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IBM helps 1-800-Flowers connect with shoppers

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — With 25% of annual flower sales (for an estimated $1.9 billion) tied to Mother’s Day, it’s no wonder the holiday looms large for 1-800-Flowers. IBM is helping the retailer simplify Mother’s Day gift-giving for its digital customers no matter where or how they shop, including through the website, with a mobile device or via social media.

Using analytics found in IBM’s Smarter Commerce solutions, 1-800-Flowers is now able to better understand web traffic, identify best-selling items, gauge campaign effectiveness and visitor behavior. With these insights, the retailer has been to adjust ads and provide special offers or coupons on the spot to better serve clients and boost sales.

The company is also aggressively pursuing ways to keep them coming back for all special occasions. For instance, when a shopper buys flowers for Mother’s Day, 1-800-Flowers applies IBM analytics to come up with an incentive that will drive the customer to come back to the site for Father’s Day and buy a gourmet food basket.

Tech-savvy retailers like 1-800-Flowers are using social media to listen to consumer opinions and participate in discussions, allowing them to gain new insights into shopper preferences that would otherwise not be possible. As another direct communications channel, customers use 1-800-Flower’s presence on social media sites like twitter to inquire about their orders and delivery times. Customer service representatives monitor these sites and are able to respond in minutes to concerns.

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May-14-2013 07:39 am

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P.Tmdt says:
May-14-2013 07:39 am

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Weather impacts Alco Stores Q1 sales

BY Staff Writer

Abilene, Kan. – Discount retailer Alco Stores blamed the impact of cold weather across the Midwest for helping to produce sluggish sales performance during fiscal first quarter 2013. Alco Stores reported sales of continuing operations excluding fuel of $116 million, up 0.9% from $114.9 million during the same period in 2012. Same-store sales excluding fuel were down 2.2%.

“Sales in the first fiscal quarter were negatively impacted by extended winter weather conditions, which lasted through April throughout much of the Midwest,” said Alco Stores president/CEO Rich Wilson. “More than 80% of the decrease in same-store sales performance came from seasonal businesses such as outdoor living, horticulture, sporting goods and menswear. The decreases in outdoor businesses were partially offset by favorable sales performance in domestics, housewares, and women’s apparel where customers have responded favorably to the introduction of our new apparel lines.”

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Canadian youth set for more spending power

BY Staff Writer

Toronto – Continuing income growth means today’s Canadian youth will assume more spending power than their parents currently have during the course of their lifetimes, according to a new report from BMO Economics. The report cites ongoing gains in real media income and compensation, as well as expected future decreases in unemployment, in making this rosy forecast.

"Since 1996, real median income has turned higher for all age groups, rising 18 per cent to 2010," said Sal Guatieri, VP, BMO Capital Markets. "Furthermore, the annual gain of 1.2% was more than twice that in the United States during this period."

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