In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
The gifts retailer has launched an iPhone application called the Mobile Gift Center that recreates the e-commerce experience in a way tailored for iPhones. It also debuted a mobile app dedicated to Valentine’s Day.
1-800-Flowers.com saw the beginnings of a trend in mobile commerce and now is helping lead the way to richer shopping experiences on smartphones. The retailer has launched two downloadable mobile applications aimed at iPhone users, a base of smartphone users that has been growing considerably.
The first app, dubbed the Mobile Gift Center, which was quietly unveiled in the fall for testing and now officially launched, recreates the 1-800-Flowers.com e-commerce experience in a format optimized for iPhone screens and computing power. IPhone and iPod Touch users can download the application from Apple’s popular App Store. Because mobile apps reside on a smartphone, they can use the larger screen and computing power of the device to create a device-tailored shopping experience richer and quicker than that of an m-commerce site, that is, a web site designed to be accessed by Internet-enabled mobile phones. 1-800-Flowers.com developed both new apps with m-commerce technology vendor Digby.
“Providing our customers with the best and easiest way to shop for gifts no matter where they are is a key driver for us,” says Jim McCann, CEO and founder of 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., No. 36 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “The new Mobile Gift Center for iPhone and iPod Touch delivers a fast and convenient way to gift shop, and we’re excited to be on the Apple App Store.”
The second app is dedicated to Valentine’s Day, offering mobile shoppers a significantly streamlined way to order one dozen red roses. The app is something of a test-the retailer may use it as a template for future offerings designed for specific events, such as birthdays, Mother’s Day or other holidays.
“Mobile consumers are embracing apps because they offer a more robust shopping experience,” says Kevin Ranford, director of web merchandising. “We figured out how to roll out the Mobile Gift Center and then thought, ‘How can we one-up that and offer folks something in a very specific timeframe when they are most likely coming for one specific thing?’ For Valentine’s Day, a lot of our shoppers are going to be looking for a dozen red roses, so we put together a downloadable app not to replace the Mobile Gift Center but to complement it, so in a very small number of clicks-it goes directly to the product page, then directly to the shopping cart-you can get a dozen red roses.”
Kevin Ranford, director of web marketing at 1-800-Flowers.com, will be speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 15-18 in Boston, in a session entitled 1-click checkout: The key to m-commerce success.