1-800-FLOWERS.COM Grows Business With IBM
ARMONK, NY - 11 Feb 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLWS), the world’s leading florist and gift shop, has selected IBM to provide its new e-commerce platform.
Based on IBM WebSphere Commerce, the platform will help 1-800-FLOWERS.COM reduce its paper catalog footprint and build its online business by delivering a rich, one-stop resource for customers to purchase flowers, gourmet foods and gifts.
The company launched its first brand on the new platform, The Popcorn Factory (www.thepopcornfactory.com) in November and has seen its conversion rate rise and customer experience feedback improve. The conversion rate metric tracks the number of site visitors who make a purchase.
Using knowledge gained from this first rollout, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM plans to transition most of its 14 brands to the new platform over the coming few years, providing the company with added agility to respond immediately to both customer requests and competitive offers.
“We went from Web 0.5 to Web 2.0 in just nine months and we could not have made that happen without the support of our IBM Global Business Services team,” said Steve Bozzo, chief information office for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. “I am particularly impressed with our new one-page checkout system that offers our customers an unparalleled buying experience. ”
Today, the company has several of its gift brands running on independently siloed systems. For consumers, this means searching several different 1-800-FLOWERS.COM websites for a gift. For the company, it means spending too much time managing and updating its e-commerce applications -- a costly and resource-intensive process. The new platform allows 1-800-FLOWERS.COM to add new brands, including those from acquired companies, quickly under a program it calls Fresh Digital. Also, Fresh Digital is helping the company merchandise, market and test new ideas quickly both on the Web and through more relevant email campaigns.
With the new IBM platform, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM is able to meet the rapidly changing requirements during peak holiday times including Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Brand marketing teams can merchandise and update websites without help from the IT department, for example, allowing the company to act more quickly with product introductions, marketing promotions and special offers.
“Knowing that business is changing rapidly, we needed a platform to support our flexibility and growth,” said Jim McCann, founder and CEO, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. “The WebSphere Commerce platform allows us to achieve our vision better. Tearing down the silos enables us to market much more effectively.”
IBM Power Systems servers running AIX and PowerVM virtualization software were chosen to host the new platform. Additionally, building on the IBM Retail Integration Framework portfolio, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM selected IBM WebSphere Message Broker as the middleware for the Fresh Digital Platform. With IBM WebSphere Commerce and IBM WebSphere Message Broker, the extensibility characteristics of the Fresh Digital Platform are enhanced to more easily support the on-going requirements of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. Multiple 1-800-FLOWERS.COM brands can now run on a single system and integrate seamlessly with heterogeneous back end transaction systems. In addition to offering improved performance at a more affordable price than previous competitive offerings, the ability to run more workloads on fewer systems is saving energy and helping the company to reduce its carbon footprint.
“Retail companies are finding that consumers are demanding increased ease of use and speed from their online shopping experiences,” said Fred Balboni, partner, Global Retail Industry, IBM Global Business Services. “IBM is providing a technology foundation that is highly reliable, easy to administer, and, most importantly, simplifies the shopping experience so that it is more enjoyable and valuable for consumers. These steps will in turn build greater customer loyalty and help 1-800-FLOWERS.COM grow its business.”
1-800-FLOWERS.COM owns several brands and websites including its Fannie May and Harry London confections brands, Cheryl&Co. bakery gifts, The Popcorn Factory, GreatFood.com and 1-800-Baskets.com in the gourmet gift category as well as home and outdoor decor retailer Plow & Hearth and children’s gifts brands including HearthSong and Magic Cabin.
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