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Last Update: Wednesday February 21, 2018

Key Idea: Deliver Value Pricing and Gold Service Online

Sue England is one of the top notch, hand-picked florists who is able to meet the high service standards set by PC Flowers.

Key Question:

A: 

Bill Tobin was the first florist on the web.  Even in those early days he knew that his prices needed to surprise customers and at the same time his service had to exceed expectations.

Search for more on the topic of sales and click on the question for more answers.

Think about it

How have you won customers and kept them coming back to your web site?

Clip from: PC Flowers & Gifts

Stamford, Connecticut:  Bill Tobin has always risen to a challenge. He's always been an entrepreneur. When FTD Florist told him to go away, he began looking to find a way to take over. He said, "I had to do it. I had to do it. Everybody said it couldn't be done. Everybody said, `It won't work.' "

When this episode of the show was taped, Bill Tobin was selling more flowers than any one person in the world. He started PC Flowers and Gifts in 1989 and by 1996 he had become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in cyberspace. Though he sold the business to Figis, he continues to leverage his knowledge with strategic cyber partners throughout the world.  
 
Among other things Bill established over 2,700 co-branded web sites. In 2000, Bill was awarded a patent for web co-branding protocols. 

PC Flowers & Gifts

Bill Tobin, Founder

134 Davenport Circle
Stamford, CT 06902

Visit our web site: http://www.figis.com/

Business Classification:
Internet Sales

Year Founded: 1989

Deliver Value Pricing and Gold Service Online

HATTIE: OK, and that's no matter what you're selling. You can sell pizza on a corner, it must be high quality, it must be instant, it must get that customer to come back.

BILL: It must be better than everyone else. And also, on the Internet and on interactive services, people are going to want better prices, because people are thinking, `Well, I'm going to give them this convenience through this interactive medium, and they're going to pay me a premium.' Wrong. They're going to say, `You don't have brick, you don't have mortar. You should be 30 percent cheaper than everyone else.' The Internet consumer is going to be very bright within the next year and start to demand significant price differences from those that are in the brick-and-mortar paradigm.

I'm asked over and over again, `Why have you made it and nobody else has?' And it's quite simple. PC Flowers & Gifts developed a technological infrastructure from the ground up for an interactive service only for a year prior to going live.

Number two: We developed probably one of the most comprehensive autoprocessing and customer service interactive networks that instantaneously we can have a database management program that tells us where it is, we can respond to the consumer electronically. And we have a 100 percent customer guarantee, no questions asked. If you, for instance, go into the traditional retail store and you place your order with him, he places the order into the Mercury Network and it goes to a florist by ZIP code anywhere there, no without any acknowledgement as to how good the guy is or whatever. We used 7 percent--the top 7 percent of the FTD membership.

HATTIE: Oh.

BILL: We don't...

HATTIE: You've already preselected the florists you're going to use.

BILL: We've preselected--we've eliminated 93 percent of the members. We use 7 percent.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) In the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, floral orders are delivered by England's in De Soto.

Have you noticed an increase in your business since PC Flowers & Gifts has used you as a supplier?

SUE ENGLAND (England's): Oh, yes, very definitely. He's made our--he's made our business over the--when times were hard, PC kept us alive. And it doesn't matter if it's going to be going 20 miles from here or 30 miles from here, if PC wants it, we're going to go s--directly there because we're going to be sure it gets delivered.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) The owner, Sue England, has been in business for 30 years and it is definitely a family affair.

Christy is--Quin, I just want you to stay with me. Christy is the daughter-in-law of the founder, and this is Christy's mother. Are we straight? In other words, Christy married Sue's son, and then Sue's--then Shirley came to work. And then we have Christy's daughters and--no, wait a minute. Oh, she's busy helping a customer.

SUE: Uh-huh. Natalie, could you come here for a moment?

HATTIE: And this is Lesley.

LINDSEY: Lindsey.

HATTIE: Lindsey. I'm sorry. And this is Lindsey and this is Natalie. So we have a woman-owned, a woman-run, three-generation business standing here in front of you.

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