1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. began as a single floral shop in Manhattan in 1976 and, over time, built or acquired more than a dozen brands—creating an exciting destination for gifting and sharing. Arnold Leap, the company’s CIO, joined us for an episode of our Rise of the Data Cloud podcast to discuss how the cloud is allowing it to share data in innovative new ways.
In addition to its floral brand, 1-800-Flowers.com, the company operates many other brands including Harry & David, Cheryl’s Cookies, and PersonalizationMall.com (where people can order unique, personalized keepsakes). About three years ago, it transitioned to Snowflake’s platform to help make better use of the data it collects from those brands and to scale its data operations.
Many of the brands it now operates were acquired, and Leap explained how Snowflake helped 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. build a centralized, governed source of truth for all its transactional and customer data. That helps it better understand which services customers may want to use next and provide them with appropriate offers and other incentives.
Snowflake’s Data Cloud has also made it faster to ingest new data sources and put them to work. For example, for one of its recent acquisitions, Shari’s Berries, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. was able to import the new data to its Snowflake data lake and have it ready for use in just six hours, Leap said.
He also described the growing importance of third-party data. During the pandemic, the company wanted to assess the impact of changing infection rates on its business in local regions, to better predict supply and demand. Using Snowflake Data Marketplace, it was able to quickly access ready-to-consume data from Johns Hopkins University to conduct that local analysis.
Leap also provided insights into how a large company such as 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. uses the cloud to help deliver a consistent experience across all types of devices, from smartphones to tablets and PCs. It has built what it calls a “headless” commerce platform that allows it to decouple changes to its back-end services from the code running on end-user devices.
One result is that it can make updates and improvements to its services much more frequently without worrying about disruption to the end-user experience. The company has gone from updating its services on a quarterly basis a few years ago to being able to do so on a daily basis today, putting it on a par with the most innovative high-tech companies.
“We can release software about every 45 minutes if we need to,” Leap said.
Rise of the Data Cloud is a podcast hosted by award-winning author and journalist Steve Hamm. For each episode, he speaks with a data leader to learn how they leverage the cloud to manage, share, and analyze data to drive business growth, fuel innovation, and disrupt their industries. You can listen to more episodes here.