Daily Archives: July 9, 2007

Sesame Snaps And Deluxe Flowers Collide

For those that don’t know, sesame snaps are these sort of stick confectionery type things made by coating sesame seeds with caramelised sugar and letting the whole thing set (at least as far as I can tell). They’re probably not that healthy (though sesame seeds are pretty good for you) but by jove they’re tasty! In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s what the packets of sesame tastiness look like:

Sesame SNAP!

“What the heck has this got to do with selling flowers on the internet?”, you may well ask. Good question. Bear with me and I’ll get there – honest. It all begins with a tale of woe. A few years ago, I picked up a packet and was looking forward to the four sweet snacky sticks within. I opened the packet up and, to my horror, I saw this:

25% Less SNAP!

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An Online Experience – ArenaFlowers.com – Functional, Feature-filled, Floral…Flowers 2.0!

PRESS RELEASE – 9th July 2007

An Online Experience – ArenaFlowers.com – Functional, Feature-filled, Floral…Flowers 2.0!

ArenaFlowers.com (www.arenaflowers.com), the online florist, has fulfilled 50,000 orders and has achieved a daily order level of more than 200 orders, all within its first six months of trading.  ArenaFlowers.com has just been named as a finalist in the prestigious HSBC Start-Up Star Awards.  In other words, ArenaFlowers.com is a fast-growing business.  And at its heart is a very good website which does simple things cleverly and clever things simply.  It makes shopping easy; it makes buying easy; and it has some added value gizmos…  The site’s been much admired in the UK new media industry by journalists and by bloggers and consistently outperforms other retail websites’ conversion rates.

Front-End Gizmos

•    Dynamic Cross-Sell: What you see first in cross-sell depends on the contents of your basket, in the following order of priority: the specific product you’ve bought (e.g. heart of chocolates is hard linked to the red roses); the category you bought in (the happy birthday balloon is hard linked to any product selected out of the birthday category); price bracket of the product you’ve bought (high, medium, low)…i.e. if you buy a high value bouquet, you get expensive champagne first and if you buy a low value bouquet, you get less pricey options first.  These integrated layers of intelligence have helped ArenaFlowers.com drive their cross sell adoption: an amazing 45% of all products sold are not flowers.

•    All shoppers are given the opportunity to ‘Make Deluxe’ (i.e. go for a super-size bouquet) or ‘Add Vase’.  It’s neatly, unobtrusively done using Web2.0 techniques and has pushed ArenaFlowers.com’s ‘Make Deluxe’ and ‘Add Vase’ adoption well above industry standards.

•    Cards: Rather than the traditional scribbled note, typically as legible as a doctor’s prescription, ArenaFlowers.com allows shoppers to format the text of their card, choose their own greetings card and even upload photograph.  Photos can be uploaded from a user’s PC but also from the web, including photosharing services such as Flickr or similar.  It’s more fun and it’s more personal.

•    Send A Hint: on each product page there’s a smart ajax/web 2.0 feature to allow you to send a hint.  Depending what you fill in (your name etc), a slightly different version is sent.  It’s a cheeky or charming trick to squeeze your partner for flowers or find out what someone might like…

Back-End Tech

•    Alerts: multiple checks run on every order for different regions helping ArenaFlowers.com combat fraud (a hazard for all online retailers), deal with difficult orders and get early warning of any technical issues.  All the warning systems (there are lots of them) are vital to the smooth running of a fulfillment business.  They let the ArenaFlowers.com team know about any potential missed delivery time slots, low stocks, items selling out etc. long before any of these things might happen!

•    Checkout: the checkout has lots of dynamic elements.  On the credit card section, for example, depending on the chosen card, customers see a slightly different checkout with extraneous fields removed.  Hardly anyone else does this.  It’s simple, saves confusion and cuts the number of aborted transactions.

•    Customer Notifications: an ‘order complete’ email is sent with the time of delivery.  A free SMS text message is sent with the same information.  The text automatically has words trimmed out to make sure it’s only one text long so if your name is especially lengthy, you get less marketing text…

•    Customer Comments Box: this is a nice ajax pop up from the box on the right of our homepage that floats our customer feedback directly over the site.

•    Supplier integration: ArenaFlowers.com fulfils orders directly within the M25 but outside uses a nationwide delivery specialist and is integrated with their systems and bulk uploads orders directly to them.  The delivery status of all orders is then actively monitored by ArenaFlowers.com and its customer services alerted of any issues and delivery notifications sent out in timely fashion


•    ArenaFlowers.com drivers are currently testing PDAs to instantly notify customers that delivery has been made.  More than that, they can take photos of the happy recipient and send them to the person who placed the order.  It’s a unique touch and proof positive of delivery!
•    Fridge cam: for those who don’t believe that ArenaFlowers.com sources and sends out only it’s own, very high quality flowers, the company has installed a motion-sensitive webcam in its flower fridge so that customers can see the flowers in the fridge.  The image feed is pushed to ArenaFlowers.com’s very popular business blog (www.arenaflowers.com/blog).

Overall the site is a considerable user experience, as simple or as detailed as the customer wants to make it.  It features clever marketing which isn’t intrusive but increases customer options.  And the integrated back-end and ongoing multiple checks and alert system ensures the smooth running of the business and efficient delivery of whatever’s ordered.

More About ArenaFlowers.com and its Ethical Credentials

Launched in September 2006, ArenaFlowers.com is fast establishing itself as a leading florist in the UK due to its innovative approach.  ArenaFlowers.com sources all its floral produce direct from the Westland market in Holland, cutting out importing middlemen and UK flower markets.  This allows ArenaFlowers.com to pass substantial cost savings onto customers and to deliver the freshest possible flowers to customers, giving a longer vase-life in the home. ArenaFlowers.com operates an online (www.arenaflowers.com) and telephone (08000 350 581) direct order service and offers free same day delivery within Greater London if ordered before 3 PM and next day to the rest of the UK.  ArenaFlowers.com was the first UK florist to be a member of Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) and champions the ethical treatment of flowers, their environment and their growers.

Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) is a new initiative to stimulate the production and sales of flowers and plants cultivated in a sustainable manner. Sustainable, cultivated flowers and plants are grown in a way that respects people and the environment. These products are then presented to consumers under the label FFP. Sustainable, cultivated products are important for our living environment, since their cultivation places as low a burden as possible on the environment, and good working conditions within the enterprises are guaranteed. The European Community and the Horticultural Commodity Board have offered their support to this initiative in the form of grants for an information campaign about these flowers and plants. See www.fairflowersfairplants.com.