February 15, 2007, 12:00 AM

Valentine’s Day gift search in full bloom at 1-800-Flowers.com

Valentine’s Day is a very special day for 1-800-Flowers.com Inc.—second only to Mother’s Day in sales. And site search plays a special role to help sweethearts find the right gifts.

Valentine’s Day is a very special day for 1-800-Flowers.com Inc.-second only to Mother’s Day in sales. Last year sales during the retailer’s total fiscal third quarter, which includes the Valentine’s Day shopping period, grew 14.6% compared with the same period the previous year to $180 million; online sales jumped 20% to $110 million. Though final numbers are not yet available, sales during this year’s Valentine’s Day shopping period are very strong, says Steven Jarmon, vice president of brand communications and partnership marketing.

Because Valentine’s Day is so important to it, 1-800-Flowers.com takes a special approach to site design and marketing for the holiday. 1-800-Flowers.com recently launched a revamped e-commerce site aiming to create an improved and more easily navigable shopping experience. On Jan. 15, the day the retailer says its Valentine’s Day shopping period began, 1-800-Flowers.com, No. 35 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, debuted the Valentine’s Day Gift Center.

The gift center served as the starting point for all Valentine’s Day specials and content. Once in the gift center, shoppers could use a site search tool with special Narrow Your Search features to hasten and focus the gift-buying process. The gift center also included a Virtual Bouquet and a viral Video Valentine in which customers could make a video using available photos or uploading their own and adding text. 1-800-Flowers.com’s founder and CEO, Jim McCann, will deliver the Day One Keynote Address, The Web: Powering the Reinvention of Retailing, at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 4-7 in San Jose.

To promote the gift center, the merchant focused e-mail campaigns on promotional offers for flowers, confections, gift baskets and plush toys. And because the Valentine’s Day buyer skews male, is more of a last-minute buyer and prefers flowers, specifically roses, the retailer aligned and timed its e-mail campaigns to suit those customers.

“Further, we reminded our previous Valentine’s Day customers that Valentine’s Day was just around the corner and provided them special offers via e-mail only,” Jarmon says. “We also realize that not everyone reads their e-mails every day, so we ran a series of weekend sales that provided special flower offers and discounts so our customers would not miss out on a sale.”

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