By focusing on the customer experience rather than sales, smaller brands and retailers can effectively compete with their largest competitors.

A great example of this comes from flower delivery service UrbanStems.

Over $4 billion is spent each year on online flower purchases for occasions such as birthdays, celebrations, graduations and more. While gifting flowers can bring great happiness to those receiving them, shopping for them can be a tedious process.

UrbanStems is a relatively new online flower startup, and is changing the way consumers purchase flowers online by delivering a clean and simple online shopping experience that focuses on customer satisfaction.

urbanstems product page 

Urbanstems

UrbanStems boasts a seamless online shopping experience offering a highly curated rotation of fresh and unique flowers, in line with the blooms of the season.

On-demand, one-hour delivery is standard and available at no extra charge, making even the most bothersome aspect of the shopping experience simple and convenient.

Clean, visually appealing product page 

One of UrbanStems’ most successful assets is its beautifully designed product page. Clean, elegant and filled with vibrant floral images, it is this visually appealing page that attracts consumers to the online florist.

As you scroll down, additional images show multiple points of view so that customers can better understand the dimensions, style, potential use, etc.

urbanstems product page 

Within the clean and modern layout, one can find the key points of information neatly aligned to the right of the featured product.

No distracting promotions, recommendations, upsells or other competing features – the platform is entirely user-friendly and mobile-optimized to provide a fluid and enjoyable shopping experience.

Hassle-free checkout process

Once the customer decides on an Urbanstems arrangement, the site automatically displays the necessary options (such as delivery date and address) needed to complete the purchase, therefore making the already simple checkout process even more quick and painless.

Other online florists such as Proflowers require nearly twice as many steps to complete a purchase, yet by reducing the number of steps required to checkout, UrbanStems minimizes the likelihood of customer fatigue and shopping cart abandonment.

This results in higher conversion rates and more sales.

checkout

Flexible customer support options

Through the entire shopping experience, customers have access to a discreet popup tab which provides an instant connection to customer service and FAQs. Questions via chat, email or phone call are always welcome.

faqs

Providing multiple points of customer service is a great way to ensure that customers receive quick feedback to any of their questions or concerns. If they cannot obtain the information they seek, they are much more likely to abandon their purchase and shop elsewhere. 

ProFlowers

ProFlowers is one of the largest online florists in the U.S. but its customer shopping experience is entirely sales oriented.

Throughout the entire process, customers are bombarded with various different product options and presented with a myriad of ways to spend more money than was originally intended.

Even though these tactics have helped grow the Proflowers business, they degrade the customer shopping experience and have led to many negative customer reviews as well as low customer satisfaction ratings.

proflowers

Busy product pages

Proflowers’ product pages are a prime example of information overload – both visual and written.

Even before the customer starts evaluating the product he/she has clicked on, they are immediately presented with multiple upgrade options and additional add-ons.

proflowers business 

Why is this unappealing? A product page should highlight the intended product rather than trying to sell as many other products as possible.

ProFlowers automatically displays coordinated add-ons, product upgrades and recommendations. While this may be a great way to generate incremental revenue for the retailer, it overwhelms customers and makes the experience seem highly promotional and sales-driven.

Lengthy checkout process

In order to make a purchase through Proflowers, customers must go through a nine-step process starting with the product page. Few other ecommerce checkout experiences are this lengthy.

With so many steps required to make a simple purchase, customers become frustrated and the experience much less enjoyable. 

checkout

As soon as customers hit the checkout button (which is actually labeled “Delivery Date”), they are sent to a page filled with add-on gift options.

After already being inundated with upgrade and add-on options on the initial product page, this second forceful upsell proves extremely irritating. Only after this page do customers start the actual checkout process.

Limited customer support options

The only visible customer support option that’s consistent throughout the site is the contact number.

There are no instantaneous customer service chat options or direct links to FAQs. If a shopper needs customer service help while browsing, they must first find the customer service link at the very bottom of the page and then navigate to that exact page.

footer proflowers

Shopping for flowers – no matter the reason – should always be a pleasurable experience, one that is simple and straightforward.

New players in the space like UrbanStems are challenging current industry leaders like ProFlowers by crafting customer-first shopping experiences that emphasize the customer rather than immediate revenue.

As a result, these new players are sure to not only attract but also retain more customers, leading to increased sales and a bigger market share. 

Bart Mroz

Published 9 August, 2016 by Bart Mroz

Bart is CEO and Co-founder of SUMO Heavy, a digital commerce consultancy, and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (3)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

@UrbanStems. Guys, I just tried about 10 major cities that I've been to in the USA (Boston, LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco), UK (London, Southampton, Manchester), Europe and Australia and your site responds, "Sorry, not in that area!" I've not been successful even once.
https://urbanstems.com/products

Is there a bug? If not, as you're majoring on customer experience, how about replacing the search box by a drop down list with just the places where you do deliver. You could do that quite quickly. Serious suggestion.

over 1 year ago

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Sebastien Labarre, Analyst at 10003

@Pete Austin, if you are interested in getting flowers in the Northeast (like Boston) you can try Ode a la Rose, www.odealarose.com

They offer next day for the Northeast and same day delivery for select locations in Manhattan. You just have to know the zip code of where you want to go.

over 1 year ago

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UrbanStems Care, Customer Care at UrbanStems

Thanks, @Pete Austin! The dropdown is meant to be exact addresses, but we really like the idea of using the initial list to show our cities. We really appreciate the feedback, and please feel free to reach out to us at care at urbanstems dot com if there's anything else we can do for you!

over 1 year ago

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