Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Real Flower for virtual pals

As people are stockpiling online friends and contacts through social
networks, it makes sense to let them be as giving to their online
friends as to their offline buddies. Online flower store Social Flowers
spotted a business opportunity, and has created a way for consumers to
send flowers to their Facebook friends without having to ask for their
personal details. How it works? Users install the Social Flowers
Facebook application, select a recipient from their friends list, pick
a floral gift and pay. Social Flowers then sends the recipient an email
and a Facebook notification requesting their address, and the flowers
are delivered by one of 30,000 local florists in the US and Canada.

Social Flowers aims to extend its service to other social networks
as soon as possible. Meanwhile, other retailers should jump on the
potential for integrating all kinds of gift giving. A notification of a
friend's birthday on Facebook could be accompanied by a retailer's
special offer for sending chocolates, for example. Or suitors
might want to send a bouquet to a virtual paramour. Books for contacts
on LinkedIn, photo prints for Flickr friends, etc. One to pursue if
you're in online retail! Key points to keep in mind: ensure both
parties' personal information is safe and secure, and respect the
community—don't peddle your wares aggressively, just make it easy for
consumers to show the same kind of appreciation for their online
friends as they already do for people they know offline.



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