Why 1-800-Flowers.com is Growing its Plant Shop
Plants are having a moment of growth as a category as younger consumers discover their favorite succulents and houseplants to liven up their homes and their social media profiles. Floral and gourmet foods gift retailer 1-800-Flowers.com noticed this trend and decided to expand its Plant Shop, introducing some of the most sought-after greenery for home décor enthusiasts, gift-givers and plant lovers alike. With this expansion, The Plant Shop at 1-800-Flowers.com now offers nearly 150 plants, including houseplants, blooming plants, succulents, bonsai, bamboo and more.
In this interview with Total Retail, Alfred Palomares, vice president of merchandising, consumer floral, at 1-800-Flowers.com, discusses the planning and development of the new Plant Shop, how this expansion will drive customer acquisition among younger consumers, the marketing efforts around the new product offerings, and more.
Total Retail: Why does 1-800-Flowers.com feel that now is the right time to be expanding its plant selection?
Alfred Palomares: The plant category continues to experience growth and gain popularity, so we expanded The Plant Shop at 1-800-Flowers.com to provide even more options for customers, whether for self-purchasing or gifting.
This expansion is right on trend as, according to National Gardening Association data, the houseplant business in the U.S. has increased to $1.7 billion in the last three years due to the growing desire millennial customers have to own and care for something that's easy, but also for the health and wellness benefits they provide.
TR: What planning and research went into the new plants offered in the Plant Shop?
AP: Our product development and merchandising teams are always at the forefront of identifying the latest trends and evolving customer needs. We began increasing our succulent offerings over a year ago and continued to monitor the pulse of what was most important to today's younger plant parents. That led to a further expansion of our succulent assortment and the introduction of some of the most sought-after houseplants on the market today.
With this expansion, The Plant Shop at 1-800-Flowers.com now offers nearly 150 plants, including more than a dozen of the hottest trending houseplants, in a variety of sizes, such as Monstera Deliciosa, Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane), Snake Plant (Sansevieria), Majesty Palm, ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia), Fiddle Leaf Fig, Aloe Vera, Parlor Palm, Pilea Peperomioides, and succulents. These popular plants complement our overall assortment, broadening the selection of offerings to help our customers express, connect and celebrate.
TR: How can the expansion of The Plant Shop help 1-800-Flowers.com grow customer acquisition, particularly younger shoppers?
AP: The surge in plant popularity is being driven in large part by millennial customers and social media. In expanding The Plant Shop, we've introduced some of the hottest trending houseplants and seasonal succulents, which is helping us bring new customers into the brand and allowing us to demonstrate the breadth and depth of our plant assortment.
Additionally, the preferred method of communication among younger customers is through messaging platforms. 1-800-Flowers.com customers can shop with us on all five major conversational commerce platforms, including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Apple Business Chat, Google Assistant, and Samsung’s intelligent assistant, Bixby.
TR: What kind of marketing and promotions are planned around The Plant Shop expansion?
AP: The Plant Shop at 1-800-Flowers.com will be promoted through all of our marketing channels, such as a feature on the drop-down menu on our homepage, plant parent resources, content such as our newly launched Plant Gift Guide and ‘Plant Corner, a dedicated landing page, website banners, dedicated email blasts, display advertising, and social media.
As the collection evolves with new and on-trend offerings, customers can stay up-to-date by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and using the hashtag #MadeMeSmile. We're also working with a number of plant influencers to help generate buzz for our new plant offerings.
Customers can take advantage of the company’s Celebrations Passport loyalty program, which offers free standard shipping and no service charge for one full year on purchases made across the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. family of brands.
TR: Flower gift-giving is traditionally centered around celebrations such as birthdays and holidays. How will new plant offerings encourage consumers to purchase plants outside of those times?
AP: Actually, everyday occasions are the biggest driver of business at 1-800-Flowers.com. Our new plant offerings will appeal not only to gift-givers, but to home décor enthusiasts and plant lovers, who are looking for high-quality plants year-round.
TR: How does offering more houseplants and succulents help 1-800-Flowers.com stay on trend and ahead of the competition?
AP: We've created a destination for plant parents to not only find the plants they covet, but also to access resources to help them select and care for their plants. Customers can easily select their ideal plant by utilizing the following:
- The Plant Gift Guide at 1-800-Flowers.com, which offers resources to help select and care for plants, such as shopping by plant type; viewing best-sellers; and reading newly created content, such as Health Benefits of Plants, Best Indoor Plants for Your Home and more; and
- A dedicated "Plant Corner" on our blog, Petal Talk, which includes detailed plant care tips along with exclusive content.
This is helping us advance our authority in the plant space, while providing a differentiated shopping experience for our customers.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.