Great prices helped Hallmark rank No. 1 in the Flowers category of the first ever Forrester PowerRankings today announced by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). Forrester PowerRankings combine survey data from online consumers, rigorous shopping experience tests, and unbiased expert analysis to provide objective rankings of the leading eCommerce sites. Following Hallmark in the Flowers category was FTD,1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Internet Florist, and PC Flowers & Gifts.

In addition to Hallmark’s low prices, both superior customer service and reliable delivery pushed the gift giant ahead of the competition. Its colorful site and vast product selection, however, are closely matched by FTD, which ranked second for cost, customer service, delivery, and usability. Running a close second, FTD delivers a personalized experience, including extensive reminder services and an automated address book.

“Competitive pricing is only one component to the success of online retailers, which propelled Hallmark into the leadership position,” said James L. McQuivey, senior analyst at Forrester. “Cost aside, the competition hasn’t been able to challenge the shopping experience provided by Hallmark and FTD. Consumers turn to the brands they know and trust rather than deal with difficult purchases, substandard customer service, and unreliable delivery.”

Although a distant third, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM ranked second in the features area, it offers a shopping basket and a personal assistant, as well as a gift center offering specialty items. Despite these features, consumers have to struggle through difficult purchasing processes and unreliable delivery services. With the exception of features, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM’s scores were average across the board, including cost, customer service, delivery, transacting, and usability.

Internet Florist received average marks for pricing, but it was penalized for both poor customer service and ease-of-use. Online flower veteran PC Flowers & Gifts placed last due to high shipping costs and inadequate customer service.

Forrester PowerRankings use consumer survey data from Greenfield Online’s 400,000-person online panel to identify the most popular eCommerce sites. The online shopping experience for each of these sites is then evaluated by a team of Forrester shoppers who perform a series of rigorous tests in eight areas. The Forrester shoppers’ experience and the consumer data are then synthesized to generate an overall PowerRanking.

Forrester PowerRankings are currently available for online brokerages and seven major retail categories: Apparel; Books, Music, & Video; Computing; General Merchandise; Health; Flowers; and Toys & Games. Forrester plans to add more categories to PowerRankings in the weeks ahead. Additional information about each of the categories, including a complete set of rankings and scores, can be found at the PowerRankings Web site —