1-800-Flowers.com is a leading online retailer of flowers and gifts. The company moved from telephone to online...


1-800-Flowers.com is a leading online retailer of flowers and gifts. The company moved from telephone to online ordering in the mid-1990s. Since then, it has grown to over $1 billion in revenue and over 4,000 employees, despite fierce competition.
In a world dominated by online giants such as
Amazon.com and Walmart.com, and hundreds of other companies that sell online flowers and gifts, survival is not easy.
The company is using the following three key strategies:
• Enhancing the customer experience.
• Driving demand more efficiently.
• Building a workforce that supports the products and technology innovation (culture of innovation).
The company has been using intelligent technologies extensively to build a superb supply chain and to facilitate collaboration. Lately, it started to use intelligent systems to enhance its competitive strategies.
Here are several technologies covered in this book that the company uses.
1. Optimal customers experience. Using SAS Marketing Automation and Data Management products, the retailer collects information regarding customers' needs and analyzes it. This information enables senders of flowers and gifts to find perfect gifts for any occasion.
Senders want to make recipients happy, so appropriate recommendations are critical.
The company uses advanced analytics and data mining from SAS to anticipate customers' needs. 1-800-Flowers.com marketers can then communicate with customers more effectively.
Using the newest tools, company data scientists and marketing analysts mine data more efficiently. Today customer expectations are higher than ever because it is much easier for customers to compare vendors' offerings online. Analytics and AI enable the company to understand its customers' sentiments. Now the company is able to understand the emotional reasoning behavior for purchasing decisions and customer loyalty. This change results in product recommendations described later.
2. Chatbots. 1-800-Flowers.com has a bot on Facebook Messenger. As described in Chapter 12, such a bot can be useful as a source of information and as a vehicle for conversation. The company also offers chat on its Web site online, and chat using voice. In addition, mobile shoppers can use Google Assistant for voice ordering. The company also offers voice-enabled Alexa with its "one-shot intent" to expedite ordering.
3. Customer service. The company offers a portal and one-stop shopping similar to what
Amazon.com offers, and self-service payment is available. The same capability is available when shopping with the company's bot on Facebook Messenger. Customers do not have to leave Facebook to complete an order.
4. AI-based recommendation. As you may recall from Chapter 12, e-commerce retailers excel by providing product recommendation (e.g., Amazon, Netflix). 1-800-Flowers.com is doing the same thing, offering recommendation and advice on gifts from their brand's Websites (e.g., Harry and David). The recommendations are generated by IBM's Watson and are offered as a "cognitive concierge," making online shopping feel as having an in-store experience. This AI-based service is known as GWYN (Gifts When You Need) at 1-800-flowers. Watson's natural language processing (NLP) enables easy shopper-machine conversations.
5. Personalization. SAS advanced analytics enables the company's marketing department to segment customers into groups with similar characteristics. Then the company can send promotions targeted to the profile of each segment.
In addition to e-mails, special campaigns are arranged. Based on the feedback, the company can plan and revise marketing strategy.
SAS also helps the company to analyze the "likes" and "dislikes" of the customers. All-inall, the intelligent systems help the company and its customers to make informed decisions.

Questions for Case 14.1
1. Why it is necessary to provide better customer experience today?
2. Why do data need sophisticated analytical tools?
3. Read the "Key benefit of SAS Marketing Automation." Which benefits do you think are used by 1-800-Flowers.com and why?
4. Relate IBM Watson to "personalization."
5. Relate 'SAS Advanced Analytics' capabilities to their use in this case.
6. 'SAS Enterprise Miner' is used to do data mining. Explain what is done and how.
7. SAS has a product called 'Enterprise Guide' that 1-800-Flowers.com uses. Find how it is used based on the tools' capabilities.

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