One of the things that we at Flower Store in a Box spend a lot of time doing is thinking about not just the technical side of ordering online but also the user experience of how people buy flowers online. We also spend a lot of time thinking about the whole customer journey and Customer Lifecycle.
Traditionally many customers buying flowers online have little to no loyalty as their purchasing of flowers is so sporadic that they don’t even remember where they purchased the next time they need to purchase flowers.
My own family and friends call me to ask for the name of a florist every time they order!
Some consumers might bookmark or remember the site that they last used, but there are many reasons that the next time they need flowers they may not use the last florist. This might be: because they:
- Have a Different Delivery Location
- Had a Bad Experience
- Doesn’t Remember the last florist
So how do we improve the customer journey and get a better loyalty for online florists?
I think the key here is communication and there are a lot of opportunities.
What is the Customer Journey?
The customer journey is the complete experience (or experiences) a customer goes through as they interact and then buy from you. In our simplified model we have four main phases of the journey:
Where a customer discovers your brand or your products through a variety of sources such as web search, passive advertising (radio for example) or other media.
This is the phase where the customer interacts with you prior and to the point of purchasing from you.
This is the phase where their floral order is made and delivered to the recipient. There are opportunities here for communication and extra touch points for floristry customers as this is a non traditional delivery model as the consumer doesn’t see the actual product often
This is the phase that is so often ignored or done poorly by florists where a one times customer becomes a long time customer! And here is where some real opportunities are for increasing the communication and touchpoints.
A standard Customer Journey for an online florist customer might look like this:
· Confirmation Email
· Email Notification Delivered
· Generic e-Mail marketing
But what is we added in more touch points and more communication opportunities?
· Exit Intent Popups
· Abandoned Cart Reminders
· Personalized Offers
· Personal greetings
· Confirmation Email
· Email Notifications
· -on route
· SMS Notifications
· -on route
Chatbots for order enquiries
· Review Email Request
· If they didn’t join an offer or incentive to join
· Offer to remember the event the customer sent flowers for
· Reminder they have credit to use in their account
Of course the these still represent quite linear customer journeys and not all customer journeys are actually straight forward or as linear as this.
In fact many floral customer journeys may be quite haphazard starting on one device like a smart phone and then ending up on a tablet or a desktop computer to complete the order.
Online Flower Sales are Time Critical
We do know that because people are looking to send flowers for a specific date the actual window of opportunity is very small.
In other ecommerce situations someone might spend time researching and comparing offers from one website or brand to the next. This can happen over days and sometimes even weeks. Things like short and long lead times for cart Abandonment emails, are you still interested in such and such a products all work exceptionally well.
For people searching to send flowers for a Birth or a Death the timing is critical. Sending A cart Abandonment email to a customer 2 or 3 days after the event is irrelevant.
Just like setting up Re-marketing campaigns for normal online florist sales is a waste of money and time to get the sale.
So where can we improve the customer journey?
The first thing we can do is work on the sales encouragement in the Transaction Phase. You want to be able to identify your customer if you can so you can market to them in the short time critical sales period.
Offers such as:
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If the customer adds something to the cart you now know about it. If they don’t then checkout within an hour send them a cart abandonment email.
“Don’t Miss out on XXX Flowers”
If the customer has filled in the checkout but hasn’t purchased send them an email and encourage them to purchase still.
“Do you still need to send flowers to XXX?”
Be personal in the interactions with them if you know their name use it!
Cart Abandonment emails are proven to increase sales, but they have to be timed perfectly within that sweet spot for florists. They can also help with people moving from one device to another.
For example the customer may have done their initial research on their smart phone on the way into the office on the train, but finished the transaction on their work computer.
A thought here about profiling customers
Often florists try to segment their customers into those who are sending gifts and this who are buying for corporate gifts or offices.
The problem with this segmentation is that quite often the two segments collide. The customer who has great experiences with sending flowers to corporate customers may also then remember to use you to send flowers as a gift to someone.
But they are likely to have two different logins for your website!
Back to the transaction phase though, and once you know who a customer is you can start to be much more intelligent in your offers to the customers.
If a customer has ordered a couple of times from your website, what if you offered them a variable discount based on how many orders or the total value spent IE:
as a valued customer who has ordered 4 times use this code to get an ADDITIONAL 15% off this order.
You should however not try to personalize on the location of the flowers to be sent as you don’t know this until they explicitly tell you. On the other side if the customer does tell you where they want to send their flowers you can then personalize their experience with:
- Same day Cut off Messages tailored to them
- Only show products which are available to be delivered to the location
You can also show them the last few products they viewed to help them navigate your website.
Chatbots and Artificial Intelligent Agents
One of the biggest innovations at the moment in online sales are the chatbots and intelligent agents.
A lot of simple questions can get answered by an Chatbot like:
- What time do you close today?
- Do you deliver to Sydney
- Can I still get a delivery to Sydney today?
- How much is delivery cost?
Then if the chatbot doesn’t or can’t answer the question it then gets sent to a real person. For a small florist this may not be entirely practical, but Facebook Messenger is now offering many different types of integrations for websites.
All of this can improve the sales conversion rates in the transaction phase of the customer journey.
Delivery Phase Ideas
To be honest this phase is probably where almost all florists fall down and significant improvements can be made.
The vast majority of online orders for florists are being gifted to someone other than the person buying the flowers. This means in main the actual customer has no idea if and when the flowers are delivered until the recipient says something.
So change this and start communicating much more!
If you buy a pizza from Dominoes you can see on your app the status the pizza being made and then the delivery progress. Same with almost all of the on demand food delivery companies.
Customers want to know that their order is being made and delivered to the recipient.
Communication at each phase of this process is vital!
Even small florists can keep the customer up to date at each step of the interaction:
- Order Received
- Order Printed
- Order Made, Assembled or picked and packed (you can even take a picture and send to the customer)
- Order Picked Up
- Order Delivered
You can set this by email or SMS notifications to the customer.
It’s not just active push notifications either. If the customer comes back to the site during the delivery period it usually means they are seeking information:
- Track My Order
- Change Order Details
- Cancel Order
You can assist them this through a chatbot or you can encourage them to call you for details. Not all customers are in your time zone or want or can call you so give them multiple ways of communicating.
You also need to be clear and concise about your policies so they know what they can and cannot do IE Cancel an order that’s out for delivery and expect a refund.
You might be reading this part of communicating and thinking it’s all too much or too difficult to achieve.
It’s not though, all you have to do is use the Workflow in your Flower Store In a Box dashboard and change the status of the order and you can have emails automatically sent!
How to improve Loyalty for Florist Site Customer Journeys
Probably the single biggest phase of the customer journey that is overlooked is the loyalty phase.
We’ve already discussed the issue here, consumers don’t have that much loyalty for online florists because the time between each transaction is so long.
So how do we address this?
If you have already set up great communication during the Delivery Phase you are well on your way to keeping the journey going.
If you haven’t kept in touch none of the next steps are going to work well for you.
Ask for a Customer Reviews
A great way to keep the conversation going is to ask for a Customer review, read about why reviews rock here https://www.flowerstoreinabox.com.au/blog/customer-reviews/, and then read about our reviews features here.
But from here what can you really do to stay in touch?
In addition to good email marketing on a regular basis (at least once a month) here are some other ideas:
If they didn’t join an offer or incentive to join
If they didn’t join your site which not send them a once off offer to join the site so you can market to them?
You already have their information so you could do it easily with a one click email process. Discounts, cross promotional ideas are all great.
Just make it relevant!
Offer to remember the event the customer sent flowers
Within reason an email that asks them would they like to be reminded of the event they sent the flowers to in twelve months can increase the touch points for future marketing. Best Not to send for things like Sympathy flowers or I’m sorry etc
Remind them they have credit to use in their account
If they have credit they haven’t used on your site, remind them of their credit and encourage them to use it! A quick email to remind them is simple and unobtrusive.
Reward their Loyalty
If someone orders a certain number of times on your site give them something. Some on site credit or a free product next time they order is a nice way of working
Launch a Loyalty Program
Customers respond extremely well to loyalty programs think fly buys or Airline Frequent Flyer points. IE:
Order 5 times and get a credit to the average value of their order.
Then market this to them, remind them how close to the target they are.
Each customer journey will be totally unique for every different florist depending on your specific business. What’s important here is to actually HAVE a customer journey that you then follow up with.
A saying I often tell customers when talking about Marketing is:
It’s cheaper to keep a customer than acquire a new one.
In the coming months we will be adding many of the features we discussed above including:
- Improved Cart Abandonment Emails
- Personalized Greetings & Offers
- SMS Notifications for orders
- Improved Customer Segmentation