Purchasing flowers online has grown increasingly in popularity in recent years as people have found themselves with less leisure time. The convenience of being able to quickly send flowers to someone means it is now commonly being used as a networking tool. If you are able to provide a service which is reliable and easy to use then it is possible that you could break into the market.
You have two options when starting this type of business. The first, and probably easiest, way is to form a partnership with a large flower supplier. You will take the order, forward it to the supplier and collect a small commission. The other way involves more work on your part and will require you to take the order to an offline flower shop, sometimes even delivering the flowers yourself if the customer needs them urgently. In order to be successful you will probably have to develop a combination of them both.
Skills needed: There is no specialist skill needed – you could even use OnlineOffice to set up your shop. You must be familiar with order fulfilment if you are taking a hands-on approach.
Business environment and set-up cost: If you are affiliated with a supplier then it is quite possible for you to trade internationally using their delivery network. The set-up cost for this business could possibly be very low, depending on how involved you want to be. You will need the standard computer equipment (if you don’t have it) and an outstanding website. If you want to process orders yourself then costs could be much higher when inventory and equipment is factored in. Expect the start-up cost to be between £2000 and £10,000, plus you will need to set aside £2000 to £5000 for marketing purposes.
- Use a ‘reminder’ calendar feature on your website that customers can opt-in to and add important dates
- Run regular special offers and provide discounts for repeat orders
- Participate in the pay-per-click schemes of the popular search engines
- Become mutually linked with gift sites and link directories
- Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online
Complimentary business ideas: You could offer small gifts or gift baskets to go along with the flowers. If you opt for the hands-on approach, you could charge extra for flower arranging and do it yourself.
Notes: It is very important for you to become an affiliate of a quality supplier in case you are unable to complete orders yourself for whatever reason.
Online examples & resources:
- Bunches – A very nicely laid out example of a good florist website
- Bloom Central – A large directory of on-line florists