2005 was a milestone for FarEastFlora.com--the company created significant buzz in the industry for its use of technology particularly in the areas of sales and product development. The company collaborated with Hewlett-Packard to successfully develop a suitable printing technique that allows full color images to be displayed on rose petals.
The partnership gave birth to the Flower Memo, believed to be the first of its kind in the world. Customers can pen messages and have them printed directly onto flowers. They can also personalize roses with handwritten messages using tablet PCs.
The new technology was well-received by customers. Within three months of the launch, FarEastFlora.com broke even its product development investments with the income derived from the flower sales of the unique Flower Memo service. Sales volumes were also boosted on average by 11 percent, more than double the targeted 5 percent.
During the same period, FarEastFlora.com also shook up the Singapore floral scene with its introduction of mobile commerce. The partnership with Singapore-based telco StarHub allows I-mode subscribers to order flowers using their mobile phones. This not only raised sales volumes but also enhanced its brand appeal to the younger, tech-savvy generation.
On the business front, CRM (customer relationship management) software has been a very effective tool for FarEastFlora.com. From retrieval of customer data for repeat bookings to order tracking and sending out of electronic direct mailers, the system offers not only customer convenience but also boosts employee productivity.
For its exemplary use of IT to impact the business, FarEastFlora.com also put claim to ZDNet Asia's SMB of the Year.
Winning the Smart50 award is not only testimony to FarEastFlora.com's pivotal use of IT to grow the business, but will also spur the company to make greater use of technology, noted Chioh. "This is one of the highest accolades that we have received from an IT perspective and the whole company is just thrilled!" he said, adding that there were "jumping jacks" in the office when he told his staff the good news.