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1-800-Flowers creates ‘chatbot’ for Facebook ordering Inc., a Carle Place-based online florist and Inc., a Carle Place-based online florist and gift company, will allow customers to order floral gifts through Facebook Messenger. Photo Credit: Facebook/1-800-Flowers Inc. has teamed with Facebook to allow customers to order floral and food gifts through the Facebook Messenger chat service.

The Carle Place-based online florist and gift company has built a “chatbot” for Facebook Messenger — an intelligent software program that can interact with customers placing orders in conversational language.

1-800-Flowers on Messenger blends the bot and live customer service support to serve as “gift concierges” and answer questions, make gift suggestions, process orders, send shipping updates, and provide gift reminders, the company said Tuesday.

1-800-Flowers brands include gift baskets from Harry & David, specialty treats from The Popcorn Factory, baked goods from Cheryl’s, and chocolates from Fannie May.

“Always keeping our finger on the pulse of new and emerging technologies, we are continuously introducing new innovations to help our customers deliver a smile to the important people in their lives,” 1-800-Flowers president Chris McCann said in a statement, adding the company was the first to open an online store within Facebook.

“We are excited to team with Facebook to offer bots for Messenger, ultimately taking our customer experience to a new level,” he said.

At Facebook’s annual conference for its software developers in San Francisco on Tuesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new tool that businesses can use to build the chatbots.

“We think you should just be able to message a business the same way that you message a friend,” Zuckerberg said, noting many people hate the experience of calling businesses on the phone.

Facebook users will also be able to use Messenger to order from Staples and Spring, an e-commerce shopping site. CNN will also be launching its own chatbot to give news updates through Messenger.

with the Associated Press

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