The Internet has changed the landscape of commerce for all small businesses, not just local florists. Gone are the days when every local mall had a bookstore where you can walk in and browse the selection of classic novels. As of 2012, more books were purchased online than large retail chains, independent bookstores, other mass merchandisers and supermarkets combined.
So how do local florists keep pace with the online trend? The secret to successfully selling flowers online might be simpler than you think:
- Take better pictures
- Build your online reviews
- Find free marketing tools.
Picture quality might be the single biggest deterrent to taking advantage of the growing online trend. Florists need to take the experience of walking into their flower shop and replicating it online. Taking great pictures isn't difficult and all you need is a quality digital camera or new age smart phone and lots of practice. When taking pictures, stick to natural light as flash often deadens and flattens photos. Make sure the bouquet is centered in your picture frame and close enough to capture important details. Avoid background noise that might distract the potential flower buyer from focusing on the bouquet at hand. Lastly, you might want to use a photo-editing tool such as Google’s Picasa to crop and enhance the picture quality.
Transactional commerce is not the only major shift to the virtual world; social networks and online review platforms have replaced conventional word of mouth. Yelp, the social online review system, launched in February of 2005. As of 2011, Yelp had already accrued its 20 millionth online review. Your online reviews are now as important as your local reputation. Give you customer’s incentive to post online reviews by offering promotions such as free delivery on their next purchase. The Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) showed that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so make sure your flower shop takes advantage.
Now that you have great pictures and a glowing base of online reviews, how do you get discovered? There are many free marketing tools available to make selling flowers online a breeze. One example is BloomNation.com, an online marketplace that connects local florists with savvy flower lovers. Darryl Wiseman, owner of Darryl Wiseman Flowers, has completely embraced sites like BloomNation. “I was struggling to get online sales before I discovered Yelp, Facebook and BloomNation,” Wiseman said. “Now more than 50% of my business comes in online and I expect this to keep rising.”