As with most things in life, the more convenient you can make buying flowers, the more likely you are to win the hearts of customers! We live in an increasingly screen-based society, and the busier life becomes, the harder it is to find time to squeeze in general errands. If you want to be in the flower business, starting an online store is one key way to stay ahead of the curve and secure space for yourself in the competitive UAE market.
While there are some shared characteristics with physical florists, an online florist has some important differences that you should take into consideration if you are interested in going down this pathway.
Choosing the right platform
Your online store will likely live or die by the platform you choose, as this is the only way your customers have to interact with you. Your entire reputation and presence in the world will come down to this site, so spend time and money investing in the right website that is intuitive and simple to use but one that fully displays your full range of services and merchandise.
You also need to make a site that is secure, easy-to-use and efficient. Customers are increasingly comfortable making payments online, but a reasonable degree of security checks and payment options are expected – this is for the convenience and security of both yourself and your customers. You want to be safeguarded from any attempt to hack or steal information, and therefore no expense should be spared on online security and website usability. If your customers find any weakness in your online portal, it is unlikely they will return, so ensure all the kinks are ironed out before you launch to the public.
From the field to the door
Logistics are interesting when it comes to an online store, as you will not have any physical space to actually house your merchandise. This has benefits and drawbacks; on the plus side, you can ensure the flowers are fresher for your customers and have a longer lifespan, as they do not need to stop off at an intermediate location. However, you will have to carefully select suppliers you trust and develop a fruitful working relationship with them, as you will not be able to inspect each order physically.
You will also need to make sure you choose a quality transportation company that has experience in delivering delicate goods. Flowers are extremely susceptible to temperature, and the soaring heat in the region means refrigerated vehicles are necessary for the logistics chain, as well as drivers and handlers who know how to treat the bouquets with care.
Another thing to be mindful of is timeliness; customers expect quick delivery times, and therefore you will need to have partners you can fully trust through the supply chain. Spend time in advance of launching your business to carefully hand-select the partners you can rely upon – at the end of the day if anything goes wrong anywhere along the road it will be your reputation on the line. Customer reviews are also much more likely to happen to online stores, so you must get things right at the outset to build up a desirable online profile.
The power in marketing the flower
Digital marketing and e-commerce are natural bedfellows and go hand-in-hand with one another. The beauty of online businesses is they lend themselves easily to being marketed through other digital channels, such as social media or review sites.
You should seek to craft a clear brand identity and message before launching online as once a reputation or brand is constructed, it can be very difficult to change. Future-proof yourself by creating an image that is likely to be able to move with the times. Cool, modern designs that display creativity will best resonate with online customers.
Once your brand was set, you can start pushing digital marketing. Think here about images and videos as this is the language of the online world – and there is much you can do to create an impact with industry as beautiful as flowers.
Don’t forget to use traditional media channels as well, such as newspaper, radio, billboard or television advertising, but push your key message: you are an online florist that can offer cutting edge service and products.
Allow us to help get you set up and registered and ready to spread flower power throughout the UAE!