As CEO of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM Inc., Chris McCann is charged with fulfilling the company’s mission of delivering smiles. “To me, it doesn’t get any better than that,” he says. McCann ended up in the floral business by accident, foregoing law school to work in his brother Jim’s flower shop in the ‘80s. Since then, he has helped build the company into one of the nation’s leading omnichannel gift retailers and embrace emerging technologies and social trends; 1-800-FLOWERS.COM launched a chat bot over Facebook messenger, ordering over Amazon’s Alexa and the first-ever online gift concierge, powered by IBM Watson.
“I was captivated by the industry early on, and it’s been an amazing journey from storefront to telephone ordering to ecommerce, mobile commerce and now conversational commerce and artificial intelligence.” These days, McCann is “obsessed” with the technological advances taking place in retail and encourages his team to take risks that can help the company grow. When he advises those entering the industry, he reminds them to build relationships first, and business second. “Not only with the customer,” he says, “but with your employees.”