By Drew Ianni
March 3, 2021

 

Post-Pandemic, People Feel a “Duality of State”

“Our confidence as a community is rising and there is less fear,” said Amit Shah, president of 1-800-FLOWERS at the recent CDX Accelerate conference. “But I think there is still a strong undercurrent of enormous cognitive load and stress on the part of customers, employees and all of our stakeholders.” Speaking with CDX Founder Drew Ianni, Shah called that dichotomy a “duality of state.”

His digitally-savvy company has long been expert at dissecting consumer attitudes, so Shah is worth listening to. He believes we are seeing an acceleration of consumer engagement even as people feel a hunger for more personal expression. As for the company, he said it is well-positioned to build great consumer experiences as its customer journey has always been “built around expression, connection, and celebration.” Shah also believes the pandemic has led to certain dualities. Here’s another one he mentioned: “If you think about it, the six feet apart – the physical distancing – has, paradoxically, made us a little bit closer together.” What he means is that we’ve come closer to our most intimate relations and friends even as we stand a bit apart from the world.

The Future Competitive Landscape

Shah also believes the nature of business competition is evolving. “It is no longer enough to say that the company is just in the gifting space or we’re an commerce company, or we’re in retail, and that our set of competitors are the ‘known known’,”, Shah said. He sees inroads being made by newer startups who are “trying to dip into that customer” because those people have become more digitally savvy. He gave the example of DoorDash, which recently went public in a splashy IPO. “Now you have a lot more competition, right?” he explained. “So how do you set that customer expectation around delivery outcomes?…Innovation then becomes your way to keep ahead of non-apparent competitors.” Turning back to 1-800-FLOWERS, Shah said “We spend a lot of time not just thinking about customer facing innovation, but how are we innovating through our supply chain and through all of our stakeholders?”

Check out the full video below to hear more from Shah on the future of building a culture of innovation, the “three Cs”of marketing, and how he stays informed.

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