Every week we interview some of Britain's brightest independent businesses to hear how they have adapted and thrived through lockdown and beyond.
This week we met Gary Taylor, Director of Acquisition Marketing at Bloom & Wild:
Hi Gary, can you tell us a bit about Bloom & Wild?
We’re the inventor of letterbox flowers and are, proudly, the UK’s most-loved online florist.
Our mission is to make sending and receiving flowers the joy that it should be. We promise letterbox surprises and statement hand-tied bouquets which are all beautifully designed by our team of expert florists and are sent in bud, for arrangements that last.
It’s important for us to do business thoughtfully and we live by our values of ‘care’ and ‘customer-first’ to make sure every detail is tended to for our customers.
Who is your business aimed at?
Most of our customers are female to female gifters wanting to send some love to those they care about. Our customers are the most thoughtful gifters we know! But we have also seen an increasing number of our customers buying for themselves as a treat to brighten up their homes - especially whilst being stuck indoors.
Can you talk us through some of your biggest milestones to date?
We launched just over seven years ago and since then have been named as the second fastest growing tech company in Europe, growing over 100% year on year.
We’ve made 7 million deliveries to date, to 2.5 million customers within the UK. The team lives by our values of ‘care’ and ‘customer first’ and they tend to every detail of every delivery - the result is almost 60k five-star reviews and holding the status of the UK’s most-loved online florist.
Our success in the UK led us to expand into further markets and we now operate across Ireland, Germany, and France too.
How has PayPal helped you reach these milestones?
At Bloom & Wild, we use PayPal’s Braintree. This year, over a quarter of our customers’ payments have come through PayPal.
Was your business impacted when the UK went into lockdown?
As an online business, we were very fortunate to be able to continue operating and were encouraged to do so. We saw an increasing trend in people wanting to stay connected with loved ones during lockdown by sending flowers, and we were lucky to have been able to still make that happen for our customers.
Did you make any changes to continue trading during this time?
Our head office team started working from home in early March and within our operations and supply chain we ensured that strict social distancing and extra precautionary hygiene measures were in place to keep everyone safe and healthy at work.
Our letterbox packaging means that delivery is contactless, as it can be posted straight through the letterbox and extra precautionary measures were taken with our hand-tied bouquets, to leave these in a safe place for our customers without them needing to sign for anything.
Being able to operate during a pandemic made us think about ways in which we could help support our communities and uplift our customers. We donated 15% of profits to the National Emergencies Trust on all Our Florist’s Pick bouquets and we’re so grateful to our customers for helping us to donate over £200,000 between March and August this year. As a token of our appreciation for all frontline workers, we offered them 40% off our flowers, totalling over £2 million in discounts. It was also incredible to see over 25,000 nominations for deserving key workers for our weekly bouquet giveaways.
Wanting to stay ‘Customer first’, throughout the lockdown, we launched our free digital flower hours on Instagram, as an uplifting boredom buster. They’ve been viewed over 110,000 times.
What does the future look like for Bloom & Wild?
Our aim is to become the market leader in the UK, whilst also growing our European businesses in Germany, France, Ireland and beyond.
We have recently launched into Sainsbury’s, which is our first permanent physical location and are also launching some exciting new products and services from this month and into the new year.
We have always been driven by the belief that you can never be too thoughtful, and we will be building out our brand communications to bring this to life.
How did your business model change, or what new products/services did you add to adapt?
Lots of our customers are sending flowers as thoughtful ‘just because’ gifts to their friends and family. We’ve also seen a recent increase in customers purchasing flowers for themselves, to brighten up their homes in which they are spending so much more time.
One of the ways that we have enhanced our offering to better cater to how our customers are shopping with us, is a new and improved subscription service. The new floral subscription service is the first flower delivery that lets subscribers choose their next bouquet, for a fully personalised experience. Subscribers will also receive access to video content with handy how-to’s for arranging blooms like a pro.
What are you anticipating the holiday season will look like? How are you preparing this year, especially vs. previous years?
As we still face times of uncertainty due to the pandemic, many of us may not be able to be with our loved ones - as we usually are - this Christmas. With this in mind, we expect to see an increase in customers doing their Christmas shopping online this year. I think we will also see more brands investing in e-commerce, creating more choice and innovation online.
Being a digitally native brand has undoubtedly helped us throughout the pandemic. This Christmas, we will have more focus than ever on helping to keep our customers connected with their loved ones through our flowers, plants and trees.
Over the last six months, the team have worked hard to adapt our supply chain to meet the growing demand we’ve seen. This allows us to fulfil more orders, whilst maintaining our excellent customer satisfaction levels - which is really important to us.