Customer engagement blooms with analytics and AI
SAS provides a targeted marketing platform for e-commerce retailers.
Improved customer acquisition and retention
Innovative marketing campaigns lead to improved customer retention and loyalty at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.®
When the 1-800-Flowers.com® brand began with a small flower shop on New York’s Upper East Side back in 1976, selling bouquets meant appealing to local shoppers. Since then, the company has evolved to offer a broad array of gifts beyond flowers in lockstep with new generations of consumers, while constantly reinventing itself over four decades. Today, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. is a billion-dollar enterprise with more than a dozen gifting brands in its portfolio, including Harry & David®, Cheryl’s Cookies® and Simply Chocolate®.
“The market we serve moves incredibly fast,” says Arnie Leap, Chief Information Officer at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. “The ongoing challenge is to stay agile and respond to market changes.”
“For the past 20 years, SAS has been right there with us to provide the next-level analytics and expertise to help us meet the challenges of tomorrow.” Arnie Leap CIO 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
Time and time again, the e-commerce retailer has answered the call for innovation. As customer buying habits have changed, so has the company. The original storefront eventually evolved into its namesake floral brand, where shoppers could order flowers by phone. Next came the web, then mobile, and today the company is pioneering innovative approaches in chatbots and conversational commerce – underpinned by SAS® Analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions powered by the SAS Platform.
Leap credits the company’s data-driven culture for its ability to innovate and evolve. “For the past 20 years, SAS has been right there with us to provide the next-level analytics and expertise to help us meet the challenges of tomorrow,” he says.
Being at the forefront of consumer trends
The company’s advanced approach is fueled by customer insight. “How our customers engage with us plays a big part in our decision-making process,” Leap says. 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. uses the SAS Platform to manage and analyze shopping data and spot emerging trends in buying habits.
“As a company, we’ve always been at the forefront of technology,” Leap says. “And, it’s important for us to be able to identify key trends early on to stay ahead of our competition.”
1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. uses the SAS Platform to standardize data and analytics across its portfolio of gifting brands. “SAS helps us work cohesively across all our brands,” Leap says. “And as new brands are added to the business, we can apply the same proven analytics and methodologies to understanding our new customers and better communicating with them in our marketing campaigns.”
1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. – Facts & Figures
delivering gifts for celebratory occasions
personalized interaction with customers
in annual revenues
Targeted marketing improves retention
The global world of e-commerce is a highly competitive business, where customers will happily turn to alternatives if they feel a brand isn’t providing the best experience.
“Maintaining a best-in-class customer experience is a pivotal focus for us,” Leap says. “The more we know about our customers, the better the experience we can deliver.”
The company uses analytics to help customers find the most ideal products across its brands. By centralizing all customer data in a single location, it can select the customers to target with a specific email or catalog campaign. It can also track customer interactions from beginning to end, creating more opportunities to improve the customer journey.
“With SAS Customer Intelligence 360, we can better determine the kind of offers the customer is interested in receiving and what offers they’ll respond to,” Leap explains. By analyzing the profile of the customer who starts in one brand and then migrates to another, marketers can better target customers with a propensity to shop with multiple brands.
“We’re able to provide a better experience so customers get more value from the relationship,” Leap continues. “It’s also a win for our business because it helps us decide the most efficient places to invest our working capital to improve retention and acquisition as well as more effectively introduce customers to new brands.”
Voice orders come full circle
Adopting proven data and analytics practices has positioned 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. to sell its smile-inducing gifts in emerging sales channels like personal home assistants. Devices like Amazon Alexa allow consumers to order products by voice, where yet again the e-commerce retailer was an early adopter.
“We’ve been doing voice for 40 years, so to come full circle is exciting,” Leap says.
Instead of a worker on the end of the line, it’s a conversational AI system, like Amazon Alexa, that relies on quality data and machine learning algorithms to offer personalized gift recommendations. Because there are no visuals for the customer to see, the system must be trained using the company’s wealth of customer data to suggest the appropriate item for the occasion.
Leap is excited by the increasing role of AI in e-commerce. “We’re seeing tremendous opportunities ahead,” he says. “Without hesitation, SAS has always been right there to help us. We couldn’t ask for more.”