1-800-FLOWERS.COM Adds New E-commerce Platform

1-800-FLOWERS.COM selects 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," says 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 Web sites 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 changing requirements during peak holiday times including Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Brand marketing teams can merchandise and update Web sites 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, 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 Fresh Digital Platform is 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 with back end transaction systems.
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