1-800-Flowers.com Taps IBM Cloud for Digital Transformation

The flower and gift retailer is using IBM Cloud to provide shoppers with an omni-channel experience across multiple brands.

Cloud apps

Capping off a busy week filled with partnerships and deals involving its cloud, mobile and systems technology, IBM today announced that 1-800-Flowers.com has selected IBM's Commerce on Cloud solution to provide the retailer's customers with a seamless experience across all of its brands.

The move to the IBM Cloud will make it easy for customers to transact business across all 1-800-Flowers brands, which include Harry & David, Wolferman's and Fanny May, and deliver customers a unified omni-channel experience across the Web, mobile or call center channel, Adam Orentlicher, director of IBM Commerce told eWEEK.

"1-800-Flowers is an interesting example of an omni-channel retailer—one that has developed or acquired often brands and retail operations with thematic affinities, and operates them as individual businesses," said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. "In the case of 1-800-Flowers, those retailers include its own florist services, Harry & David (fruit gifts), Wolferman's (gourmet goods) and Fanny May (chocolate and candies). That can make great strategic sense—say, in being able to serve a customer who decides to add a box of Wolferman's baked goods in addition to the 800-Flowers bouquet he or she just purchased."

Before IBM Commerce on Cloud 1-800-Flowers.com had to deal with the complexity of having separate fulfillment processes for every brand and providing customers ordering from more than one brand the visibility into the status of their multi-brand orders online.

"They can use the cloud to take data as well as apps and integrate them together," Orentlicher said. "And they can do so across clouds—public, private as well as on premises. If you look at what they're doing from an omni-channel perspective, they're using the IBM Cloud to enable their shoppers to get the 'perfect order' independent of brands. So, for instance, if you're a shopper wanting to bundle flowers from 1-800-Flowers with Moose Munch from Harry & David, you can do so, and the fulfillment on the IBM Cloud enables the shoppers to get what I would call a perfect order delivered to them."

By implementing its order and fulfillment solution on the IBM Cloud, 1-800-Flowers not only enhances its customer experience, but also reduces the amount of time and costs associated with managing large infrastructures and more efficiently managing seasonal spikes of the florist and gift giving business.

"The key reasons we won this business is that 'Flowers' said they saw IBM as the only company that could deliver the end-to-end services for them to enable this type of experience—both from a shopper perspective and from the company's perspective," Orentlicher said. "Because they're a company that has a lot of peaks in demand especially around occasions like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. So you've got the services, the scalability, the elasticity, the security and privacy in the IBM Cloud to enable that kind of experience to be delivered to shoppers on the most peak days of the year for them as a company."

The move to IBM Cloud comes as many retailers are focusing on gaining insight on data patterns through cloud analytics and services to better target consumers, know their preferences and provide faster customer service.

In fact, Orentlicher said 1-800-Flowers is planning to use IBM's Watson cognitive computing to provide its shoppers with a highly personalized and relevant experience. For example, a customer interested in purchasing a bouquet of flowers for Valentine's Day could interact with a Watson-powered app to make a purchase. The shopper would then interact with Watson in natural language and carry on a conversation to achieve a personalized experience.