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1800Flowers exec: Mobile disrupts every marketing channel

August 17, 2012

A screen shot of the relaunched 1800Flowers mobile site

BOSTON – A 1800Flowers executive at the eTail Boston Mobile Shopping Summit said that mobile is changing the way that multichannel retailers operate.

“The Mobile Web & The Post-PC World: A 1800Flowers Case Study” session gave a look into how the online retailer was able to avoid shopping cart abandonment through a revamp of its mobile site. The session also put a big focus on how mobile needs to be incorporated into a brand’s overall strategy.

“Most retailers still stay dominant in what they are doing well,” said Amit Shah, senior director of online, mobile and social media at 1800Flowers, Carle Place, NY.

“What we have realized is that mobile is completely disruptive,” he said. “What mobile is actually doing is upending every experience of every channel.”

Mobile in multichannel
After revamping its site in September and reducing the steps involved in checking-out by 60 percent, 1800Flowers saw a 25 percent increase in the average time spent on the site.

Additionally, the company saw a 53 percent reduction in cart abandonment.

Mobile’s click-to-call feature is a great example of how the medium has impacted traditional channels such as telephone marketing.

Additionally, catalogs are increasingly being converted to digital versions to let consumers shop while on the go.

According to Mr. Shah, consumers do not care about how they buy a gift online.

“The customer is only concerned about how they get their flowers to their wife on the day that it is most meaningful,” Mr. Shah said.

Context and intent also play a large role in mobile.

For example, when mobile consumers are searching, they are looking for something specific, so links cannot direct users to a mobile site’s main homepage.

1800Flowers originally launched its mobile site five years ago. Since then, the company has also rolled out applications for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android devices.

Gaining customer insight is a strong indicator of a mobile experience, per Mr. Shah.

“Once you start focusing on experience, you start building feedback loops, and the only sustainable strategy when the marketplace is changing very quickly is to build these loops,” Mr. Shah said.

Agile experience
Ajay Kapur, CEO of Moovweb, San Francisco, also spoke during the session.

Although there is hype around new technologies, it is important to create a solid mobile presence today with a mobile site that will scale across multiple devices and into the future, per Mr. Kapur.

Mobile Web is still in its infancy phase.

By using technologies such as HTML5 and responsive design, the Web becomes an agile experience that meshes mobile and desktop.

Once a brand has a solid mobile Web foundation, then they can think about more native features with mediums such as apps.

“If you’re really serious about mobile, there’s no way to think about it without thinking about desktop Web strategy,” Mr. Kapur said.

“Technology trends tend to take longer than you expect to be the case, but when they do happen they happen much faster,” he said.

Final Take
Ajay Kapur is CEO of Moovweb, San Francisco

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