1-800-Flowers.com (FLWS - Get Report) will sell more than 11 million stems this Mother's Day, including more than 5.4 million roses. And this time around it will be getting help from Facebook (FB - Get Report) , Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and a special friend named "GWYN" to make mom happy, said Christopher McCann, president of 1-800-Flowers.com.
Earlier this week, 1-800-Flowers.com launched a beta version of GWYN, an artificial intelligence-powered online shopping experience. According to McCann, GWYN is powered by IBM (IBM - Get Report) Watson to "identify the perfect gift" from one of 1-800-Flowers.com's food or flower brands, including Harry & David, Cheryl's cookies, Fannie May chocolates, the Popcorn Factory and 1-800-Baskets.com.
According to McCann, a customer might type "I'm looking for a gift for my mother" on mobile or desktop. GWYN will be able to interpret their words and ask a number of qualifying questions about the occasion, sentiment and gift recipient to make an appropriate gift suggestion for each customer.
GWYN is just one of the technology initiatives that 1-800-Flowers.com designed to enhance the customer experience. Last month, the company introduced the ability for customers to order floral gifts through Amazon's Alexa as well as Facebook Messenger.
With Amazon Alexa, customers say "Alexa, ask 1-800-Flowers.com to order a dozen roses." 1-800-Flowers.com will process the order and arrange for delivery.
Similarly, 1-800-Flowers.com built a bot for Facebook Messenger which interacts with customers using so-called natural language. The company said it is blending its bot and live customer service support on Messenger to serve as "gift concierges" and answer questions, make gift suggestions, process orders and send shipping updates.