Operating a flower shop is rife with inefficiencies.
First, there’s the actual import of flowers, sometimes from far-flung corners of the earth. There’s the plastic packaging. And when it comes to merchandising, there’s often lots of waste involved when designing stunning displays out of highly perishable flowers.
Which is why Jennifer Fowlow, founder of Wild North Flowers, decided to go the ecommerce route to simplify both the floral selling and the buying experience.
“Ordering flowers online should be easy. It should be enjoyable,” Jennifer says. “It should be something that is fun for both the sender and the recipient.”
Initially, others in the industry advised her that an online shop simply wouldn’t work. How would the customers smell the flowers? Why would customers come back if they didn’t have a personal relationship with the florist?
Jennifer argued the opposite.
“The thing with a retail storefront is you end up spending so much time trying to make it look pretty. It’s got to be stocked, customers expect the fridge to be full of flowers, even if they’re only going to buy, like, five of them,” Jennifer says. “I wanted to be spending the time actually making the beautiful arrangements and have enough time to do customer service properly.”
Without any coding experience, she started her store on Shopify and found a clever way to save on product photos for her website—by supplying flowers for creative photo shoots.
“We’ve almost never paid for professional photography. Sometimes we do collaborations with photographers because they want flowers. I mean, we’re lucky flowers are so beautiful,” Jennifer says. “Of course, it would be a bit different if we had a product that no one really liked to look at.”
And sure enough, Jennifer was able to keep her clients coming back. Email marketing has been one way she has been able to form those more personal relationships with customers, even without a brick-and-mortar store.
Jennifer has also saved on shipping—and simultaneously lowered her carbon footprint—by building close relationships with local growers in Southern Ontario.
Tune into the full Shopify Masters episode to hear how Jennifer cut down on the inefficiencies of the flower business and how she’s tailored her store for every occasion.