other categories that give us a higher addressable market to go after,” McCann pointed out.

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