While the basics of flower arranging haven’t changed much over time, the business of selling them has. With the recent growth of online flower delivery, more customers are enjoying the convenience of buying flowers online and having them delivered. While some of the basics of flower delivery haven’t changed, other elements of the process are now more nuanced.
We spoke with Kevin McCarthy, President and COO of Family Flowers — who’s also a fourth generation florist — about what he and his company are learning about best practices for online flower delivery. Keep reading to learn tried-and-true tips for successful online flower delivery, from online menu organization to delivery logistics, and every step in between.
1. Make sure your online flower menu is easy to browse
“What’s so great about our line of business is that our customers are often buying for someone else,” Kevin shares. “Studies show that flowers really do brighten someone’s day, and we’re so happy that we can help deliver that love from our customers to their recipients.”
Since the flower business is very occasion-based, with customers buying products to mark a special celebration or simply because they’re “thinking of you”, it’s important to curate your online flower offerings around those moments. Consider creating browsing-friendly categories around major flower holidays, like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and more. Family Flowers will typically divide their menu into sections — either by occasion or flower type — such as Anniversary, Birthday, Roses, or Mixed Bouquets. This allows their customers to quickly find just what they’re looking for — or get inspired by something unexpected.
Comparing sales online with sales in-person, Kevin shares, “When a customer comes into a flower shop, they often have a specific idea in mind to purchase something or see something ready in a cooler. Whereas when people shop online, they can see the whole variety of what we make and so oftentimes they’ll spend more online than they do in-store.”
Plus, with the ability to schedule flower orders up to two weeks in advance through DoorDash, your customers don’t even need a same-day occasion to order flowers online.
2. Highlight your floral offerings with high quality photos and creative names
Helping your customers find what they want quickly is key — and having eye-catching photos, product names, and descriptions can help your customers locate what they’re looking for sooner.
Online flower photography best practices
For Kevin, that starts with beautiful photos that aren’t overly edited. “We want customers to pretty much get what they see, and have the photography communicate that authentically,” he explains. “That’s how we uphold our brand promise.”
DoorDash flower shops get access to free Snappr photo editing services to easily turn any portrait-oriented photos into landscape-oriented ones that are ideal for our platform.
A handful of Family Flowers’ top-selling bouquets don’t have a photo at all. They’re categorized as “Designer’s Choice,” and customers defer to the local designer to create a customized design perfect for the occasion. “Maybe six out of our 25 bestsellers are items that don’t have pictures associated with them!” Kevin shares. “But our customers trust that we’ll deliver on quality, so they don’t need a specific photo of the arrangement.”
Product naming tips
Additionally, don’t forget to get creative with your product naming. While “One Dozen Red Roses” is easily searchable and gets the job done, it doesn’t do much to differentiate your brand. Family Flowers takes inspiration from people, places, and feelings to name their bouquets, with engaging names like “Love Love Love” for a bundle of red roses, “Purples in Paris,” and even a mixed arrangement called “Erin”, named after Kevin’s mother.
Because changes and substitutions are common due to supply chain issues in the flower industry, it’s more important to communicate the overall feel and quality of your products than to focus on exact representations that are subject to change. “We always try to keep it bright and cheerful,” explains Kevin. This way, customers will still be happy with the overall look and feel of their bouquet, rather than getting hung up on the exact flowers it should contain.
3. Plan your flower stock accordingly
Adding online flower ordering and delivery to your business can mean an increase in overall orders, and/or a change in how and when your customers place orders. A partner like DoorDash allows flower shops to accept orders from anywhere between two weeks in advance to same-day. With the convenience of same-day online flower delivery just a few taps away in the DoorDash app, you might find yourself with an increase in same-day orders from this new group of customers.
To stay on top of this new demand, make sure to have some of your best-sellers on hand, like red roses — as well as the staff on site to handle any incoming requests. At Family Flowers, florists build every custom bouquet to-order. Kevin explains, “Everything that’s ordered is being done right there on the spot, and it gets prioritized based on the timeframe and date.”
Additionally, DoorDash can make it easier to keep up with same-day orders for flower delivery online. “DoorDash is great because a Dasher will usually arrive within an hour for same-day orders,” explains Kevin. “A designer will have made that arrangement fresh, and just has to hand it off to the Dasher for a quick delivery. They don’t have to wait for a delivery van or anything like that. So it’s very quick in terms of the volume of Dashers we have access to being able to take more orders throughout the day, and getting flowers to people even faster than on our own trucks in some cases.”
Curious about the details? Learn more about how DoorDash works for flower delivery.
4. Turn pickups into a smooth handoff
With quick delivery as the goal, there are also a few things Kevin recommends to speed up the Dasher handoff in store.
Clearly label your pickup area with eye-catching signage so Dashers can get in and out as quickly as possible. Additionally, make sure to clearly label orders with names and the order number so that there’s no confusion who it belongs to.
Having a designated pickup area, either racks or a countertop, that’s separate from your normal cash registers is ideal, because it’s faster for your customers.
5. Package your products with care
“Dashers deliver so quickly usually that our arrangements usually hold up pretty well during delivery,” Kevin shares. Most DoorDash orders are delivered in 45 minutes or less, ensuring most floral orders will hold up just fine — but there are a few online flower delivery best practices to consider when packaging items.
Provide packaging support
“With everything we sell online, we try to think about it in terms of someone picking up in a vehicle that may not have cargo space, netting, or things like that,” Kevin shares. Vases are wrapped in vase holders to keep flowers upright and prevent water from spilling, and bouquets are wrapped to keep designs intact.
Curate your flower menu for delivery
Family Flowers focuses also on varietals that are hardier and can withstand moderate temperature changes for online flower delivery, like certain roses that have been bred to be more durable. Consider your local seasonal weather and curate online offerings that won’t immediately wilt in the heat.
Buckle it up
Kevin doesn’t hesitate to show Dashers specific ways to package orders for delivery. Often, he’ll buckle a vase into a passenger seat, or have his team demonstrate how to position an item with a base on it at the foot of the front seat so that it stays upright.
Additionally, as a DoorDash flower delivery partner, you can add Dasher instructions for your store on how to pick up and package flowers — encouraging Dashers to tailor the delivery process to your preferences.
6. Be available to your customers
Even though your customers are ordering flower deliveries online, it’s still likely they’ll want to connect with a human at some point — for example, if they have questions about your products or there are issues with their order. An online flower delivery service partner like DoorDash makes it easy to connect with a customer for any reason, through the DoorDash Order Manager App.
Kevin has also seen a steady stream of calls from customers who first see his business on online platforms like DoorDash, and then have questions about the specifics of his arrangements. “What we’ve found is a lot of the people who call in just want to get more information or they like an idea that they see, but they want to tweak it slightly before ordering,” he explains.
It can also be helpful to remind your customers about the very real people on the other side of their flowers to build your brand and grow customer loyalty. Family Flowers includes a thank you card with each delivery, and have been experimenting with QR codes so that customers can learn more about the business they’re buying from, as well as instructions on how to care for flowers at home. Kevin in particular wants to remind customers that each arrangement was constructed by hand, using flowers that have been grown around the world. Little touches like these can go a long way in helping your customers feel cared for and connected with your business.
The best online flower delivery service for your business
Whether you choose to sign up with an online flower delivery partner like DoorDash, manage deliveries on your own, or use a combination of both (like Family Flowers does), developing a reliable delivery process that works for your unique business is the key to success.
Curious how one company optimized their online flower delivery operations? Learn more about how The Flower Shop has leaned into local flower deliveries with DoorDash, resulting in a profit margin growth of 10% and a 3% average monthly growth in DoorDash orders.
Ready to get started? Sign up for DoorDash for flower shops, and start planting the seeds for more local sales.