Deepening customer relationships through its loyalty program has helped raise the level of brand loyalty at 1-800-Flowers.com.
 
A successful loyalty program can be a key differentiator for a brand, and officials at 1-800-Flowers.com have found that to be the case.
 
“About three years ago, we launched Celebrations Passport,” Tony Chivari, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Marketing and Customer Insight, explained to Loyalty360. “That’s our loyalty program that provides members with free standard shipping and no service charge on all purchases for one year across our brands—Harry & David, Cheryl’s Cookies, Simply Chocolate, Wolferman’s, and Personalization Universe. This is part of the company’s strategy to deepen engagement, while providing a one-stop shop for all of our customer’s celebratory needs.”
 
Chivari said no shipping costs serve as a big catalyst in customer engagement.
 
“A strong desire by consumers for no shipping costs, added convenience, and ease of shopping helped us shape the program, and we’ve continued to listen to customers in making enhancements to the program,” he added. “We know that our Celebrations Passport program is very popular with shoppers, as we’ve seen increased customer retention and historically high satisfaction scores.”
 
1-800-Flowers.com has transformed into a “fantastic destination” for all gifting needs, whether gourmet food, flowers, personalized products, or gift baskets, Chivari noted.
 
“Whatever the occasion, customers can now shop across our entire family of brands, on one website with one check out,” Chivari said. “Our Celebrations Passport program ties it all together, resulting in increased loyalty and creating multi-brand customers. You may have started out as a Harry & David shopper, but now you also shop Cheryl’s Cookies and Wolferman’s. It’s a win/win for consumers and for the continued advancement of our multi-brand gifting strategy.”
 
The speed of technology continues to change customer expectations, Chivari said, while also evolving the ways they shop.
 
“Most recently, we are seeing that voice interaction and artificial intelligence are rapidly transforming the customer experience, and we want to stay ahead of where the consumer will be going next,” he said. “We continue to embrace and invest in technology innovations that make it easier for gift-givers to shop with us wherever, whenever, and however they choose. That helps our brands stay competitive and deliver a more personalized experience for consumers.”
 
As a company, 1-800-Flowers.com is deeply focused on the customer experience.
 
“So it’s important for us to embrace new innovations early on to learn along with the customer,” Chivari explained. “Over the past two years, we’ve launched several new customer engagement technologies, including a bot platform on Facebook Messenger, voice-enabled Skill on Amazon Alexa, the company’s first online gift concierge, Gwyn [Gifts When You Need], and the Google Assistant transaction feature. These enhancements have enabled us to have interactions with our customers that are personalized and relevant, at scale.”
 
The ongoing challenge for all retailers, Chivari said, is that customer expectations continue to grow and the bar for meeting and exceeding them is constantly reaching new heights.
 
“For our customers, we are increasingly creating personalized experiences, providing a seamless experience from order to delivery,” he said. “We are also deepening our relationships with customers by incorporating multimedia content and creating immersive social engagements. For example, customers shopping our newest brand, Simply Chocolate, can join a passionate community of chocolate lovers and share photos and recipes, while fans of Harry & David can enjoy features such as the Harvest Report, which lets shoppers know which fruit is ripe and ready to ship. Our team is obsessed with service, so we are proud of, and motivated by, the positive feedback we continue to receive from shoppers, as well as our higher customer satisfaction metrics. That’s what it’s all about.”
 

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