Harry & David’s digital evolution gets personal, smarter and faster for mobile

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Logged-in customers will see a personalized homepage, replete with their name and customized gift options based on their search and purchase history. Pic: 1-800-FLOWERS.com
Logged-in customers will see a personalized homepage, replete with their name and customized gift options based on their search and purchase history. Pic: 1-800-FLOWERS.com

Related tags: 1-800-FLOWERS, Bakery, online retail, Online shopping, Seasonal, Digital marketing, brand differentiation, Customer service, mobile apps, Consumer attitudes

1-800-FLOWERS.com, Inc. has invested in its digital shopping experience with the addition of subscription services, personalized gifts, mystery boxes and a ‘gift finder’ that tailors results based on answers to three quick questions.

Just in time for the holiday season, Harry & David offers customers new ways to connect with the brand, including a refreshed, ‘lightning-fast’ mobile website that uses Progressive Web App technology. A PWA looks and feels more like an app​, rather than a static website. Customers don’t have to download the app to benefit from its user-friendly features, and businesses don’t have to create a standalone app.

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Harry & David's new mobile site functions more like an app. (Photo courtesy of 1-800-FLOWERS.com)

Nearly half of Harry & David’s customers access the website on their mobile devices, and that number continues to increase, according to Oscar Castro, VP of ecommerce and digital marketing.

“As a company, we prioritize staying ahead of consumer behavior and leveraging new and emerging technologies to make it even easier for on-the-go customers to shop with us whenever, wherever and however they choose,”​ he told us.

“It’s become incredibly important to continually invest in speed and mobile optimization, which is actually even more critical for shoppers engaging with us over cellular networks,” ​he said, adding the PWA website offers a ‘custom-made experience’ on mobile devices.

Wolferman’s Bakery, a Harry & David brand, also overhauled its web design this autumn, modernizing its feel and focusing on the 24/7 nature of online shopping​.

Harry & David wants to leverage 85 years of gourmet food gifting

The brand started in 1934 as a mailorder catalog in southern Oregon, growing into a multichannel retailer that 1-800-FLOWERS.com, Inc. acquired in 2014 for $143m.

Capitalizing on nearly a century of loyal customers is paramount, as Castro told us: “This year, we really wanted to leverage that robust customer history to provide a more relevant and efficient experience to these loyal shoppers, as well as to all who shop with us.”

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Harry & David (and 1-800-FLOWERS as a whole) have used licensing as another means of connecting with consumers, such as this year's CATS film promotion. (Photo courtesy of 1-800-FLOWERS.com)

Enter: data. Harry & David scoured its customer relationship management (CRM) system and real-time behavioral data “to gain a 360-degree view of the customer.​” As part of 1-800-FLOWERS, Inc., it has additional insight from the company’s Celebrations Passport loyalty program​. (Members receive free standard shipping and no service charge for one year.)

“We wanted to create personalized continuous shopping experiences, so customers feel welcomed and able to easily pick backup where they left off in their shopping journey,” ​said Castro, “or discover new offerings based on highly-tailored recommendations … This personalization reinforces our strong relationships with customers, deepens [them] and provides a point of differentiation from our retail competitors.”

When logged-in customers access the website, they are greeted by name on a ‘highly-customized homepage’ with tailored display ads. This personalization also bleeds into emails they receive from 1-800-FLOWERS, Inc.

By connecting customer activity across devices – whether on a desktop computer, mobile phone or tablet – the company can reward frequent shoppers with benefits such as exclusive access to promotions.

Finding the right Harry & David gift

In addition to the unique homepage, customers can now search for gifts or products based on their particular needs.

A renovated search engine boosts returns through additional filters, through which customers can search by occasion, price range, ingredients, dietary restrictions, recipient (e.g. ‘for her/him,’ ‘for friends,’ ‘for family’), and shipping type. Another new feature, the ‘gift finder,’ asks customers three questions: “Who’s this for? What’s the occasion? What’s your budget?” ​and tailors search results based on those criteria.

For customers interested in regular deliveries for themselves or others, Harry & David now offers a pay-as-you-go subscription service that ships a customizable collection every month. They can also opt for curated boxes to mix it up with Sweets, Variety, Pantry, Fruit and Premium Popcorn.

Finally, at checkout when using a computer (not a mobile device), the platform will provide additional recommendations at checkout, including flash sales. It also allows customers to send a ‘SmartGift’: an email or text message notifying the gift recipient of something special on the way. That recipient can also easily send a thank you back through those same channels.

Reaching new and existing 1-800-FLOWERS customers offline

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Harry & David's subscription landing page. (Photo courtesy of 1-800-FLOWERS.com)

“As a multichannel gifting brand with a large offline presence, our focus has been on improving the customer experience across all digital touchpoints,”​ said Castro, noting marketing on social media and through email to reach new and existing customers.

In some cases, that has meant collaborating with influencers; more broadly, 1-800-FLOWERS.com, Inc. – as an established leader in online gifting – has invested heavily in digital marketing. That investment has led to “great results on customer acquisition, re-marketing and customer retention,”​ according to Castro. First-quarter 2020 earnings results released earlier this month affirm that reality: net revenue jumped more than 10%​, and the company’s customer database enjoyed double-digit growth.

Email newsletters have also been adapted to this customized future through refreshed design, mobile optimization and “unique storytelling content that resonates with our customers.”

Harry & David president's Steve Lightman agreed that, collectively, these continued improvements are boosting sales and engaging customers.

As a public company, 1-800-FLOWERS.com, Inc. has been consistently reporting revenue bumps in the high single-digits.