E-Mail Blossoms at Blooms Today

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E-mail is coming up roses for Blooms Today.

The multichannel floral retailer enlisted e-mail services provider Bronto, Durham, NC, to reach out to its customer base via e-mail newsletters and promotions.

"Previously we were doing e-mail in-house, but we were having difficulty keeping our server off of the black list because we didn't have a good way to opt in," said Gabe Harris, e-commerce manager at Blooms Today.

Blooms Today is online at www.bloomstoday.com, where consumers can browse by floral arrangements, occasions, gift ideas and price. Flower shoppers can spend $29.99 on a simple 10-stem Gerbera bouquet or shell out $89.99 for a robust Star Gazer bouquet. The Haymarket, VA, retailer then ships orders from local florist partners.

Consumers have the option to opt in for e-mails via the online store or over the telephone. Customers who decide to receive e-mails will find Blooms Today promotions once a week in their inboxes. Survey e-mails and etiquette newsletters also are sent occasionally.

About 30 percent of sales comes from online, while 70 percent is maintained through the telephone. Mr. Harris attributed this to the main demographic being women in their 40s and 50s who go online a few hours a week mostly to check e-mail.

The busiest times of year for Blooms Today are holidays where flowers are part of the day, like Mother's Day and St. Valentine's Day. To prepare for the upcoming holiday season, which is also a prosperous time, Blooms Today plans to introduce new products.

Other marketing efforts include yellow page ads, buying search keywords through 24/7 Active Media along with search optimization, as well as coupons in the Entertainment Book. Other retailers who advertise in the space include 1-800-Flowers and FTD.

The Bronto platform at http://www.bronto.com/ lets Blooms Today track its revenue through e-mail by measuring exactly where customers are clicking and buying. With this information, Blooms Today can better target and segment its list for a more successful open rate. Mr. Harris said that the open rate is 50 percent.

"With e-mail we are really digging into the idea of conversion tracking, because measuring well is so important," Bronto CEO Joe Colopy said. "Segmentation is key for marketers today."

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