Like Uber has disrupted the taxi industry, BloomNation has disrupted the online flower industry with its marketplace for connecting buyers directly with local florists. The key to local business today is offering a better experience than what has been offered before.
How BloomNation is different is that customers see who they are buying from and the products they are ordering - no stock photos. This helps minimize disappointment in what a customer receives being different than what they thought they were ordering online (like these Valentine's Day tweet disasters). For florists, they receive 90 percent of the sale direct deposited into their account the next day. According to BloomNation Co-Founder and Head of Business Development and Sales David Daneshgar, the florists get more profits and more exposure.
Part of that additional exposure is a beta test with Yelp, which allows customers to order from BloomNation florists without leaving Yelp and gets florists' digital feet wet regarding the power of online reviews and online marketing in general.
"Yelp helped us a lot because it showed these florists that word of mouth in their local community can fizzle their business but online three bad reviews can kill their business," said Daneshgar. "What Yelp does is it takes something localized and makes it global, and florists can understand this. Yelp is an example of crowdsourced opinions that can dramatically help or hurt a florist which makes them driven to understand how to use Yelp."
In addition to increased reach through the Yelp-BloomNation partnership, local florists get help with building an online presence and acquiring and retaining customers, like with Facebook pages, websites, email marketing, promotions and more.
BloomNation is almost like the florists' digital marketing agency.
"When a florist comes to BloomNation they will often tell us, 'I am a florist, I am not a technologist,'" said Daneshgar. "When they come to BloomNation there is a lot of, 'Someone wants to help me with marketing and charge me this amount; someone wants to help me with SEO and charge this amount; here's a local Web development company that wants to charge me this amount and I can't pay for all that without killing my business.'"
To combat this, BloomNation created a very simple interface with the products florists want to sell that are plugged in so customers can find them. BloomNation's algorithm - how florists' pages are ranked within the website - is pretty simplistic, coming down to product and vendor. For example, higher-quality images, higher click-through rates and higher reviews are all data points used to rank a florist higher than the other.
What's more, higher percentages of BloomSnaps (when a florist uploads a picture of their design), marked deliveries and less canceled orders all contribute to higher rankings.
While florists cannot optimize their product descriptions for better search visibility on the site, BloomNation assumes click-through rates and purchase rates are products of the well-optimized listings.
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