Valentines Day Virtual Flowers

    February 14, 2008

1-800-Flowers has launched, a site that allows people to send virtual flowers to each other. The service is free for basic bouquets and up to $3 for enhanced bouquets.

I am 35, and starting to feel very out of touch. I can just imagine how my wife would react to virtual flowers. It reminds me of the guy in college who went around selling fake flower corsages (he claimed that his girlfriend never complained).

I am not a huge fan of 1-800-Flowers because of some things I know about the company and a presentation I heard from Jim McCann (their CEO) last year. That being said, this might actually work regardless of how dumb it initially sounds. Here are some reasons why.

1) On Facebook, people throw sheep at each other and give virtural gifts (some of which cost $1).
2) Even if no one ever buys the $3 bouquets, the site will provide a great branding tool and advertising medium for the core business.
3) This site could start a viral effect that could be leveraged in the core business.

Here are some reasons why this idea could easily fail:

1) The company and its CEO.
2) Competition. Anybody can throw up a site where people can send virtual flowers to each other. If you remember, Facebook $1 gifts got unpopular in a hurry once people started writing applications where people could send each other coffee, sheep and other ridiculous junk.

Maybe I am just old. Even if it works, it still sounds silly to me. Am I wrong?