February 28, 2001, 12:00 AM

FTD moves 83% of its sales to the web

FTD has revivified its business by moving orders to the web, where customers spend more, stay longer as customers and are more profitable.

A full 83% of FTD’s orders come through the Internet today, William J. van Cleave, vice president of marketing for FTD, told the eTail 2001 conference. Web sales totaled $98 million in FY 2000 and the site is making money, van Cleave said. An Internet order is 4.4% larger than a telephone order and an Internet customer buys 10% more often than a phone customer. He adds that customer retention of an Internet customer is twice as long as a phone customer and the lifetime value of an Internet customer is three times that of a phone customer. FTD also is no longer just flowers. The site features 700 gift products, up from 30 a year ago. Gifts account for 10% of FTD sales, up from 3% a year ago. FTD was particularly intent on making the Internet work after it was beaten in the 800-number game by 1-800-Flowers, which made use of an 800 number while FTD remained convinced that customers would continue to prefer to call their local florists to place FTD orders. Its Internet success has allowed FTD to close the gap with 1-800-Flowers, van Cleave said. Five years ago, 1-800-Flowers was five times the size of FTD; today is slightly more than twice the size. The lesson from FTD’s success: "Go where your customer will be," van Cleave said.

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