Since the world as we know it has been upended, Lovingly has been at the forefront of making changes to help florists through these uncertain times. ‘Unprecedented’ is a word that we all have heard more in these past few weeks than we thought we’d ever hear in a lifetime.
At a time when people need flowers the most for love and support, many flower shops are being forced to make difficult decisions. From giving away their flowers, to laying off designers and delivery drivers, to closing their doors, everyone can agree that we all are living in an extraordinary world.
Rather than standing idly by waiting for COVID-19 to pass, we have paused our 2020 product roadmap, and dedicated our entire team to features and services to help everyone through this difficult time.
We are committed to continue to offer not just the same, but better level of support that our partners have come to love and expect with our brand. We want to provide “business as usual” as much as possible, even if this time is anything but usual. In fact, this forward thinking mindset challenged us to create an opportunity for our partners to position themselves for success coming out of the pandemic.
Lovingly has always been forward thinking and at the forefront of improving technology for its partners, because when our partners succeed, we succeed.
It’s with that forward thinking mindset that Lovingly launched an upgrade to its current offerings of marketing & technology solutions with the Lovingly Funnel Bundle update. Lovingly Funnels, provides florists a guided gifting experience that is the future of ecommerce, bringing the magic of the in-shop experience into the online world. It also serves florists right now, during this volatile time, with a much needed injection of revenue through add-ons and virtual shopping modes.
We are redefining how customers buy flowers online, and giving partners a voice on their website to guide customers. (Not to mention that Lovingly already provides its partners the fastest websites in the floral industry!)
When you take such aggressive action to be an industry leader and not just sit on the sidelines with a “wait and see” approach, you are prone to making some missteps (and we realize now that we should have done some things differently). We’ve learned a few lessons along the way, and we are proud to be taking action by listening to direct feedback of trusted floral veterans in the industry, who’ve helped us adapt.
Sometimes, however, our desire to innovate often makes us a target for nervous competitors. We pride ourselves on transparency and integrity. When competitors are threatened, some will find it easy to sling mud and attempt to disparage Lovingly in the hopes of gaining business using inaccurate information.
It’s said that you can be either a critic, or a performer. Lovingly has chosen to be a performer and will continue to perform for its partners. And we’d rather be criticized for doing something innovative and future thinking versus doing nothing.
Continuing to look to the future, Lovingly will be taking even more proactive measures. Check back here, for information to see regular updates in the timeline as well as how we will be preparing to make this Mother’s Day one to remember.
We revised our order confirmation page to display a promotional banner encouraging another purchase with a reminder to order now for Mother’s Day! This update allows customers to continue shopping from a Lovingly florist even if the recipient isn’t located in the same area as the recipient of their most recent purchase, as Marketplace is a community of Lovingly Momentmakers.
The confirmation page update also helps our florist partners increase their Florist’s Choice orders, as Marketplace features Lovingly Artist Designs only.
Lovingly’s Gift Now, Deliver Later feature was released on Lovingly Shop as a part of the Funnel Bundle upgrade. With Gift Now, Deliver Later, customers have the ability to purchase an arrangement now and arrange delivery once the shop is able to run at full capacity.
Customers are able to send smiles twice! First, with a beautiful email and then with a gorgeous handmade arrangement, all the while bringing in cash flow now.
Part 2 of the standard service update was released (offering an exit offer with $5 off applied directly to the standard service). Now consumers hesitating on completing their purchase receive an incentive to finish, without impacting florist revenue on the order.
Part 1 of the standard service update was released (removing the standard service for any repeat, loyal customers). Lovingly received a lot of praise for listening to the feedback of florists and many partners who initially disabled the Lovingly Funnel Bundle, called back to upgrade and take advantage of Lovingly Funnels.
We continued to have fruitful conversations with our trusted floral veterans. With this feedback we doubled down on our commitment to optimizing and tweaking how the standard service is applied. Lovingly announced that in the upcoming week, two major updates would be introduced:
Lovingly celebrated the fact that our partners broke an amazing milestone of generating over $10,000 with the new add-ons that go 100% to the local shops. This was a living testament to the good will of consumers choosing to support their local florist during this time.
On schedule, we released the first two parts of the Lovingly Funnel Bundle (guided gifting experience and new 100% add-ons).
Responding to the conversations Joe and others at Lovingly were having with our partners, Lovingly adapted and created a way for the Funnel Bundle to be disabled, removing the standard service.
We recognized our misstep in not packaging this Funnel Bundle as an upgrade path from the get go. We’ve had many amazing (and tough) conversations with floral veterans, who gave us sound advice and helped us adapt and make this a win-win for partners and Lovingly.
Excited to offer our partners the future of ecommerce, we announced the Lovingly Funnel Bundle, with 3 amazing features:
Rather than raising prices for our partners during this uncertain time for this upgrade, we created a standard service of $9.99 to appear as a line item for site visitors on the lovingly checkout. Lovingly cofounder Joe Vega created a video announcing this to partners, with the information of the upcoming rolling release dates.
We were excited to offer our partners a patent pending, completely new way of shopping with a guided gifting experience that replicates the in-shop experience. This is completely unique to Lovingly partners, setting you apart from your competitors, as Order Gatherers and Wire Services don’t offer this experience. In addition, the new support your local business and delivery tip add ons, benefit the shop 100% at a time when our polls showed that consumers wanted to support their local florists. Lovingly introduced a standard service charge to make sure no additional financial burden was placed on our partners, while still giving Lovingly the resources to develop new tools to help our partners get through this time.
Lovingly responded to the growing concern of being able to source normal inventory, with an update to its Lovingly Exclusive theme, by extending the 3-day timeframe window to a full week. This allowed florists to sell Florist Choice exclusively on their website with a new homepage theme promoting the custom arrangement. No other company provides this level of flexibility to local florists!
Responding to the ever growing concern of finding and sourcing stems, Lovingly launched another florist facing blog update with a list of wholesalers available for getting product to our partners shops.
Lovingly kept the conversation going with a consumer-facing blog post for visitors to lovingly.com to learn about the healing power of flowers during this time. In a show of support for local florists, Lovingly encouraged consumers wary of purchasing during this time, to support their local florists because of the updates Lovingly has created to help their partners during this time. Lovingly continued to receive many positive messages from consumers who were excited to show their support of local florists.
“Your shop is near someone we wanted to send flowers to and we wanted to use a local florist during this time when reduced traffic may affect local businesses.”
“To spend money at local businesses and to let my mom know that we are thinking about her.”
“An employee needs encouragement and appreciation today. So, Heckel’s is using a local florist to show we care about her and about our local small businesses”
“I asked my friend Kisha Floren for a recommendation of a local florist so that I could brighten my friend’s day and support a small local florist. This pandemic has everyone scared and I just thought I’d spread a little joy while simultaneously offering some support. You came very highly recommended. XOXO Stay strong.”
“To do something special and as a local small business owner, I feel it’s very important to support a business during this time. All the best to Neville and his team!”
Recognizing the importance of physical distancing and safe workplace practices, Lovingly released an important update to support the delivery of flowers, with the “No Contact Delivery” service. Upon the driver scanning a QR code on the delivery slip, an automatic text message is sent to recipients alerting them of their flowers being delivered, an email is sent to the sending customer confirming delivery, and the order is marked as ‘delivered’ on your Lovingly Account. This is a fully integrated solution, leveraging the recipient’s cell phone number and QR code technology to send an automated text message, with an option for the driver to leave an even more detailed message (e.g. Bouquet left on table on front porch).
Going a step beyond splash images, Lovingly released a “hello bar” style update which included a message across all shop websites saying “Deliveries may be impacted by COVID-19 precautions. See Details.” Upon clicking See Details, an information box appears, explaining all precautions the shop may be taking during these times. This update was important both from a customer perspective, but also an important SEO signal, showing Google that flower shops were reacting and responding to COVID-19.
In addition, Lovingly created multiple points to highlight and promote the Florist Choice product throughout the site. During a time when sourcing products is uncertain, the Florist Choice product continued to be a florist favorite to be able to sell and deliver unique arrangements.
Lovingly successfully transitioned into remote work. We continued to hear status updates from partners that were figuring out what to do with their shops. Some florists were operating “business as normal” where others were offering delivery only, or even being forced to close their doors. We responded by creating a variety of splash images for shops to showcase and communicate their status to customers and visitors on their website.
As Lovingly was making preparations for remote work, we ensured that all of our partners had a list of tips & tricks for responding to the unfolding pandemic. Information was changing minute by minute, so we published our first COVID response on our blog.
Lovingly decided that all employees would be working remote starting March 16th. We prioritized the safety and health of our team, so that we could ensure uninterrupted service to our partners.