Imagine an era in which customers place an order by speaking a few words to an artificial intelligence (AI) agent, or send a short chat message to a chatbot to quickly solve a customer service issue without the need for human interaction. This era is upon us, as the conversational commerce revolution has produced new, exciting ways for brands like 1-800-Flowers.com, Harry & David, Fannie May and The Popcorn Factory to use cognitive computing systems and AI to interact with consumers seamlessly and naturally.

Conversational commerce is the ability to interact with a business through messaging and other natural language interfaces to improve interactions between people, brands and chatbots in a way that is more natural.

At 1-800-Flowers.com we saw the potential of conversational commerce and became an early adopter through initiatives such as Gwyn, our AI-fueled online gifting concierge powered by IBM Corp.’s Watson, and bots that operate on Facebook Inc.’s Messenger messaging app, which we’ve leveraged as an automated transactional channel and customer service tool. Furthermore, we became the first online retailer to incorporate the ease of voice-enabled floral gifting through Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa.

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