1-800-Flowers debuts social support group portal

Dive Brief:

  • 1-800-Flowers launched a new online community, called Connection Communities​, designed to help people find support during difficult times, according to a press release shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The peer-to-peer support portal uses the self-care platform Wisdo to help people connect and offer guidance to others who are in similar situations. Support categories include: relationship advice, motherhood, caregiving, coping with loss, loneliness, coronavirus-related anxiety, strategies to boost happiness and practicing self-care.
  • Consumers can enter a community and share whether they’re experiencing the issue now or if they have previously and then enter a message board to connect with others. The community is available on the brand’s mobile, tablet and desktop websites for free for six months.

Dive Insight:

The United Nations has warned of a pending mental illness crisis as millions of people around the world are experiencing disease, isolation, poverty and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With its new support portal, 1-800-Flowers is hoping to ease the stresses caused by the health crisis by offering consumers a safe virtual space to communicate with others who have or are experiencing similar mental health challenges.

“In a time when it’s more important than ever to be connected with one another, we are pleased to introduce this valuable resource to help our customers express themselves, share with others and connect in new ways,” CEO Chris McCann said in a statement.

While the support offering isn’t focused on e-commerce or flowers, the platform is very on-brand for the direct-to-consumer vendor, as flowers are generally exchanged at times of crisis to help lift moods and cheer people up. It comes as flower stores in some states are beginning to reopen with curbside pickup after the flower industry has faced its own COVID-19-related hardships like store closures, reduced staffing and growing/distribution challenges.

The launch comes right after Mother’s Day, often the largest annual sales day for flowers. McCann told Business Insider that in the period leading up to the May holiday, florist partners saw a big uptick in spending. The National Retail Federation anticipated an increase in year-over-year flower sales for this year’s holiday to $2.1 billion.

The new community platform seems to be a way to help keep flowers top-of-mind as people try to connect online around areas where they might need support. This gives 1-800-Flowers an opportunity to build enduring loyalty with consumers once the health crisis subsides. The importance of building loyalty during the pandemic — even if purchasing isn’t on their minds — is reflected in a recent study from MWWPR and Lucid showing that 83% of consumers said behavior by a company’s leadership during the outbreak will influence whether they buy from that company after the global health crisis relaxes.

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