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Harry & David® Embarks on Cognitive Journey with IBM Watson Customer Engagement

Retailer Unites Cognitive and Cloud to Help Shoppers Pick the Right Gift for the Right Moment

LAS VEGAS, March 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Harry & David®, a leading provider of premium gift-quality fruit, gourmet food products, is adopting a full suite of Watson Customer Engagement solutions on the IBM Cloud including cognitive capabilities designed to help connect customers with the perfect gift at the perfect time.

Last year Harry and David's parent company, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. introduced the world to " GWYN™" (Gifts When You Need), a Watson-powered gift concierge that helps customers sift through more than 7,000 products to find the perfect gift.  Given the success of GWYN--80% of customers asked had a positive experience and wanted to use it again--the company is expanding GWYN's capabilities to Harry & David. Thus, customers will be able to interact online with GWYN using Watson's natural language API to find the right item, from fruits to chocolates and baked goods, for the right person at the right time. This personalized and interactive customer experience is designed to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience powered by deep insights from AI.

For example, customers can simply type, "I'm looking to send a thank you gift." The service will then interpret the question and ask a series of additional qualifying questions about the occasion, sentiment and who the gift is for. GWYN even learns about a person's unique gifting needs and wants and refines and enhances the shopping experience over time. Through these interactions, GWYN sifts through thousands of possible products and shares only the gifts that are most appropriate, providing an experience similar to what a shopper would receive from a customer service representative in a store. 

"A brand can only meet its true potential if it's able to deliver exceptional service to customers along each step in their journey with the company," said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson Customer Engagement. "That's why cognitive is so imperative. Cognitive is not about isolated moments, but understanding customers on a human level and learning about them over time so each interaction delivers them precisely what they need at that moment."

Harry & David and the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM® family of brands share a commitment to constantly enhancing its customer experience and business through new technologies. Whether that meant being one of the first companies to allow transactions on popular social media sites or the creation of GWYN with cognitive capabilities, the brands are constantly looking for new ways to better serve and delight their clients. Their transition to Watson Customer Engagement Marketing solutions holds the same promise.

In addition to GWYN, the company is embracing additional IBM Cloud offering including IBM Payment Gateway. Further enhancing customer experience and creating a more efficient checkout process for its customers, Payment Gateway will help support payment transactions for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. family of brands.

"With 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc, and our family of brands, we offer customers a 'celebratory ecosystem' of gifts and with the help of IBM, we continue to stay on the leading edge in everchanging landscape of today's customers and gift giving needs," said Arnie Leap, CIO of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. "The success of GWYN truly demonstrates what is possible with IBM's cognitive technologies. It also continues our ongoing transformational journey focused on deploying the latest innovations that make it easy and convenient for our customers to deliver a smile."

IBM Watson Customer Engagement powers a full spectrum of solutions including cognitive engagement offerings delivered as a service and on premise. Today IBM is the only vendor that helps companies infuse cognitive technologies into their marketing, commerce and supply chain capabilities on their terms, when and how they need. 

IBM currently is working with more 17,000 companies around the world including Amadori Group, American Eagle Outfitters, Boots, Ermes, Luxottica, Moosejaw Mountaineering, Office Brands, Performance Bicycle, REI, Sherwin Williams.

For more information follow us at #IBMAmplify and #WatsonCE.

About 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. is a leading provider of gourmet food and floral gifts for all occasions. For the past 40 years, 1-800-FLOWERS® (1-800-356-9377 or www.1800flowers.com) has been helping deliver smiles for our customers with gifts for every occasion, including fresh flowers and the finest selection of plants, gift baskets, gourmet foods, confections, candles, balloons and plush stuffed animals. As always, our 100% Smile Guarantee® backs every gift. The company's Celebrations suite of services including Celebrations Passport® Free Shipping / No Service Charge Program, Celebrations Rewards® and Celebrations Reminders®, are all designed to engage with customers and deepen relationships as a one-stop destination for all celebratory and gifting occasions. In 2017, 1-800-Flowers.com was awarded Gold Stevie "e-Commerce Customer Service" Award, recognizing the company's innovative use of online technologies and social media to service the needs of customers. In addition, 2016 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. was recognized as one of Internet Retailer's Top 300 B2B e-commerce companies and was also recently named in Internet Retailer's 2016 Top Mobile 500 as one of the world's leading mobile commerce sites. The company was included in Internet Retailer's 2015 Top 500 for fast growing e-commerce companies. In 2015, 1-800-Flowers.com was named a winner of the "Best Companies to Work for in New York State" Award by The New York Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM). The Company's BloomNet® international floral wire service (www.mybloomnet.net) provides a broad range of quality products and value-added services designed to help professional florists grow their businesses profitably. The 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. "Gift Shop" also includes gourmet gifts such as premium, gift-quality fruits and other gourmet items from Harry & David® (1-877-322-1200) or www.harryanddavid.com), popcorn and specialty treats from The Popcorn Factory® (1-800-541-2676 or www.thepopcornfactory.com); cookies and baked gifts from Cheryl's® (1-800-443-8124 or www.cheryls.com); premium chocolates and confections from Fannie May® (www.fanniemay.com and www.harrylondon.com); gift baskets and towers from 1-800- Baskets.com® (www.1800baskets.com); premium English muffins and other breakfast treats from Wolferman's® (1-800-999-1910 or www.wolfermans.com); carved fresh fruit arrangements from FruitBouquets.com (www.fruitbouquets.com); and top quality steaks and chops from Stock Yards® (www.stockyards.com). Shares in 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. are traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, ticker symbol: FLWS.

CONTACT: External Media Relations, IBM, Douglas Fraim, 617-501-6376, [email protected]

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/harry--david-embarks-on-cognitive-journey-with-ibm-watson-customer-engagement-300426374.html

SOURCE IBM

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