- 1-800-Flowers.com, the flower provider whose sales grew 2.2% to $239.5 million in Q4 2017 from a year earlier, now lets customers order through Google Assistant, according to a company news post. Shoppers can specify same-day delivery or schedule gift arrival for a future date.
- A list of gift categories lets on-the-go shoppers select and place orders for flowers and other products for delivery nationwide via voice tech on some Android and iPhone models.
- The Google Assistant capability follows other initiatives by the company, including an online gift concierge called GWYN (gifts when you need) that's powered by IBM's Watson artificial intelligence. The company also lets people order through a chatbot on Facebook Messenger and a voice-enabled skill on Amazon Alexa.
1-800-Flowers is among the companies that have been early adopters of tech developments since the internet was commercialized in the mid-'90s. The company was swept up in the dot-com hype to where its stock never surpassed the price it reached in 1999, but by embracing emerging technology early on, as it is now with voice ordering, it's been able to stay afloat while other e-commerce companies have struggled to compete with giants like Amazon.
Google continues to roll out its voice assistant on more devices. Although it was made available on Android a year ago, the company added it as an app on Google Play on Oct. 4. Google Assistant will be the central AI technology that threads together the company's growing variety of devices, including mobile phones, laptop computers, smart speakers and parent company Alphabet's Nest brand of smart home products.
For marketers, the greater presence of Google Assistant — and its competitors like Amazon Alexa — in the home open up new channels to reach consumers directly during their day-to-day routines. Being able to simply speak a command to order flowers, for example, is an intuitive process that removes a ton of friction from the path to purchase.
Google this week introduced its second-generation of hardware products including the Google Home Max, a larger version of its smart speaker that is designed to compete against Apple's HomePod, Sonos speakers and Amazon's Echo. Google also said voice commands for music streaming service Spotify will be fully supported on Google Assistant within the coming weeks, The Verge reported. Spotify used to be limited to voice commands on Google Home but now those commands will be available on a smartphone.