Flower Shop Websites

Getting It Backwards: Free Websites For Florists

The promise of a free floral website is grossly misleading, and represents an expensive step backwards for most florists.


"Free" is powerful, making it something many vendors are keen to exploit. They'll do almost anything to portray their product/service as free even when they actually represent incredibly expensive alternatives.

One example is the introduction of "free" websites for florists. Some vendors are now offering "free" e-commerce floral websites, hoping to take advantage of the magic that comes with the promise of "free".

Of course these websites aren't free at all. Instead of charging the florist a fixed monthly or yearly fee they take 30% of every order that goes through the website.

This of course gets incredibly expensive very quickly. There is a full breakdown on the true costs of a free floral website available online, but for now just consider a very low volume site that generates just four $50 orders each month.

This translates into $2400 in annual online sales, with $720 going to pay for the "free" website. Even in this low volume scenario that is $120 more than it would have cost the florist for a standard Flower Shop Network website. The "free" florist website is actually more expensive than a paid alternative.

And it just gets worse as volume goes up. Consider a florist that does $50K in online sales annually:

If those florists had "free" websites they would be giving away $15,000+ each year. The free website that they hoped might save them maybe $1,200 ends up costing them almost $15,000.

This is almost $14,000 more than a florist would pay for a fully customized website from the best providers of customer websites in the floral industry – vendors like Strider Florist 2.0 and Epic Flowers.


It's Also Completely Backwards!

It's not uncommon for a new business to choose higher variable costs than lower fixed costs simply because their lower volumes and cash flow means they can't take advantage of, or benefit from, the savings that come with fixed costs.

Here is an old school example. Twenty years ago it was still common for florists to fax their floral orders into their wholesalers. A new shop, with limited capital and low volume, would often choose to pay the convenience store in the mall a couple of bucks a page to send the fax for them (a variable cost).

But as soon as they could afford it they bought a fax machine (a fixed cost) so they could enjoy significant savings. You never heard a florist say "I can't wait to ditch this fax machine and pay much more to have someone else send these faxes!".

But that is what's happening here, all because the word "free" is so powerful. It can blind some florists to the fact that a "free" website will ultimately cost them much more.

Solutions in Search of Problems vs Real Solutions

Epic Flowers focusses on solutions that deal with actual ecommerce issues and not creating solutions for problems that don’t exist. 

An experienced problem-solver for Epic Flowers, Brandon Kirkland, has made a point of showing other companies how some of the best new features that are being included in Epic Flowers. Many of these were centered on the real problem of acquiring higher conversion rates.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a conversion rate is the percentage of customers who visit a site and then purchase the product that is available or do another desired action. For a floral shop, the conversion rate is the percentage of customers who purchase something on your site. 
All of the Epic websites have done a great job at building a high conversion rate, and they have one of the best conversion rates on the web for floral arrangements. Still, Brandon knows that there is always going to be room for improvement, so he tries to make conversion rate better for his clients. 

The work that is involved in these projects can be difficult. To make matters worse, it is usually invisible and potentially thankless. It is not nearly as exciting as being able to introduce another revenue stream to your client, but it still has a large impact. In essence, a higher conversion rate means that you simply do not lose as many customers as you did before.

Still, it is a very important aspect of your business. Every sale that you make is worth another $40 or more. These small improvements add up over time and can lead to you having a much more effective business that is able to attract even more due to its perceived success.

To most people, being able to increase their conversion rate by 1% may not seem significant, but considering that most online floral businesses only have a conversion rate of about 3% as it is, you will be able to see a 33% increase in business with this relatively small conversion improvement.

Improving your conversion rate is a real solution to a real problem. You are working to get more customers to buy your product. Now, there are many companies that hire consultants to add more features to their site that are not particularly geared towards increasing the amount of business that is garnered, but just to match other sites. This is called a solution for a non-existent problem, meaning that it is not solving a business problem, only going out the back of the company as a cost. 

For many online floral businesses, this sleight of hand trick is distracting your customers with unnecessary features that will not make them more likely to buy your products. These consultants that want to redesign your site completely miss the concept of responsive design and do not attempt to capitalize on a higher conversion rate.

If you want to see some serious improvement in your conversion rate, then it is a good idea to examine some of the features that are being offered by Epic Flowers so that you can try to improve it.

Responsive Website Design For Flower Shops

Lately we have had a lot of questions from florists about responsive design.

They're starting to understand that they need a responsive design for their flower shops website (often because they hear from loyal customers that are increasingly frustrated by how hard it is to place an order on a non-responsive design from a smartphone or tablet*)  but they're not entirely sure what "responsive" means, whether they have it already, and how it might affect their website.

Fortunately there are some great free tools to help and I go over some of them here:

How Does Your Flower Shop Website Look on a Mobile Phone or Tablet?


*not good - surveys show more than sixty percent of customer are likely to leave and go to a competitor if they don't like your shopping experience.