1-800-Flowers blooms with Facebook transactions

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1-800-Flowers blooms with Facebook transactions
1-800-Flowers blooms with Facebook transactions

Retailer 1-800-Flowers is increasingly finding social media an ideal place to connect with customers. The brand, which launched a transactional application that lets customers shop directly from a Facebook app in July, is also concurrently running two Facebook contests to reward existing customers and encourage them to share interest in the brand with friends.

One effort, which debuted in August, is called “Birthday shoutout.” It calls 1-800-Flowers' Facebook fans to mention friends' birthdays. Once they do so, they're eligible for discounts and the chance to be entered in a weekly drawing to win free flowers for their friend.

As part of “Floral ambush,” the other initiative launched last month, the retailer surprises 10 fans with a floral bouquet every Friday. 1-800-Flowers extended both efforts to run through October due to high engagement.

“It is a great way to reward our fans, and since it has been so popular, we decided to extend it,” said Kevin Ranford, director of Web marketing at 1-800-Flowers.

For the brand, which began testing transactional apps on mobile phones and with banner ads on MSN in May, Facebook transactions were the next frontier.

“The next logical step we saw was bringing the transactional tool to Facebook where a lot of our customers are spending time,” said Ranford. “The idea is to bring the shopping experience to where our customers already are.”

The e-commerce app is a “lighter version of our Web site,” said Vib Prasad, VP of Web marketing and merchandising at 1-800-Flowers. Its front end feeds into the 1-800-Flowers e-commerce order system, so orders are fulfilled as an e-commerce purchase.

“Right now it is still a relatively small amount of sales, but it is a great way to spread our brand virally,” said Ranford. “A customer can post a status update if they have ordered flowers.”

The retailer plans to add upgrades to the app for the holidays. It also contains the VeriSign logo to educate consumers that transactions on Facebook are as safe as on the e-commerce site.

“Anytime you change the portal, you have to make sure that the experience is as secure as any other transaction,” added Prasad.

To promote its Facebook presence, the online florist is running Facebook ads. The retailer also conducted a non-profit effort to increase the size of its fanbase. In September, it agreed to give $2,000 to nonprofit CancerCare if 6,000 people joined the 1-800-Flowers fan page. The goal was achieved.

E-commerce vendor Alvenda built the 1-800-Flowers application through its Shoplets tool. Alvenda is working with Facebook to measure transactions via the Shoplets Facebook application.

This partnership is the latest in a flurry of announcements of tools to measure digital audiences. Omniture is measuring retail transactions via its App Measurement for Facebook tool. This platform uses Omniture SiteCatalyst's analytics, segmentation and reporting capabilities for applications built for the social networking site.

Last month, Nielsen announced a partnership with Facebook to measure audience behavior and social media campaigns. Also last month, Omniture disclosed it is working with ComScore to better measure digital audiences.

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