Cover Story: In Full Bloom
Having come a long way from its modest beginning as a chain of floral shops in metropolitan New York, 1-800-Flowers.com usually has set trends, not followed them.
Whether it was the foresight to be, reportedly, the first company to incorporate a toll-free phone number into its name in 1986 (the company was originally called Flora Plenty) or to anticipate the impact the Internet would have on modern-day businesses by being the first merchant of any kind to process an online transaction on AOL in early 1991, this integrated marketing powerhouse has kept innovation at the heart of its growth.
Such trailblazing vision has helped the Carle Place, N.Y.-based company grow its portfolio to nearly $1 billion in annual sales. It’s also accumulated 10 subsidiary brands, including such noteworthy marketers as The Popcorn Factory, Plow & Hearth and Fannie May. Amid all this expansion over the years, 1-800-Flowers.com has maintained a keen ability to integrate a consistent marketing strategy across catalog, Web, retail, e-mail and mobile channels.
This isn’t to say that 1-800-Flowers.com hasn’t been tested. “We’re not immune to being clipped by this economic firestorm that’s raged up around us,” says Founder and CEO Jim McCann. The company, which also faces increasing competition in the floral and gifts space, had the first round of layoffs in its 33-year history this past January. In addition, the 2008 fiscal year marks the first down year in company history, with revenues expected to drop by more than 5 percent from the year prior.
But with so many integrated marketing firsts in its timeline 1-800-Flowers.com truly believes its core values will make it even stronger as it emerges from these trying times.
4 Steps to Recovery
While not welcome news, last year’s hardships have strengthened McCann’s and 1-800-Flowers.com’s belief that innovation and investment in the future, notably in technology and talent, will pave the way for its “next 33 years in business.”