Delivering smiles and sparking innovation at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
Chief Technology Officer, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
Editor’s note: In honor of Mother’s Day, we look at how 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. migrated to Google Cloud as part of its digital transformation to quickly deploy seamless and convenient customer experiences across multiple brands on Mother’s Day and every day.
As a leading provider of gifts designed to help customers express, connect, and celebrate, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. has embraced cloud technologies to grow and transform its business through constant innovation. As part of our digital transformation, we recently completed the migration of our ecommerce platform and other services to Google Cloud. We’ve transitioned from a monolithic to a microservices platform, moved many workloads from our on-premises data centers to our Google Cloud environment, and scaled both horizontally and vertically.
Since our migration, we’ve developed efficient processes to launch new brands, improved the customer experience across all brands, and seen significantly increased site traffic.
Nurturing a more delightful customer journey
Customer delight is at the core of everything we do. Whether it be with a flower bouquet, a sweet treat, or a personalized keepsake, our mission is to deliver smiles. With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all been challenged to find unique and safe ways to continue honoring the special connections in our lives and celebrating occasions with loved ones. Our customers have adapted by doing things such as sending gifts to isolated loved ones, sharing the same meal together virtually, or using video to engage with others through group activities like flower arranging and building charcuterie boards.
The customer experience is a top priority for us, and we constantly look for innovative ways to enhance the customer journey across our ecommerce platform of more than a dozen brands. As a result, we’ve continued to see a rise in demand as customers enjoy the ease and convenience of our site and discover our full family of brands.
Migrating to a cloud-first mindset
As we’ve continued to innovate and iterate on the customer experience, we knew we wanted to evolve our platform. We wanted to shift to a microservices platform, which would allow our team the opportunity to release updates to our site more often and set up the right continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices.
Working with Google Cloud, we were able to move our ecommerce platform to the cloud and standardize our site and brand deployment by building one release that could then be repeated across all of our brands. We built everything in a modular fashion, including microservices and code libraries, so that sites could be easily constructed and replicated for each brand. And because of this, we were able to launch Shari's Berries extremely quickly after we acquired the brand in 2019.
Moving our platform to a completely homegrown solution of microservices was a daunting task. But our team handled it beautifully through load-testing, stress-testing, and building new monitoring tools. And with Google Cloud supporting us all along the way, managing the migration process was simple and easy from start to finish.
Arranging a better bouquet of services
Currently, we’ve migrated every customer-facing touchpoint for all of our brands to Google Cloud—whether it’s on the web or mobile, our AI bots, or our chat interfaces.
We have nearly 200 microservices built to help power our entire ecommerce stack across several cloud services running on Google Cloud.
We’re utilizing BigQuery for our offline intelligence.
Results are coming up roses
Our new stack on Google Cloud has benefits for both us and our customers. We moved from a session-based to a token-based system, which provides enhanced security as well as a consistent, convenient experience across all our brands. Using service workers and a single-page app, we are able to download all the relevant site content to the browser in under two seconds to create an instant-click experience for each and every customer. We also use Google Analytics to measure our user interactions and provide personalized results to each customer. Our hope is that with this new system, we can learn from customer behavior to offer gift givers a more personalized shopping experience during each visit.
The benefits of our new tech stack have not only helped us enhance the solutions we offer to customers today, they’ve also enabled us to offer new ones at lightning speed. With our legacy system, we used to release new code once a week or once a month. Now, even during our peak periods, we’re able to release 10 to 15 times a day and can deploy and pivot quickly to create new microservices and microsites on the fly—often without having to touch any code.
The benefits of moving our platform to Google Cloud have extended to our internal teams as well. Before the migration, we had only two environments for developing and testing, which made it time-consuming to test updates before they went into production. Now with Google Cloud, we have several different journey teams—which are made up of developers, product owners, and technical owners—all working in several different environments, solving problems, and creating new solutions together.
Everyone is now empowered to be self-sufficient, developing and releasing microservices on their own when they’re ready. This has given our developers more time to take part in continued development and learning opportunities. For example, we offer lunch-and-learn sessions as well as other resources for everyone to take advantage of so they can continue to learn and refine their skills.
Planting the seeds for future growth
As we look to the future and think about how we help our customers express, connect, and celebrate, we’ll continue to collaborate across teams to deliver solutions that spread smiles. Specifically, we’re exploring additional use of AI to help us better serve our customers across all our brands.
We’ve enjoyed the ongoing support we’ve received from the Google Cloud team as they help us build new solutions and design a road map for the future. Their support has helped the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. team to realize the power of the cloud and bring the very best experience to our customers.