Good retailers sell well, and best retailers offer their customers an unforgettable experience. The story of the 1800-Flowers.com online store is interesting because it traces the path that a Manhattan flower shop bought in the 1970s for $ 10,000 to a multimillion business that generated $ 1.2 bn. in sales just last year. The achievement goes through impressive AI innovation that has cemented its leadership position in the US online marketplace.
How was that possible?
1800-Flowers relies on IBM Watson or more specifically its Fluid Expert Personal Shopper software platform, part of which is the Question Analysis API. Thus, the website, and especially its mobile version, offers consumers a smart chat bot that helps them choose a gift for their loved ones. On this foundation, 1800-Flowers create Gifts When You Need (Gwyn) virtual assistant, which acts as a concierge for customers and provides them with intuitive shopping.
Even by 2016, with the release of the beta version of Gwin, chat bots are not generally new. However, their intelligent use in online commerce was. Thus, the giant in the industry with more than 4000 employees gives a convenient opportunity for their clients to order a gift for a loved one. Gwin addresses a wide range of issues. Starting with the generic statement, “I want to find something for my mom” to “Show me the best roses you have”. In any case, the chat bot asks a few clarifying questions in order to assure the business that the most appropriate product will fall within the recommendation. The AI algorithm will ask about the occasion, as well as what type of gifts the person the customer would like to please.
Thanks to Machine Learning, the more customers interact with GWIN, the more intuitive it becomes.
Perfect consumer experience is the best product
1800-Flowers, however, does not stop its AI journey just onsite. When Facebook announces that the Messenger application will be able to support chatbots of individual brands, 1800-Flowers took advantage immediately. Only two months after the Meesenger bot launch, the result was increased numbers of orders coming from customers who are using the company services for the first time. Most of them are younger than the typical 1800-Flowers customers.
This way, the company serves young people in a comfortable and familiar environment in a fast and convenient way. Now you can order a gift for almost a minute.
Meanwhile, the 1800-Flowers also offered the option of a voice call with its concierge so customers can make choices and order while driving, for example.
Thus, artificial intelligence not only enters online commerce as an additional opportunity, it opens the door to new customer segments, increases satisfaction and, ultimately, better results.