1-800-Flowers.com, the e-commerce floral, plant and gift provider, is charting an innovative course in the engagement economy by creating opportunities for connection.
When the global pandemic forced businesses to reassess how they engage their teams and customers, 1-800-Flowers.com saw a spike in gift giving. In the absence of in-person celebrations, people have increasingly used gifts to commemorate career milestones, deals closed and products launched, according to Amit Shah, the president of 1-800-Flowers.com.
To foster collaboration and meet growing demand, Shah and his teams turned to Slack. “Slack added rocket fuel to our capabilities, speeding up decision-making so that we could respond to market needs faster,” he says. By moving to the platform, the 1-800-Flowers.com brand was able to drive cohesion across teams, capitalize on creative opportunities and identify new ways to show appreciation.
“With Slack we were able to remove silos across the brand, and that has been critical to developing a sense of community and operating with agility.”
Solving complex problems by breaking down silos
In October 2020, 1-800-Flowers.com turned to Slack to help enable more fluid cross-departmental information sharing and communication.
“We had a strong set of existing tools, but we wanted to establish a central place where teams could easily come together,” Shah says. “With Slack we were able to remove silos across the brand, and that has been critical to developing a sense of community and operating with agility.”
With the switch to Slack, the brand transformed operations in three key areas, according to Shah:
- Staying in sync. United on one platform, teams can quickly align on new business priorities.
- Sourcing answers faster. With Slack’s search functionality, 1-800-Flowers.com has a knowledge repository that allows employees to find information and subject-matter experts quickly.
- Swiftly adapting to change. By connecting and collaborating in Slack, teams can respond to external changes, like a pandemic, and internal opportunities, such as a new marketing campaign, without missing a beat.
“Slack is not just a faster, more agile collaboration tool. It improves the quality of problem-solving.”
Spinning up marketing collaborations in days, not weeks, with Slack Connect
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest revenue-generating holidays for 1-800-Flowers.com. Typically the brand finalized its marketing campaign months in advance. But this year the performance marketing team took a different approach.
A creative agency approached the brand about partnering on a campaign just weeks before Valentine’s Day. Once the brand decided to move forward, the teams started making decisions with the agency at warp speed in Slack Connect, which extends channel-based messaging to external partners.
The initial communications between 1-800-Flowers.com and the agency happened in a matter of hours. And the decision-making behind the execution of the campaign—which would have taken at least a week over email—happened in just a few days.
With Slack Connect, the brand was able to align with the agency on the campaign details and communicate last-minute changes in real time. According to the 1-800-Flowers.com team, it would have been incredibly difficult to coordinate a campaign this complex via email—but Slack made it easy.
“The alignment between all of our teams and our external agency was critical. We had to be very careful about preserving our voice and brand, and with Slack Connect we made sure we were sharing the right messaging in a matter of hours.”
Using real-time data to optimize campaign performance
Beyond coordinating campaigns with external partners, the brand uses Slack channels, virtual spaces for collaboration, to share information and adjust campaigns. “When the rubber meets the road, seconds matter,” Shah says. “When seconds matter, getting everyone on the same page in Slack channels with the most up-to-date information on our merchandise and inventory—where we’re seeing demand and what the competition is doing—is incredibly powerful.”
Specific marketing initiatives and functional groups, such as marketing operations and merchandise and product development, each have their own channels. Information shared in these specialized channels is visible across the marketing workspace, so everyone has insight into the latest campaign developments.
The merchandise team’s channel, for example, keeps teams up to date on inventory. If a florist in the brand’s network is running low on flowers, performance marketing adjusts its spend to target other geographic areas.
“Understanding how our network is performing and what its capabilities are over the next few hours or days means we’re able to quickly adjust what we’re doing to drive sales,” Shah says. “Having Slack as a tool to share that information in real time across the entire team is very powerful for optimizing our marketing spend.”
#lessons-learned channel serves as a repository for tactics that performed well (and those that didn’t) to help the team make data-informed decisions for the brand’s next important holiday. “During the window between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, it’s incredibly important for us to catalog our learnings and ensure that everyone has access to that information,” Shah says. “The channel is our living document of what to focus on for the next campaign.”
Driving engagement with in-the-moment gifts
Social distancing during the pandemic created an increase in demand for gifts as touchpoints between internal teams and external partners, says Monika Kochhar, the CEO and co-founder of SmartGift. But logistical hurdles can stand in the way. People have to switch from the flow of work to a gift website or store, select an appropriate item and find the recipient’s address. For many, it’s enough to forgo the gesture.
SmartGift, together with 1-800-Flowers.com, sought to reimagine gift giving as a more seamless experience. This led to the launch of the 1-800-Flowers.com SmartGift app for Slack. With the app, users can deliver in-the-moment gifts without ever leaving Slack. Here’s how it works:
- A user opens the app in Slack and selects a gift
- This generates a gift link that can be shared via direct message
- The recipient is prompted to enter their preferred delivery date and address
- The giver pays for the gift once it has been accepted
Thoughtful gifts add humanity to digital and hybrid workspaces and create loyalty, according to Shah. “More and more companies realize that they have to find more personal, authentic ways to recognize people and to create and deepen relationships,” Shah says.
“With the help of Slack, we’re facilitating relationships in the places where people are gathering. We’ve been doing that for a long time in the physical world, and it makes sense to do it in the digital world too.”