With IAMAI becoming the biggest body after NASSCOM to voice concerns and release stats on E-commerce activities in india. Bloggers and media have being going gaga over simple e-commerce sites like ones selling flowers and gifts doing great volumes of business. Recent posts by contentsutra.com and alootechie.com again highlighted the niche b2c sector blooming in india post dot com bubble burst and how people in india are comfortable using credit cards online.
I had first heard of online flower retailing in 1998, at that time one would laugh at the simple notion of providing such service online due to the same factor which VC’s factor in while making investment, example quality standards and major revenues in this sector are generated by unorganized retailers. Those were the days when you also heard of mucchad panwalla with online website and whole idea of shipping pans to anywhere in the world. Most of the sites that time were concentrating on NRI market with fancy credit cards and ability to pay dollars to convert to sentiments in india. Technology was also hindering e-commerce growth in that era with no quality server farm available in india or payment gateway to process credit card transactions in indian rupees. The online flower business in those days revolved around high markup price of goods sold and areas of delivery divided between various websites with none offering pan-india presence.
The business still revolves across the same basics of pricing but supply chain has become more efficent and lack of brand visibility has given any run of mill website with good flower selections catalogue opportunity to compete with big players. This year on valentines day i myself helped atleast 20-30 friends to orders flowers online for their girl friends online.This is another reason why i m doing SWOT analysis of the business model.
Key factors contributing to building successful online flower retailing model
– Have a catalogue of more than 100 designs. This helps user with choice but also with trust building
– discount factor should not be the main thing attracting a visitor to buy flowers online. Look at value addition like the ribbon material of greeting card with your custom message. Or free box of chocolates to go with it. Value packaging is key for deriving sales.
– Prominently display credit cards available and try to create a single page checkout page to reduce number of clicks and covert more hits to sales.
– Indian flower sites have one thing missing which is zip code/pin codes of delivery areas. If they could add that how much would it simplify for a user selecting the provider and also help you reduce extra site load which cannot convert to sales.
– Homeshop18.com has launched online flower retailing – one piece of advice for them implement an auto update service advicing buyer confirmation of delivery via e-mail/sms. This will enable buyer to call in time to capture the emotion right and use the service for this advantage.
Online flower retailing is here to stay but an organized player like ferns ‘n’ petals are better off to take advantage as e-commerce trends india suggest brand building helps in selling. Keeping in mind major sales are been still driven by NRI’s.