Long before mobile commerce emerged as a new channel, multichannel visionary 1-800-Flowers.com saw the potential market and launched a mobile Web site in early 2006, and tapped mobile software provider Digby in early 2007 to develop a complete mobile channel offering.
In the three years since the mobile launch, 1-800-Flowers.com has continued to evolve their mobile program, and now offers their customers a wide variety of mobile shopping options. Customers can access the 1-800-Flowers Mobile Gift Center using a mobile optimized commerce site as well, with rich, on-device application storefronts for Blackberry and iPhone.
Digby is also working on a Google Android edition of the Mobile Gift Center, which will be available to customers this summer. “We saw the opportunity to provide an additional shopping channel for customers, targeting the on-the-go shopper,” says Kevin Ranford, Director of Web Marketing at 1-800-Flowers.com. “Mobile has provided us with a new and engaging way to serve our customers, and has been a great way to serve the busy last minute shopper that needs to get a gift fast.”
Having realized the potential of the mobile channel, 1-800-Flowers.com is well plugged into the rapidly changing and evolving market. Ranford says the company’s mobile marketing efforts include a variety of promotions, with recent Mother’s Day wins driven by targeted SMS campaigns. Consumers were presented with the call to action: Text “Spot a Mom” to short code FLOWER and receive a discount on your Mother’s Day purchase. These targeted campaigns, coupled with active promotion of the mobile offerings to their existing customer base via retention emails, online display banners and print ads, has driven year-over-year growth of over 200%.
One of the biggest challenges in mobile right now is the amount of fragmentation in the market. The way that consumers consume mobile content and interact with their devices varies widely. This is especially true in the case of the emerging smartphone platforms including BlackBerry, iPhone and Android, according to Dave Sikora, President & CEO of Digby. To address this challenge, the Digby Mobile Commerce Suite moves beyond simple mobile web sites to provide retailers with a single platform that provides both downloadable application storefronts for smartphones, as well as commerce-focused mobile Web sites compatible with all mobile Web enabled phones. This approach is designed to provide retailers the best of both worlds with the best native user experiences for the popular smartphones and the broadest coverage through small, highly consumable mobile Web sites.
Sikora emphasizes the need for retailers to be able to interact with the plethora of mobile phones and coinciding technologies. “What has not happened in the market yet is a coalescing around any one of these mobile consumption methodologies, so as a retailer, it’s really incumbent to address both the breadth of mobile devices available as well as providing the best possible mobile experience and in the most intimate way possible.”
Ranford says mobile is more than just a supplement to the 1-800-Flowers.com business model. Since the company launched a mobile program three years ago, there has been a continued up-tick in metrics, driving a high volume of mobile purchasing. In the process, 1-800-Flowers.com has seen success with both an increase in the number of mobile transactions per user as well as a higher average order value for shoppers when they use the on-device storefront applications. “Aside from offering another way to shop, mobile has become a core part of our multi-channel mix and is something that we’re going to continue to put our resources behind and drive toward even more growth moving forward,” says Ranford.
Sikora says the fact that 1-800-Flowers.com realized that mobile would be another channel so early is indicative of the retailer’s experience as a multichannel visionary. “There’s so much in their DNA around historical new channel development,” he says.