The social network has never become the online shopping emporium once predicted. Will its most ambitious strategy yet change all that?

Technology has been good to 1-800-Flowers. The company has long pioneered new ways of retailing, a toll-free number, direct sales via the internet. So when, in 2009, it opened its online store on Facebook the company was expecting another tech-based success. Like many others they found Facebook was a tough sell.

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