IBM Commerce Teams With Teleflora on Personalized Marketing

IBM helps Teleflora drive its digital marketing campaigns for its network of 33,000 florists.

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SAN DIEGO -- IBM today announced its collaboration with Teleflora, the popular flower delivery service, to help the organization with its digital marketing efforts.

Working with IBM Commerce, Teleflora is using sophisticated digital marketing programs, creating meaningful experiences for its customers by providing them with a large global network. IBM announced its collaboration with Teleflora at the IBM Amplify 2015 here.

Competition in the florist industry has become fiercer than ever as small business florists face increasing competition from big box retailers, grocery chains and new e-commerce players. While overall spending on flowers has remained stable, smaller florists have seen sales slide nearly 40 percent in the past few years to $5.9 billion in 2014 from $9.4 billion in 2006, according to IBISWorld, a global research firm.

To counter that, Los Angeles based Teleflora directs all of its online orders to a local florist within the company’s network, to fulfill and deliver the floral arrangement. Because of the company’s focus on driving business for florists, while also providing superior customer service, giving customers rewarding experiences is key to success. Because the way shoppers interact with florists has evolved to leveraging online resources more frequently than brick and mortar locations, the Teleflora marketing team decided to focus on providing customers specifically what they want, instead of blanketing them with generic marketing messages.

“The way consumers shop for flowers has evolved to a much more digital model,” said Totran Radke, senior manager of online marketing at Teleflora, in a statement. “As the only online floral company to work 100 percent with locally- owned, ‘mom-and-pop’ florists, highlighting our value from big-box stores is vital to success. To do this, we have to incorporate extremely targeted, personalized digital marketing campaigns to keep the Teleflora brand top-of-mind.”

Teleflora markets to a variety of audiences, including a consumer team that targets the purchasers directly; services, which markets to and implements digital marketing campaigns on behalf of the network of florists; and partnership marketing, which markets to and develops strategic partnerships with relevant companies.

With this variety of audiences that require their own distinct marketing interactions, being timely – communicating at the most convenient time for each individual – and providing the most useful information at a personal level is critical, IBM said. Whether it’s a reminder to place a Mother’s Day order or an update about an online special, the way to achieve this level of individualization at scale is through sophisticated digital marketing.

“Customers today are flooded with marketing messages,” said Deepak Advani, general manager of IBM Commerce, in a statement. “With only 21 percent of consumers defining communications from brands as ‘usually’ relevant, companies must find a way to stand out. To be successful, they must provide information that is not only relevant and timely, but also interesting and useful to the customer at the right time. Individualization is key to marketing success, and this is something Teleflora has achieved and continues to advance.”

With IBM’s help, some of the specific targeted campaigns Teleflora deploys include personalized reminder emails, browse abandonment emails and subscription reminder emails via transactional messages. The Teleflora marketing team realizes the importance of delivering customers personalized reminders for their own special occasions throughout the year. Whether it’s a wedding anniversary or a relative’s birthday, Teleflora has established an automated program to remind users of these important days – providing useful, timely and relevant information to each customer at an individual level.

Moreover, if a customer has visited a certain category section of the website, the Teleflora marketing team employs Web tracking technology to trigger an email based on that browse behavior if the individual does not complete the purchase. If the customer does not show any engagement from the first message in the automated series, they will receive one additional email a few days after the initial send. Each email message contains dynamic images based on the products the customer viewed. For example, if a shopper explores the “birthday” section of the website but does not follow through with a purchase, they will receive the subsequent email series with images of products they viewed to encourage them to complete the sale, IBM said.

The Teleflora marketing team emphasizes the importance of growing its database with individuals who show an interest in the brand. So, in transactional messages like purchase confirmations or delivery notifications, customers are encouraged to subscribe to the company’s marketing emails, IBM said.

As the Teleflora marketing team continues to progress in its digital marketing sophistication, they will become even more targeted by breaking down channel silos and having a true omni- channel presence, creating a single identity for each customer, the companies said.