As many of our loyal readers know, ScanMyPhotos.com regularly makes news for innovative marketing and customer narratives. Internet Retailer Magazine, the largest monthly magazine in e-retailing with 44,000 subscribers is edited to cover strategies and practices that produce success in e-retailing. They profiled the newest ScanMyPhotos.com marketing strategy of curtailing all advertising and replacing it with surprizing photo scanning customers with flowers from 1-800-Flowers.
Sometimes, to get a referral, either through social media or through consumers telling their friends, a retailer has to be bold. Take ScanMyPhotos.com, a service that sends customers a prepaid shipping box that they fill with photos they want the retailer to digitize. It sends flowers to some customers to celebrate their life events with them. The idea to send flowers is rooted in the company’s business—in many cases, customers want to use these photos for a special event such as a wedding, a memorial service or a special anniversary. After experimenting with sending flowers to commemorate those events, ScanMyPhotos CEO Mitch Goldstone found the flowers drew in more customers. For every arrangement Goldstone’s company sends out—it orders the flower arrangements from 1-800-Flowers.com Inc.—it gets about seven new customers, which results in roughly $1,250 of new business. That’s a big return on an average investment of $80 for flowers. That’s why ScanMyPhotos.com employees nominate several customers a week based on which customers’ photos tell touching stories to be sent flowers or a gift basket for their special occasions. ScanMyPhotos asks customers at checkout if someone referred them to the site, so it knows raving fans are doing their work. The initiative has been so successful, Goldstone says, that ScanMyPhotos stopped spending money on all other advertising and marketing. Press releases and paid ads weren’t generating nearly as much revenue or converting as many customers. Moreover, the unusual approach has attracted media attention from the likes of USA Today simply via word of mouth. “Using flowers to make people smile parallels our business model of creating nostalgic photo memories,” Goldstone says. “Both equally generate warm emotions, are easy to order and immediately amplify the best kind of genuine word-of-mouth marketing.”