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What's in a name for 1-800-Flowers.com?

Valentine's Day flowers.

Talk is (Not!) Cheap: The Art of Conversation Leadership

Nothing stimulates the economy like a holiday. And when it comes to Valentine's Day, spending on chocolates, cards and trinkets makes for a busy time in the American economy.

This is especially true for flowers -- and 1-800- Flowers.com.

Yes, that actually is the name of the company.

"In the 1980s, it was the hot new technology," says CEO Jim McCann of the "1-800" calling services. "Then in the mid to early nineties, we decided to add this dot-com thing onto the back of it."

McCann says 1-800-Flowers.com uses a network of more than 7,000 local flower shops across the country to help grow and deliver their product. This includes Miami, which for the holiday has clocked-in 6,000 employees to prep and ship flowers for delivery.

"Valentine's Day is a crazy holiday in the middle of what is otherwise a quiet quarter," says McCann, whose competition now includes delivery services like Fed-Ex and online stores like Amazon.

"If we're not good enough to beat someone who sells everything at a commodity form, then shame on us," he says. "We have to sharpen our game all the time."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Talk is (Not!) Cheap: The Art of Conversation Leadership
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Thank you so much for the comment 550king. I don't feel so stupid now because clearly I am not the only one who paid for flowers that never arrived. I'm also not the only one to have completely wasted their time time trying to get the issue resolved. Their Facebook page shows that people all over the country had a similar experience. I have to agree with your comments. I listened to this segment on the way home and scoffed the entire drive. What a puff piece. Not what I would except from Marketplace. If you want to do an interesting business story track down some of the PR people from 1-800-Flowers next week and see what tune they are singing. I wonder how many credit card transactions have disputed in the last few days. How long can Jim McCann keep this model going? Seems like they may be running out of rubes like me to fleece.

Kai, you lost this interview. I've heard you give "it" to a few interviewees in the past, but you really let Jim McCann off the hook with his double speak. You're better than this Kai, and I really wish you would have dug in a little more about the customer service problems 1-800 flowers has. Their shipping of flowers out of Miami might be fine, "According to Jim", but their partnerships with local florists is abysmal. I keep letting myself get screwed by this company. I'm in downtown Chicago no less, you'd think it wouldn't be hard to get flowers delivered on a holiday, but here I am on Valentine's Day explaining to my girl that the florist screwed up. It makes me look bad. And I'm out $200. Shame on me. At least with Uber I know if I'm getting picked up or not, like you mentioned in the interview. 1-800 flowers is not really a dot com, you have to call for customer service problems, and the 1-800 number keeps hanging up on me because they are too busy. It soundslike Jim may have lied a bit in his interview with you, and I really think you let him off the hook. Look at the posts on Facebook, it's an epic failure and Jim McCann knows it happens all the time. Get him on again to answer what went wrong.

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