A look at current trends to spruce up your website for eye-catching attention
By Andrew Joseph
If you have ever visited a website and clicked to travel further inside—and it takes longer than you expect it to take—you’ve probably said “Forget it!” and sought your desired fix or information elsewhere. Most consumers are like you: They have busy work and personal lives, and their time is valuable. They want speedy and satisfying information, and they don’t want to waste time trying to navigate a poorly designed website.
For the flower industry, “satisfying information” is information that consumers want to see and see easily. In other words, a search for a “dozen peach roses” should take them to a page on your site within a second or two. Satisfying information also can be about giving consumers something they don’t expect to see but are glad to see.
When it comes to website design, there aren’t any new earth-shattering things a web designer can offer you that haven’t been thought of before—things such as placing videos on your home page or adding a slideshow that showcases items you currently have on sale, articles you have written or the latest photographic evidence of events you have flowered up. Conceptually, videos and slideshows on companies’ home pages have been around for 20 or more years.
The floral industry, however, is just now seeing an increased usage of some of those website accouterments. A secret behind slideshows—which should always be positioned at the top of a web page, with no need to scroll downward to find them—is that you or your web designer can set them to shift to another photo every five seconds—or whatever length of time you choose. Such sudden shifts on a web page are meant to draw the attention of the web page visitor. Having drawn their attention, it is now up to the content you are presenting to draw them in further by clicking an image or article on the slideshow.
Videos must be eye-catching, too; however, they must be much more than people talking about flowers—unless those people are recognizable “celebrities” with whom you have worked. Ideally, you want present spectacular visual evidence, and one of the best websites we have seen providing that is that of London’s Larry Walshe Studios, at larrywalshe.com. The drone-led video photography is stunning, propelling viewers along so that they can immediately tell that Larry Walshe Studios provides high-end service for some of the world’s most discerning clients. It firmly grasps viewers’ attention, and that is what you want. When attention has been grabbed, a sales opportunity has presented itself. (BTW, vertical videos are a huge new trend this year!)
Regardless of the era, a cluttered website does not provide an easy landing spot for viewers’ eyes or attention. Having a website that is simple, clean and uncluttered remains in vogue not only for businesses in the flower industry but also businesses in virtually all other industries.
A great example of a clean, uncluttered website is that of Esscents of Flowers, in Oakland, Calif. (esscentsofflowers.com). The website design uses warm colors and great photos within 25 shifting images that show off the skill set of owner Ariana Marbley and what she might be able to offer consumers. It draws in the viewers and makes them want to find out more.
While we love the website’s vibe and colors and the way it draws us in, the beautiful slideshow is placed below the main viewing area of the home page, which doesn’t ensure that visitors will scroll down far enough to see it, especially because there are subheadings available for click-through before visitors get to the slideshow. (Remember our earlier recommendation that slideshows should always be positioned at the top of a web page. Do you agree?)
The Sales Pitch
FTD’s consumer website (ftd.com) recognizes that its goal is to increase the company’s business. As soon as consumers enter the website, they see—front and center—an email marketing pop-up that offers a discount to every visitor who signs up, regardless of where he or she lives. One can’t help but notice it, read it and become slightly curious about what it is. And, unlike annoying pop-up ads that suddenly appear on your screen and won’t go away, this one is viewer friendly and unobtrusive in that it does not follow the visitor as he or she scrolls down. It stays at the top of the page and can be accessed at any time by scrolling to the top again.
The pop-up asks the viewer two important things:
1. Where are you sending flowers to?
2. When do you want the flowers to arrive?
That’s all. Once the visitor inputs that data, the pop-up will transport him or her deeper into the website, to show the lovely flower gifts that FTD offers.
Yes, it presupposes that the visitor to FTD is purchasing a gift for someone else rather than him or herself, but even for those being self-indulgent, the marketing pop-up can present purchasing options. It’s worth a look, and that’s what FTD is hoping for.
Adding a similar marketing pop-up to your website certainly could work. Or, instead of directing visitors to a different part of your website, you could arrange for a pop-up on which they can sign up to be added to your mailing list—and, in return, receive a percentage-off digital coupon that they can apply to today’s purchase. The incentive could also be a chance to win something cool—like a holiday wreath or free admittance to one of your workshops or classes. We don’t recommend offering a percentage discount on one of your classes because not everyone is interested in participating in a class where they still have to pay, even though they won something on your website.
One critique of FTD’s website is that when one scrolls down, the menu bar disappears. It’s at the top of the page, and customers have to scroll back to the top to access it. If the menu bar on your website disappears as visitors scroll down, we recommend changing that. Take a look at twigandarrow.com, the website of Twig & Arrow, in Wellington, New Zealand. You will notice that the menu on the left side of the home page conveniently follows you on your journey, making sure you can always find your way home.
For this article, Florists’ Review visited and studied many wonderful retail florist websites, each of which had aspects worthy of considering incorporating into your website, to update its customer appeal. We suggest that you do the same, setting aside an hour one day soon to tour websites of florists you’ve heard great things about or that you know and admire. To help get you started, we compiled a list of “55 Great Florists To Be Inspired By” (see the sidebar on Page 00). This will give you some perspective on what others in our industry are doing and what might be beneficial for your site.
Websites and the pages on them are marketing tools, so gear yours to gain more sales. Remember: Keep your site clean and uncluttered, and ensure that it offers ease of use for consumers to traverse. Think about the frustrating sites that you have visited, and remember how easy other sites you’ve visited have been to navigate. The latter is your goal.
Once you have your website updated, test it by having friends and customers manipulate it. And then have a 13-year-old go through it. If there’s something about your website that stinks, he or she will tell you about it in no uncertain terms. Remember: It’s never too late (or too early) to make your website better, and we recommend doing it before the busy winter holiday season begins. After all, an updated and improved website will certainly garner additional and, possibly, higher sales.
55 GREAT FLORIST WEBSITES TO BE INSPIRED BY
To assist you in finding great flower shop websites to evaluate, we compiled this list of websites of 55 florists around the world (these are in addition to those mentioned in this article). From chic and minimalistic to modern and innovative (and in no particular order), these websites are role models for modern florists, and there is something appropriate for any type of retail flower business—and budget.