November 30, 2004, 12:00 AM

Flowers / Gifts / Jewelry: Where the Internet changes the business

(Page 3 of 3)

GiftCollector.com
Barracks Road Shopping Center Charlottesville, VA 22903
Date Launched
1998
Unique visitors (monthly)
NA
Annual Web-Based Sales
$10,000,000 (est. `04)
Vendor Relationships
Site Design
In-house
E-Commerce Platform
NA
Web Hosting
NA
Site Search
In-house
Content Management
In-house
Order Management
In-house
Payment Processor
NA
Fulfillment
In-house
Affiliate Marketing Management\
NA
Search Engine Management
In-house
E-Mail Marketing
In-house
Web Analytics
NA


Proflowers.com
It`s the product that counts

In many ways, selling on the Internet is no different from selling anywhere else--a quality product is essential to success. And that is the angle that Proflowers.com promotes--spending nearly one-third of a web page explaining that its flowers come directly from the growers, bypassing the middlemen who might add a week to the age of the delivered flowers.

"When you use florist networks, as most online florists do, the flowers might be 12 days old by the time the customer receives them," says Bill Strauss, CEO. "Because we have our flowers shipped direct from the fields, it is never more than three days from the time the flowers are cut."

Indeed, knowing all about flowers is what Proflowers prides itself on. While Strauss`s background is in technology, his partner, Abraham Wynperle, president and COO, was previously CEO of a chain of flower stores. Strauss came from software developer Intuit Inc. where he saw the power of delivering goods via the Internet.

"With flowers, I saw a market that was not being well served by existing online players," Strauss says. "There were too many middlemen involved for such a perishable product. It was a perfect product to use technology to improve the supply chain."

Not only does the direct-from-the-growers aspect mean fresher flowers, but often less expensive ones as well. "By cutting out the middlemen, they`ve not only been able to guarantee fresher flowers, but offer them at a lower cost than the competitors," says Jim Friedland, senior Internet analyst for San Francisco-based SG Cowen & Co.

Proflowers also understands that a successful online model needs a good web site. "Before, we had a site that could be described as hip and young," says Strauss. "But in talking to our customers, we found they wanted something more elegant. This year, we changed everything about the site--the banners, the design, the typefaces--to be more elegant and we saw a much higher conversion rate."

The company has also put more resources into improving its search results. "We pay by the click but we closely measure what we are getting," Strauss says. "We`ll pay a little more around the peak holidays, but we find we don`t always have to pay to be on top of a list to be successful."

Proflowers.com/ Provide Commerce Inc.
5005 Wateridge Vista Drive San Diego, CA 92121
Date Launched
1998
Unique visitors (monthly)
1,500,000
Annual Web-Based Sales
$128,800,000 (FY 2004)**
Vendor Relationships
Site Design
In-house
E-Commerce Platform
In-house
Web Hosting
In-house
Site Search
In-house
Content Management
In-house
Order Management
In-house
Payment Processor
Cybersource, Paymentech
Fulfillment
In-house
Affiliate Marketing Management
Commission Junction
Search Engine Management
In-house
E-Mail Marketing
DoubleClick
CRM
In-house
Web Analytics
In-house, WebSideStory
Content Delivery Network
Akamai Technologies
Rich Media
RichFX

**includes all company sites

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