Sell Flowers Online? You Need a Website Built For Flowers
As discounted do-it-yourself website platforms become less expensive, more powerful, and easier to use some florists are tempted to ditch their existing flower shop website and "roll their own" or have a local web developer do it for them.
But the flower business is really kind of unique, and a good flower shop website needs some special features. An ecommerce website that works great for someone who sells t-shirts just won't work for a florist. Retail floral is just too different.
Most web developers that don't specialize in websites for florists can't truly appreciate these subtleties, and most of the big platforms can't accommodate them. Unfortunately it's easy to get started, and the problems won't really appear until late in the process, or when you start getting complaints from customers.
What is it that makes flower shops websites so different? Let's look at some peculiarities in retail floral:
The Customer Is Rarely The Recipient
In most online sales the customer is also the recipient – the person placing the order is also the person that will be receiving the goods. In floral it is completely opposite – the person placing the order is almost always buying flowers for someone else, and a floral website needs to accommodate that. Sure – some ecommerce websites allow the customer to specify someone different, but it's an afterthought. If you are serious about selling flowers online you absolutely need to have a floral website and checkout process built around the idea that most customers are buying flowers for someone else.
Enclosure cards are a huge part of the flower business but much less important to all other forms of retail. Most websites don't plan for enclosure cards and, if they do, it tends to be a hacked-on afterthought. A good florist website needs to reflect that almost every single order will involve a card message and card type.
Most online stores assume you want whatever you are buying right away. They might let you specify a delivery option, but the goal is always to ship out and deliver as soon as possible. The flower business is different and a floral website needs to reflect that. Most flower buyers want to specify a delivery date, and a florist website needs to allow for that.
If you are going to let customers choose delivery dates you also have to be able to block certain dates – the dates when you can't deliver flowers. This means that a flower shop website needs a whole calendar admin section where you can specify where and when you don't deliver. If you don't have this you are going to be calling customer that ordered flowers online in good faith and explain that you can't come through.
Same day delivery is a vital part of the flower business, and a flower shop website needs to let people choose same day delivery... but only when it is possible. A floral website needs to let the florists specify cutoff times and, if at all possible, different cutoff times for different delivery areas. If you can't do that you are going to have customers that order flowers online at 4:45 PM with the understanding that they will be delivered the same day. You are then going to have to call them and explain that you can't.
When it comes to ecommerce and selling online the flower business really is different. Florists need website that were designed and built with the flower business in mind.