Jim McCann

Jim McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers.com, explains that Mother's Day weekend and the weekend prior are the two busiest of the year for the company and gifting industry. The key to staying ahead of the competition is to focus on innovation through social media and mobile platforms and create a customer experience that's reminiscent of the physical gift shop. Whether it's a breathtaking floral arrangement or unique keepsake gift, 1-800-Flowers.com is the place to be for Mother's Day.

When Peter and Peggy Rice founded the Plow & Hearth catalog in an outbuilding on their Virginia farm in 1981, their inspiration was the back-to-basics movement. Nearly 20 years later, the country philosophy remains, but the back-roads mail order business is anything but backwards. Its adoption of a high-tech database in the mid '90s has led to quick, efficient growth through sophisticated modeling, which in turn engendered a home-furnishings catalog spin-off and a highly successful upselling program. Now Plow & Hearth's dual commitment to direct marketing basics and use of cutting-edge technology is allowing the founders to reap what they've sown. In April

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