Tatiana Sergeenko is the owner of a small business in the flower industry in London: she has set up a shop of fresh flowers and gifts in the Fulham district. She started her business journey right after the pandemic; even though it was challenging to figure out how to achieve the desired level of sales, after a year and a half, Tatiana went online on the Flowwow marketplace, launched a rebranding, expanded the delivery area and got a 60% increase in profits. Now she is planning to open a second shop.
In this article, Tatiana tells her story, sharing ups and downs, insights, and life hacks to help you get one step ahead of the competition.
How it all started
I have been selling flowers since I was 18. Whether it was choosing flowers or creating bouquets, it was my second nature and the best thing I could do. My mother also had a flower shop in her home country, and I inherited the basics of the flower business from her. Her piece of advice was rather simple: take care of the flowers’ quality, have a caring approach, and keep customers interested in repeat purchases.
I moved to the UK in 2020, right on the lockdown’s eve. I managed to open a shop in November 2021. Yes, it was a little scary to start. I walked down the streets, looking at local shops that cover three neighbouring houses, and thought — how will I achieve their level? However, doubts disappeared when I made my first 10 sales online on the Flowwow marketplace. I gained confidence and saw the beginning of an exciting journey.
How to achieve growth in the flower business
Step 1. Set yourself a high bar for the product quality
Before the launch, I had carefully studied the competitors’ offers. I discovered there were a lot of flower shops in London, however, some offered simple and conventional bouquets that seldom catch customers’ attention nowadays. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unexpected compositions that will win the customers’ hearts.
Follow a simple rule: your shop should always have 2 to 3 intricate and compelling bouquets, even if they aren’t very big. These compositions will attract attention to your shop and encourage the customer to return to you instead of the nearest supermarket.
In my shop, for example, you can always place an order for 50 red roses. For small venues like mine, it sometimes can be a huge waste; however, I have customers who come for this order only to me.
What’s more, I’m investing in the shop: I am one of the rare owners who bought a flower fridge to keep roses and other flowers fresh. Even though it’s expensive – and a rather unfamiliar practice in London – I am certain this investment will pay off.
Step 2. Invest time and effort in finding a good florist
Everyone can arrange a simple bouquet. However, if you want to stand out at the city level and ultimately get more orders, you need to find a truly experienced employee.
When hiring a new florist, I always study the way they handle flowers. Do they know how to assemble a mono bouquet using the spiral method, how to take care of fragile roses, and how to make bouquets at a 45-degree angle?
If you find a florist who is not familiar with these routines yet, but they’re ready to learn, hire them: it’s always better to invest time and effort into training a person who will follow your standards. If an employee tells you at an interview: “What difference does it make, you’ll throw the bouquet away soon anyway,” you probably shouldn’t expect good results.
Step 3. Go online!
It’s a must for any offline shop. Londoners love local flower shops, however, these venues have no chance to grow if they don’t reach the city level.
There’re a lot of online services — that’s why it’s important to take some time and analyse what each platform has to offer; personally, I prioritise functionality and convenience. For example, I signed up for one of the online flower delivery services where I was given a tablet to take orders; I got frustrated when I realised my shop was going offline the moment the tablet screen switched off. It felt as if, instead of arranging bouquets, I was expected to ceaselessly tap the screen (like cats do when they play around) for my potential customers to reach me. The Flowwow service turned out to be one of the most convenient ones for me — no special devices needed: you simply download the mobile app and start getting traffic.
Step 4. Improve your service
It may seem that, when you set up your shop with the use of a handy online platform, your job is done, and customers will start ordering with no help at all. However, it’s just the beginning.
You should build transparent communication with your customers. For example, you can create an individual work schedule by setting up days and hours to accept orders through the marketplace. It’s crucial to be in touch during these times as customers will be waiting for your quick response.
Your product’s image should match the flowers and gifts you deliver: it will help your shop receive positive reviews and gain customers’ trust.
Feedback is important for sellers. Reviews are published directly on your shop’s page: a positive review instantly increases your ranking and gets you a lot more new orders. In comparison, if you keep declining orders or don’t do your job too well, it affects your rating; in this case, it might take a while for a new order to come through.
My plans for the future
Now I’m planning the rebranding. Soon I will have a new logo and a slightly different design — and I’m hoping to expand my florist team; I am ready for the next stage.
Entering a marketplace is not enough: you should also direct your efforts towards working with guests and taking the most out of the marketing tools that the platform offers. Then, your local business will grow and scale.