Interflora: transforming 20 years of technology in nine months

Interflora has been a leader in the flower industry since 1920, first selling flowers virtually via telegrams. In 2019, Interflora identified that their ecommerce platform, built throughout the last 20 years, needed a refresh. We worked with them to select an appropriate architecture, a new technology suite and implement a design system. Along with our partners at Gradient Edge Interflora’s three ecommerce sites were re-platformed in just nine months.

The challenge

Interflora UK operates three consumer facing websites and a telesales operation. Two of these sites were based upon a custom-built Perl platform that was at end-of-life, and one site was on a Java based platform – they all needed to harmonise into a single platform.

The old, constrained architecture meant the associated hosting costs were very expensive maintaining year-round high availability to accommodate just 3 peak traffic spikes.

In addition to the tech requirements the Interflora team had several business requirements. These included:

  • Folding their internal designers & developers into the delivery of the transformation to make sure they could own the stack once live.
  • Helping up-skill the team on the different technology as it was delivered.
  • Creating a design system to accelerate future development

The plan

The initial thought was to adopt a DXP, however, the team realised to future-proof their customer experience ambitions they needed unfettered freedom on the front-end user experience and an ability to instantly serve multiple channels. After a discovery process it was clear a cloud-native composable architecture would mean they could rapidly adapt to any channel or device to best deliver the right customer experience.

During discovery, Profound also worked with the business teams to identify and design a compelling user experience (UX) through customer research. This formed the basis of the Design System, which drove visual design consistency and accelerated development time for all three sites. The customer insight then helped the business with a prioritisation of activities, enabling them to adopt an agile framework of delivery with confidence.

Profound, with co-partner Gradient Edge helped run technology selection exercises including running some POCs to validate choices. Aligning with the microservice-led architecture principles, the finalised tech stack included Gartner-rated leading platforms: Commercetools for eCommerce, Algolia for search, Amplience for the CMS and Pimberly for PIM. The team then got cracking on bringing these together in a mediation layer and building the front-end for the three new sites.

In parallel to the technical implementation, Profound then provided consultancy support for internal business change to help the team adapt to the new technologies and the enhanced capabilities and opportunities that the new platform would open up.

Value delivered

Profound, working with co-partner Gradient Edge and the team at Interflora, came together under an agile framework to launch all three sites in just 9 months from start to finish.  The project, delivered on time and in budget, has delivered a next-generation digital estate and a strong internal capability to evolve the platform. In particular, the business has seen the following improvements:

  • 20% reduction in annual hosting costs, moving from in house hosted solution to a SaaS offering
  • Ongoing new functionality delivered by SaaS vendors
  • Release frequency improved to fortnightly sprint releases
  • Ability to deploy key changes in hours (if necessary)
  • Ability to cope with increased site load
  • Ability to more easily launch and optimise campaigns

What the client said...

About the client

Interflora’s success story started with a simple idea. To make the sending of flowers across the miles not just possible but stylish too. That was way back in 1923. Today, Interflora have blossomed into the world’s largest flower delivery network, delivering to 140 countries across the globe. But it’s not just about being the biggest, Interflora are proud to be the most trusted too. Every day thousands choose Interflora to deliver messages of love to the people who matter to them the most. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the expertise of Interflora’s 900 local artisan florists in the UK and Ireland. It’s their passion, skill and creativity that make the Interflora difference. Every bouquet and arrangement is lovingly hand-crafted and delivered with a smile. After all, when you’re in the business of spreading happiness, nothing matters more.


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