1-800-Flowers cashes in on conversational commerce, AR for Valentine's Day
- Flower delivery service 1-800-Flowers.com now lets customers place orders using voice commands and chat services, just in time for Valentine's Day. Through Samsung's virtual assistant Bixby, customers can say a command like, "Hi Bixby, I want to send flowers to my wife," and pay for the order using Samsung Pay, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The verbal command system also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
- The company also added a "Quick Meets Easy" tool to provide more personalized recommendations to shoppers. Customers can answer three questions about the recipient and occasion to get floral suggestions. Beginning Feb. 1, iOS users also can send valentine-themed augmented reality messages to friends and family using the 1-800-Flowers.com mobile app for iPhones and iPads. The new tech uses Apple's ARKit software development kit.
- For those who prefer chat apps, 1-800-Flowers.com now offers Apple Business Chat capabilities for customers who want to shop with an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple Watch, and then make a payment with Apple Pay. The flower delivery company began testing Apple Business Chat in April and upgraded its Facebook Messenger chatbot, which it debuted in February 2018.
1-800-Flowers.com was an early adopter of internet ordering more than 20 years ago, and has continually invested in the latest technologies to reach newer generations of gift buyers, especially around Valentine's Day, when many people order floral arrangements for loved ones. This year, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $19.6 billion for Valentine’s Day, the second-highest in the 15-year history of a survey by the National Retail Federation. The survey found that consumers plan to spend an average of $143.56 on Valentine’s Day, up from $136.57 in 2017.
To capture those sales, this year brings a wider variety of ordering and payment methods for voice and chat platforms, along with a progressive web application that provides a better user experience on smartphone screens with a full-width design and added smart functionality. By integrating a product recommendation engine, 1-800 Flowers is easing the shopping journey and helping customers more quickly browse the site and complete a transaction.
The news points to how brands can leverage mobile messaging, AR and voice tech to create deeper connections with consumers around shopping for holidays like Valentine's Day. Beyond that, these activations also suggest that brands are looking beyond creating interactive dialogues — like those tested through the Messenger chatbot last year — and are increasingly exploring how to drive purchases via mobile tech.
To drive adoption, 1-800-Flowers.com is offering incentives for shoppers to place their orders through these new features early. Customers who order Valentine's Day flowers by Feb. 3 can save up to 40%. They also can sign up for email and mobile alerts to receive special deals and limited-time offers, demonstrating how more traditional marketing efforts still resonate with consumers.