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Case Study

Becoming An AI First Organization: The 1-800-Flowers Journey

E-commerce is the new normal for many consumers, never more so than in these times of quarantine and social distancing. As an alternative for the traditional brick-and-mortar storefront, online purchasing has spent the last couple of decades transforming the retail marketplace.

The digital approach allows organizations to cater to the specific needs of every customer and optimize their experience at every step of the way by using AI and deep learning. Leveraging deep learning on all aspects of the business process and customer experience has catapulted the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft to the trillion-dollar-plus valuations. 

There is little doubt that organizations that take an AI-first approach will not only provide great customer experience but can also grow their revenue far more rapidly than competitors.                                      

1-800-Flowers.com evolved from a phone-based ordering service in the 1990s into the premier e-commerce company that it is today. Providing delivery of floral arrangements, gourmet foods, and other gift items, they’ve cultivated a huge share of the market with over a dozen subsidiaries.

This success story is ongoing. Rather than rest on their laurels, 1-800-Flowers.com has continued refining its approach to addressing their customers’ needs and perfecting the customer experience. Enter Artificial Intelligence.

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There are several key areas that AI can help retailers like 1-800-Flowers.com tackle, among them personalized recommendations, email personalization and promotions, churn reduction, and fraud detection. However, building and deploying deep learning models in production is expensive and takes a large cross-functional team and a number of years.

In an effort to quickly utilize the benefits of AI without building out a large team, 1-800-Flowers.com is using Abacus.AI. Utilizing the plug-and-play platform developed by Abacus, the 1-800-Flowers.com team is able to deploy cutting-edge deep learning models to optimize all aspects of the customer experience within weeks. 

Abacus.AI’s expert AI engine finds the right neural network architecture based on 1-800-Flowers.com’s datasets and use-cases. It then autonomously sets up all the model infrastructure components required to deploy the model in production, re-train, model, and scale it based on prediction requests. Their unique service allows Flowers to deploy multiple deep learning systems into production without needing a large internal team. 

By doing the heavy lifting when it comes to model training, Abacus.AI helps the 1-800-Flowers.com developers and data-scientists with multiple use-cases including recommendation, re-ranking, and search and email personalization. The result is an e-commerce flow individually catered to each customer. At each turn in the experience, the customer is presented with items tailored to their interests and needs by a highly trained AI model.

Amit Shah, CMO of 1-800-Flowers.com says “Abacus.AI’s service empowers all our developers and data scientists to rapidly create powerful deep learning models at scale, in production. We can optimize all aspects of our user experience including personalizing emails, predictive churn, and providing contextual real-time recommendations. This translates a lift in both user-engagement and revenue.”

1-800-Flowers.com is beginning to adopt an AI-first approach to all aspects of their business process, thus enabling them to deliver flowers at scale across the country and grow their business while optimizing every customer’s experience. Like them, organizations that adopt AI first will emerge as winners over time.

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