Making customer connections bloom

1-800-FLOWERS.COM reduced customer complaints by 40% during critical Mother's Day season

Customer service is critical to retailers, and no company is more aware of that than 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. Using SAS® Business Analytics, the company builds relationships with customers, increases customer lifetime spending and encourages cross-brand shopping. The customer satisfaction improvements alone account for millions in revenue for a multichannel and catalog retailer that has learned how to compete on analytics.

SAS helps 1-800-FLOWERS.COM find customer insights, drive new revenue ideas and predict what customers will want – then target campaigns to fill those needs. An integrated data foundation, powered by SAS, dramatically reduces the time it takes to perform analysis and share results. Instead of analyzing sales and customer service information after a major holiday, for instance, the company can see what's happening in real time and adjust its Web site offerings accordingly.

Our competitive advantage is understanding our customer. SAS helps us do that.
Stephen Bozzo of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM

Nachiket Desai
Vice President, Enterprise Architecture and Business Intelligence

The company is rolling out the analytical platform to its affiliated gift brands in an effort to further enhance cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, drive more revenue and create a unified means to look at its broad and growing specialty retail business.

"We want to retain our core customers and increase customer lifetime value by encouraging customers to shop across all of our gift brands,'' says Stephen Bozzo, Chief Information Officer. Along with its flower brand, the company owns Fannie May Confections, The Popcorn Factory, Cheryl & Co., 1-800-BASKETS.COM and multiple other gift brands. "To really connect with our customer, we need to measure customer satisfaction and constantly work to improve it.''

Building customer value by understanding the customer

1-800-FLOWERS.COM began using SAS more than a decade ago to understand its customers and grow its innovative business. "We've built a foundation as part of the flowers enterprise,'' explains Bozzo. "We want to spread this to all of our gift brands.'' It is the results from the flower business that encouraged the company to equip the other brands with SAS Analytics.

By using SAS, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM:

  • Executed a positive Mother’s Day sales program. The company understands that women are the driving force for this holiday’s sales. The professional, suburban mom buys for both her mother and her mother-in-law. “We noticed that when we appealed to that persona, we also appealed to the rest of the base,’’ Bozzo explains.
  • Reported a record increase in new customer orders. The company analyzed the best price points and product mix to entice recession-weary customers, with big results.
  • Initiated the Perfect Order Every Time (POET) program. The company trimmed customer service problems by 40 percent. SAS allows the company to isolate, analyze and eliminate customer service problems by understanding root causes and quickly remedying them. The company estimates that it has improved its enterprise customer service value ratio by 100 basis points, which translates to millions in revenue.

Commanding the driver's seat on customer service issues

1-800-FLOWERS.COM used to review customer service data a few days to a few weeks after the fact. In an industry that historically gets a third of its sales from two major holidays (Valentine's Day and Mother's Day), looking at data historically wasn't good enough. The business team needed to quickly spot issues and remedy them. Is a fulfillment florist in a certain ZIP code delivering late or subbing in inferior flowers? With SAS, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM sees that trend in real time and automatically adjusts orders sent to the florist based on consumer concerns. It can also adjust the product mix offered on the Web site. If too many florists are struggling to get a certain kind of tulip called for in a bouquet (and thus customers complain about substitutions), 1-800-FLOWERS.COM can quickly spot the trend and remove the bouquet from its Web site.

"Before SAS, our peak time would be over and then you'd have to apply the results to the next holiday. Now we can do it in real time, and it enhances the customer experience,'' says Nachiket Desai, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Business Intelligence. "The SAS Analytics platform essentially brings all these different data points into a single matrix so people can access all the data without depending on IT to provide extracts.''

Rolling SAS Analytics out to the other brands

As 1-800-FLOWERS.COM acquires and grows brands, it wants to provide these companies with the same analytical insights – and begin to better realize the possibilities of having so many gift retailers under one roof.

For the brands with a large catalog base, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM is helping them build Web sales. In the past, the catalog brands tended to receive from a third-party vendor one data extract for analysis per catalog. As there might only be nine or 10 catalogs sent out a year, that was enough. But with a Web operation, these brands needed more extracts. "They realized they need to be dynamic and address customer needs in real time,'' Desai explains. These brands are now getting data weekly, and it has helped drive Web site traffic up at two brands by nearly 30 percent.

The next step is to help standardize business rules across all the brands to better analyze costs. "For example, if you charge shipping, should that be revenue, or should that be considered part of the cost? Every brand defines it differently internally,'' Desai says. "We are using the rollout to standardize some of the rules and share information about costs and revenue across the company.''

Making analytics easy to use

Desai described the company's experience with SAS as "one of the best partnerships that I've witnessed in my long experience. In SAS we found a partner that has pushed us to be better.'' Desai pointed out the example of SAS Consulting® services' recommendation to train a power user in each group who then helps others get up to speed in using SAS.

"Our competitive advantage is understanding our customer," he says. "SAS helps us do that.''

1800flowers-logo

Challenge

Analyze data in real time to help improve the customer experience

Solution

SAS® Business Analytics

Benefits

1-800-FLOWERS.COM has reduced customer complaints by 40 percent during the critical Mother's Day season and increased customer satisfaction

The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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