1-800-Flowers’ Second Blooming

Jim McCann talks about sowing the seeds for future growth at a mature company.

July 7 2014 by Jennifer Pellet

”To catch the wave, 1-800-Flowers has charged its dedicated social marketing team with finding ways to build relationships with consumers that go beyond sales transactions. The company’s 2013 #JustBecause campaign was one outgrowth of that effort. Launched on the AMC Reality Show “The Pitch,” #Just Because let users share their stories and memories about gifting, which then spread across the social technology universe via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and other destinations. Back in September of 2013, when the team told McCann that the company would hit 1 million likes on Facebook by February of 2015, he challenged them to do it by Valentine’s Day instead. “While they didn’t quite make it, this spring we hit 967,000 likes,” says McCann. “When someone likes you on Facebook they’re giving you permission to access a lot more information about who they are and what they like to do, as well as the opportunity to reach out and engage them.”

Changing your business model to adapt to the capabilities of new technology while staying true to the philosophy and relationships on which the company was built can be tricky. For McCann, efforts to morph his company to leverage all the different customer touch points technology provides are all an extension of the same value proposition his first floral shop provided its local customers. “All I’m trying to do is mimic the relationship I had with people back on 1st Avenue 35 years ago,” he says. “They’d ask for restaurant recommendations or say, ‘Gee, I’m having a party and I could use some ideas on decorating and food.’  Those are the dialogues we had with our two or three dozen regular customers, and now those are the dialogues we can now have through social technology.”

WHO: Jim McCann, Founder & CEO, 1-800-Flowers.com
BRANDS: Fannie May, The Popcorn Factory, BloomNet,1-800-Baskets, FruitBouquets.com and Celebrations.com
BOOKS: Stop and Sell The Roses: Lessons from Business and Life, A Year Full of Flowers: Fresh Ideas to Bring Flowers into Your Life Every Day and Talk is (Not!)Cheap (2014)
FORMER OCCUPATION: Social Worker, St. John’s Home for Boys