The Bouqs Co. is a relatively small online florist, at least compared with online giants such as ProFlowers.com, 1-800-Flowers.com and FTD.com.
Bouqs, for example, attracted roughly 146,000 total visits in November 2018, nearly a 25% increase from a year earlier, according to digital measurement firm SimilarWeb Ltd. That’s a far cry from ProFlowers (1.75 million visitors in November), 1-800-Flowers (1.75 million) and FTD (1.50 million). But Bouqs is growing quickly; its November revenue was up 45% compared with the previous year.
And while the holidays don’t account for an outsized sales role for many florists, Bouqs generates roughly a quarter of its annual sales in the final two months of the year, which makes those gains significant, says Phil Irvine, the retailer’s director of customer relationship management.
A revamped marketing program that seeks to distinguish Bouqs from the competition by leveraging what the retailer knows about a particular consumer was key to its strong sales growth, he says. To start, the retailer last January began an email campaign in which it asked shoppers to choose the most appealing floral collection from four images featured in the message. The campaign enabled the retailer to see in real time how shoppers felt about its collections and, at the same time, the emails helped generate data that Bouqs could use to retarget shoppers.
“Once we know which type of arrangement a shopper might like, we can retarget her with special offers in line with the arrangement she voted for,” Irvine says. The campaign has proven successful at driving shoppers to engage with the brand; roughly 20% of consumers who open one of the campaign’s emails click within the poll or make a purchase after seeing the email. In total, the emails that contain a poll have generated a 5% lift in their average conversion rate compared with the retailer’s other marketing emails.
Personalized marketing has been crucial to the retailer’s success, he says, noting that Bouqs is in the early stages of producing personalized landing pages that greet shoppers with a note, such as, “Thanks Adam for being an amazing customer for 4 years!” That type of simple note, which Bouqs began testing in October, generated a 75% increase in conversion rate compared to a page without. It then rolled out that type of campaign to four different sections of the site in December.
Working with digital marketing vendor Movable Ink, the retailer also has resolved a long-standing issue: promoting items that are no longer in stock. Last Mother’s Day, the retailer linked its marketing messages, such as emails and search ads, to its inventory to ensure that it would only promote items that shoppers could order. The change was a “big help from an operational perspective,” Irvine says. And it likely helped boost revenue; comparing the retailer’s Mother’s Day emails, which leveraged the integration, with its Valentine’s Day emails, which did not, the retailer’s email revenue during Mother’s Day was about 20% higher.
Bouqs also has been increasingly focused on contextual marketing that leverages information it can update in real time, such as the weather or time of day, to help drive shoppers to click, he says. In doing so, it is finding ways to capture shoppers’ attention.