RealTime IT News

1-800-Flowers.com Revamps Its Garden Philosophy

1-800-Flowers.com Monday unveiled a site redesign aimed at maximizing online sales during the holiday season.

"The upgrade gives the site a warmer look and feel so that we could better connect with our customers during the key gifting season," explained Chris McCann, president of 1-800-Flowers.com. "We also wanted to demonstrate the focus we place on our expanded product line, which includes gourmet foods, jewelry, customized gift baskets and candy."

The site is a Microsoft platform incorporating Commerce 2000. Via its UNIX-operated server and Oracle-developed software, the redesign promises easier navigation and a streamlined ordering procedures, according to Patty Gormley, director of network programming.

"With the redesign, customers will know immediately whether the items they choose can be delivered on their selected date. For instance, if a customer wants cookies to be delivered on a Monday, we will ask him to pick another delivery date. Since cookies are perishable, we do not ship those items during the weekend," she explained.

"Further, we have implemented Delivery Wizard, which helps to manage customer expectations and keep people happy during last-minute orders," she added. "With this service, a customer will type in the zip code of a gift recipient and we will let the customer know if the selected delivery date is viable.

"For instance, on December 24, we get many last-minute holiday orders. With Delivery Wizard we will inform the customer that the gift will not arrive by Christmas but we can accept the order and email the recipient to let them know it has been ordered and that it will arrive soon."

Enhanced merchandising strategies are in the works, noted McCann. "In the past we have been very adept at cross-merchandising our floral sales by suggesting that balloons or plush toys be added to an order," he explained. "Now, we are laying groundwork to for similar efforts with the newer vendors."

The addition of products beyond flora has been a boon for the company, McCann noted. "As a floral company, we became a trusted guide at gift giving, so we expanded on that," he said. "Christmas and Spring have become our key seasons. Flowers are in demand during the Spring, with Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Easter, but during the holiday season, the food-related items are selling best. In fact, we used to have the food items under one tab, but as part of the redesign, we split them into two: Gourmet Foods and SweetShoppe."

McCann equates product expansion with the company's forecasted growth. According to First Call, the company anticipated seeing a profit during the fourth quarter of 2002.

McCann amends that cash flow will turn positive by the second quarter of 2001.