Web Visions

By Tim Moran  |  Posted 2009-06-04 Print this article Print

To ensure that the executives in its brands and business units understand and are responsible for their IT costs, 1-800-Flowers implemented a chargeback system in which everyone benefits.

Web Visions

1-800-Flowers.com has strong Web and Technology underpinnings: Sixty percent to 70 percent of its business is done online, and the company’s vision is to bring even more business to the Internet. “We’re a billion-dollar company, and online is our future,” says CIO Steve Bozzo, “so we’re investing heavily in Web 2.0 technology.”

To that end, the company recently added IBM’s WebSphere Commerce platform to its arsenal of tools. One of the main reasons for the move was the online retailer’s desire to reduce its reliance on a paper catalog, while improving its online business by delivering a rich, one-stop resource for customers wishing to purchase flowers, gourmet foods and gifts.

Currently, several of the company’s brands are running on independent, siloed systems that have to be managed and updated. And consumers sometimes have to search several different 1-800-Flowers.com sites to find a gift.

In November 2008, the company launched The Popcorn Factory first on the WebSphere platform, and customer conversion rates have risen as a result. “I’m particularly impressed with our new one-page checkout system, which offers our customers an unparalleled buying experience,” Bozzo says.

Over the next few years, 1-800-Flowers.com plans to transition most of its 14 brands to the new platform, which is hosted on IBM Power Systems servers running AIX and PowerVM virtualization software.

“We went from Web 0.5 to Web 2.0 in just nine months,” says Bozzo. “The key success factor was executive sponsorship at very high levels.”

Tim Moran is a freelance writer for Baseline magazine.

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