We are a company all about relationships because that’s what our customers are celebrating when they buy from us — all the relationships in their lives. We celebrate relationships throughout the year — birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, graduations, weddings, bar mitzvahs — and that also might include marking National Siblings Day, Mother’s Day, Best Friend’s Day, Parents Day, Cousins Day and Father’s Day.
That means we don’t follow the typical product purchasing protocol. Rather, we join our customers through their relationship journeys, because that’s where our products eventually end up — with the special people in their lives who are ultimately the end users.
Understanding this process and implementing a relationship and engagement strategy has been a priority for us as we create a dialogue with our consumers that is more than just a transaction. The strategy has continued to grow with millions of interactions each month.
Going Beyond the Gift
Many often ask us how we achieved creating such robust relationships and communities? The answer lies in being laser focused on three areas of customer engagement: creating personable content, building vibrant support communities around our business and enhancing loyalty initiatives.
Personalizing Content and Winning Hearts and Minds
One of the ways we are creating more personal relationships is through our content, including the “Celebrations Pulse” weekly email newsletter that our Founder and Chairman Jim McCann, and our CEO Chris McCann, started sending during the pandemic to help lift the spirits of our customers.
“The Pulse” has proven so successful that Jim and Chris are now entering their third year of letter writing, and it has been a major catalyst for personal connection with our customers. We like to joke that at seven million subscribers and counting, “The Pulse” has more readership than many media outlets.
They share memories of their family holidays, lessons they’ve learned along the way, and stories about the people they have meaningful relationships with. Those include one from Danielle Moss, Co-founder of the popular lifestyle blog The Everygirl, who described how her great-aunt inspired her as a mom. “She always supported and believed in me,” Danielle shared. These stories speak to all of us at a human level, going through life’s highs and lows, while tapping into one of our core pillars “To Inspire is our Superpower.”
Wanting to help our consumers find the right words or expressions inspired us to create the 1-800-Flowers.com MomVerse ahead of Mother’s Day and further utilize technology, specifically AI, in a way that serves our consumers. This is something we’ve felt passionate about from the beginning and we’re building these tools with our community.
With the positive response to 1-800-Flowers.com MomVerse, we thought Dad might want something fun too, and so we created the Dad Joke GPT.
Exploring AI with our consumers, and testing and iterating with them, is going to be a journey we build together as we co-create tools of expression with them and for them.
Building Welcoming Communities
We have also established communities for our customers that help inspire more human expression, connection and celebration. After all, a big part of our business is around celebration, so why not celebrate celebrating?
These include experiential programs where customers can learn and engage in everything from workshops to shared hobbies with others. By working with one of our recently acquired brands, Alice’s Table, we’ve been hosting live home-centric tutorials, led by experts, which bring creativity, along with tips and tricks, to our customers via online workshops on floral arranging, charcuterie classes, mixing spring vodka cocktails and many other happenings around celebrations.
The engagement we saw with our Alice’s Table workshops led us to bring a new offering to our customers for Mother’s Day — a live shopping event. The event featured four moms from different walks of life as they shared curated collections from four of our brands. Hosted By Moms, For Moms, the “watch and shop” event gave us another opportunity to bring tips, inspiration and multi-brand gift ideas to our customers.
We’ve also teamed with PaintNite.com where our customers, along with their family and friends, can do virtual painting sessions that are great for parties or a weekend get-together.
These communities are fun and clever ways to connect for our customers to build relationships in their lives.
Not Just Another Loyalty Program
We make it a point to assist customers who are the most prolific gift-givers through our Celebrations Passport. We’ve enhanced our loyalty program recently to further reward our loyal customers and celebrate our most thoughtful gift givers, who enjoy free shipping and no service charges and earn point rewards and special savings.
At present, we have about 1.4 million members who have joined the program, and it continues to be one of the key drivers of strong growth. This program allows us to give our members the opportunity to earn points and unlock perks, exclusive discounts, early access to new collections, birthday gifts and more, creating more ways to engage with us. The purchase frequency of Passport members, on average, is two to three times higher than that of other customers, and we are excited to continue to build on even more ways we can create a rewarding experience for our members.
The Results are In…
Shoring up our customers’ relationships and our own growth by building communities that help connect our customers has dovetailed with our rising revenues, which surpassed $2 billion annually for the first-time last year and now includes 17 premium ecommerce brands. We have become the ecommerce market leader in gourmet food, floral and personalized gifts. And, we hope we have built an integral relationship with our customers.
As Chief Marketing Officer at 1-800-Flowers.com, Jason John provides marketing leadership across the company’s portfolio of brands and is responsible for the planning, development and execution of the organization’s go-to-market initiatives. This includes oversight across all marketing channels, including print, digital, video, social media, content, customer relationship marketing and loyalty. In this capacity, he helps leverage the enormous enterprise value of the 1-800-Flowers.com family of brands, while also building upon their growth potential.