Gift baskets on display for sale at the Harry & David Country Village in Medford. [Mail Tribune / Andy Atkinson]

Harry & David website gets a makeover

Even when you're among the best at what you do, there might be room for improvement.

Such was the case when Harry & David revamped its website and ordering system — its most comprehensive update in years — to make things more convenient for customers.

"We haven't made updates or enhancements to the Harry & David classic website since before acquired us," said Harry & David President Steve Lightman. "We've identified a lot of things to make it cool, innovative changes that would really make our customers go, 'Wow.' "

The man behind the overhaul is Oscar Castro, vice president for e-commerce marketing, who joined the operation last winter.

"We had great technology to leverage Harry & David through (1-800's) multi-brand portal, and that put us on really solid footing to begin with," Castro said. "The challenge for us came in testing and learning how we needed to refresh the look and feel of our site. We started with the home page, the face of our brand."

The home page redesign demonstrates the breadth of assortment, showcasing everyday gifting.

"We wanted to make sure we were highlighting the gorgeous product we sell through a full-screen image," Castro said.

At the same time, Harry & David wanted to avoid disrupting the flow from longtime customers. Sliders, bearing sales messages, moved on right before people finished reading the panel.

"We started addressing things like that," Castro said. "We wanted to develop an easy-to-shop experience, whether someone was using a mobile or desktop device."

The new site has a shop-by-category feature, rather than depending on links. So the entire product assortment, from gift baskets, towers, chocolates and sweets to fruit, wine and bakery goods are much easier to pull up.

The digital enhancements still haven't displaced catalog activity, Lightman said.

"Our core customer demographic still needs the catalog to remind them to place an order, even though a significant number of those customers actually place orders online," he said.

Thinner catalogs contain some pictures and examples of basket contents, but the details are found on the website.

One of the goals, Castro said, is for customers to use catalogs in tandem with the website.

"It makes it easier for them if they are looking at a catalog," he said.

Call-center duties have changed, as well. More customers use chat-box options, rather than calling.

"If we have 1,000 people in the center, 250 might be talking on live chat," Lightman said. "We can handle more customers in that form."

The company has added mobile payment methods using Apple Pay and Paypal.

Through direct interaction with customers and evaluating analytical data, Castro's staff incrementally tweaked the system over a period of months.

"We've taken an iteration approach," Castro said. "We looked at the biggest pain point. We had the opportunity to do a better job of showing off the product, helping people find the product more quickly, and getting through the transaction more efficiently.

"The cool thing about working in digital space is that you're never done. There are always new technologies, but I feel good about the changes we've made for the holiday season."

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter at or

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