1-800-FLOWERS.COM Taps IBM Cloud for Digital Transformation

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-04-08 Print this article Print
Cloud apps

"For instance, you know your spouse likes red flowers and you only want to spend $75. So they're looking to enable with natural language, so you can go to their site and say I'm interested in flowers," Orentlicher said. "Watson would ask if there are any flowers that interest you or do not interest you and you could say I don't want red roses. Watson will then ask if you have a price range and you would say $75 or less. Then Watson would ask if this is for Valentine's Day or another reason. And you would respond again like you are talking to a human person in natural language. And then you'll be presented with an extremely content rich experience that shows the flowers that meet your needs that can be delivered in the time frame proposed."

Using Watson-based software and solutions like the Fluid Expert Personal Shopper (XPS)—also based on Watson—1-800-Flowers shoppers gain a very natural human, interactive experience and "you can even expand this to other use cases like funeral flowers that need to be delivered in eight hours to a specific zip code," Orentlicher said. "You can ask very natural questions like that online and get back personalized responses back for what you're looking for. It's almost like talking to a human being, but you're not—it's all through Watson. We have other brands that are doing this today. This is all in the IBM Cloud."

1-800-Flowers has been a longtime IBM customer, using both IBM WebSphere Commerce and other pieces of IBM software, he said. In this new deal they are integrating IBM software with third-party software in the cloud to be able to deliver on this highly rich personalized experience where they can integrate apps across their supply chain.

"Our customers are coming to us, across all of our brands, to help them address their many gifting and celebratory needs," Chris McCann, president of 1-800-Flowers, said in a statement. "It's our job to deliver a convenient and enjoyable customer experience every time we interact with them. We do this through a combination of truly original products and an expanding range of services—and IBM's Commerce on Cloud solution is helping us deliver on that promise."

According to 1-800-Flowers' CIO Arnie Leap, the company is seeing a massive shift of buying from mobile devices and major spikes in sales over the weekend and is looking for IBM to help handle that.

"Attempting to manage the IT resources necessary to support the Web, mobile and customer services offerings for an omni-channel business can be nightmarishly expensive and complex," King said. "That's where IBM Commerce on Cloud comes in—seamlessly supporting the order fulfillment processes needed across all of 1-800-Flowers' brands, and adding IT assets whenever necessary, including during seasonal peak."

Earlier this week, IBM announced a partnership with Box to deliver an enhanced IBM MobileFirst for iOS app to empower sales organizations. Big Blue also announced the expansion of an existing partnership with SAP to use IBM Cloud, cognitive and Power Systems technology along with SAP offerings to help organizations with digital transformation. In addition, IBM and pharmaceutical maker Pfizer launched a research project to use the Internet of things to help with the treatment of Parkinson's disease patients. And the company also announced plans to expand its Linux-only portfolio of OpenPOWER systems.


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