April 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

At 1-800-Flowers.com, new technology blossoms in time for Mother’s Day

As part of a long-range plan to upgrade its e-commerce technology, 1-800-Flowers.com has launched several new applications in recent weeks in time for Mother’s Day, its top sales generator, president Chris McCann says.

As part of a long-range plan to upgrade its e-commerce technology, 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. has launched several new applications in recent weeks in time for Mother’s Day, its top sales generator, president Chris McCann says.

The retailer recently deployed on its flagship floral retail site 1800Flowers.com a platform from Bazaarvoice that supports customer-generated ratings, reviews and stories, and a live chat application from LivePerson Inc.

The Bazaarvoice application is supporting an innovative marketing promotion for Mother’s Day, says Vibhav Prasad, the retailer’s senior director of web merchandising. The promotion, Spotlight a Mom, lets customers compete to win free vacation trips by submitting stories about what makes their mom special. Winning stories are shown on the retailer’s home page, and anyone who views one of the stories can also use on-site applications to forward them to Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.

The live chat application, meanwhile, has already helped to increase conversion rates from new visitors, McCann says.

In other technology improvements, 1-800-Flowers has revised product pages to provide larger photography and a cleaner interface, and improved the screen resolution for shoppers viewing the floral site from the larger monitor screens on many desktop and laptop computers, Prasad adds.

In addition, the retailer has begun migrating its in-house e-commerce platform to IBM Corp.’s WebSphere Commerce, starting with the recent relaunch of The Popcorn Factory in the company’s food and gifts group. The retailer plans to eventually migrate all of its more than 12 sites, including the flagship 1800Flowers.com, to the WebSphere Commerce platform, McCann says. The retailer chose WebSphere over other technology options because it offered the best mix of local control and customization ability, he adds.

1-800-Flowers is No. 36 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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