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Overview of the Online Flower Industry

Question:

Discuss about the Online Flower Retail Store for Successful Startu.

Hello, Mrs. Marcia Holden. I shall begin with a brief analysis of the nature of the online transaction industry, the risks, how to overcome such risks, and the best practices to adopt so to bypass the already existing competition and the potential competition from other entrants. There are various reasons why people prefer online shopping over the traditional visiting of retail stores such as the desire for a variety of products to choose from, a variety of products, efficiency in the delivery of such flowers, and the ability to compare the stores so as to decide on the best store.

To begin, it is important to consider the element of the omni-channel retail and begin with the employment of efficient devices to enable transactions and deliveries for the capacity to provide the customers with what they want when they want it and where they want it (Inside Retail, 2014; Walker, 2016; Wallace, 22017). Online businesses are different from the running of retails stores because of the dependence of communication that does not involve face-to-face interactions. It is for that reason that the right networks are established, the required equipment and gadgets purchased, and the relevant employees employed for smooth running. My recommendation for finding such people first is to ensure that once you launch the online business, it establishes itself as a reputable store over the others as a result of its exceptional services and good products. The establishment of agreements with the suppliers and the transportation industry is also essential to ensure that there are no instances where inconveniences are caused without valid reason and the relevant action such as compensation taken.

In Australia, the lack of adherence to the Australia Consumer Law that governs all transactions of ecommerce is punishable by law. That includes the clear definition of the business, nature of the services, and the details about the purchases and deliveries can attract penalties (eurologo, 2014).

The online flower industry is currently growing at 2.5 % annually. According to the data presented by Svala (2017), holiday purchases make up the greatest sales. Valentines’ (36%), Mothers’ day (27.4%), and Christmas (15.1%) top the list that shows how much they contribute towards the flower industry. A 2016 press release showed the overall satisfaction with online flower customers which increased from 789 to 806 between 2015 and 2016 (Calif, 2016). The factors that result in success and satisfaction include competitive pricing, the nature of the online service, the availability of flowers in demand, the variety of the products, and good customer service (Walker, 2016).

There are factors to expect by moving online such as the risks that come with deliveries from suppliers during high demand seasons where orders overwhelm the flowers in stock. Using Porter’s model, the horizontal competition consists of factors such as the threat of substitute products. Although your business currently thrives on the connections with the event planners and funeral organizers, a shift onto the online platform calls for the diversification of the expected customer base. It also calls for the incorporation of competitive strategies that encourage other flower buyers to subscribe to your site. The other customers include individuals in need of flowers for gifts for various occasions. In most cases, such occasions are also represented by other common gifts such as chocolates, sweets, Easter eggs, and stuffed animals. It is important to ensure that you overcome such substitute products by giving offers during such times that includes diverse hampers to create interest in the flowers as gifts over the substitutes.

Employing Effective Strategies

Taking your events of focus (weddings, funerals, and events) and the already existing connections into consideration, you shall most likely experience a small magnitude of the competition from substitute products such as artificial flowers and chocolates-the other products that substitute the gift of flowers. However, market diversification should substitute the customers lost by going online.

The already established online vendors are great competition since they have spent more time building their rapport and gaining popularity. Such vendors may be interested in crushing the new entrants and stating alert is essential. It is for that reason that data protection, and the protection of all other information coming into and out of the online business platform must be observed. The creation of an attractive portfolio and the delivery of what is presented on the website is essential.

The power of the customers explains their bargaining power. It is another factor in Porter’s model and determines the potential survival of a start-up. The differentiation advantage in terms of costs and layout determine the power of the customers. The form vs the buyer concentration ratio of the online flower vendors gives the buyers considerable bargaining power. The flower industry consists of numerous options and goof floral displays on the respective websites. However, a study carried out by Calif (2016) on whether the online displays match the deliveries shows the possibility of th delievry of completely different flowers with a quality that does not match the displays. In such instances, it is essential to build a reputation of ‘getting what you see’  which should increase the bargaining powr of your online store. Such are the advantages that come with longer exposure in the business and more interactions with customers.

The bargaining power of the suppliers varies in the online floral industry where the suppliers of the flowers have the most power and the employees within the industry have the least. Since your business shall be launching itself online for the first time, it is important to get qualified people to deal with the marketing and customer service to avoid blunders and a tarnished reputation while still new. You have the advantage of being established with a customer portfolio in place. Wha shoud be done is the dissemination of information to the already existing custoemrs about the online platform and the shift from the retail store to the online platform. The suppliers are not as many in Australia and they remain with the bargaining power most of the time. However, the establishment of a slolid relationshop with some by sticking to their suplpies throughout the season. That way, it becomes easier to get the flowers at loweer prices during peak seasong when thhe flowers are on demand. Maintaining lower prices should give your business a  greater competitive advantage against other existing florists.

With your current connections with wedding planners, funeral organizers, and event organizers, collaborations would be a unique streak where ordering flowers from your store for events comes with the option of also ordering for the services of event planners. Begin by advertising the business to your previous customers on a personal level and through social media and posters to the potential customers. It is important to begin with reasonable low prices for classic services and deliveries. Delivering what you present online is also enough to get your business up and successful as an online vendor. According to Walker (2016), one of the most feared let-down are deliveries that do not match up to the products presented online. It is easier to achieve more bargaining power over the customers when the quality is unquestionable.

The problems to expect include the duplication of website content by other websites, poor URL structure, difficulty in finding unique titles, and the lack of page optimization (Digital Marketing, 2016). There is the possibility of legal issues where the online businesses are run without confirmation of incorporation. In such cases, it is impossible to make claims when faced with corruption or fraud. There is the possibility of the infringement of the business by hackers who can even access the financial and other confidential client information. Depending on the severity of the hack, it is possible to even have the banking information and finances of the clients hacked. There are also issues with the protection of information and photographs in the form of copyright information.

There additional e-business security systems that must be considered when conducting online business. It is essential for your online business to adapt encryption technologies and security certifications for safe use and convincing the clients about the safety of the use of such websites. In case of security breaches and the leak of confidential customer information, the ethical thing to do is inform the customers about the breach and the progress in the response made by the company in relation to the same. The consideration of the legal implications of such possibilities makes it essential to get legal advice on how to handle such cases in case they arise. It is also essential to provide declarations and clauses that detach you from severe legal sanctions in case of accidental security confidence breaches.

References

Calif, C. M. (2016, 3 25). ProFlowers Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Online Flower Retailers. Retrieved from JD Power: https://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2016-online-flower-retailer-satisfaction-report

Digital Marketing. (2016, 4 5). Top 8 Common E-commerce SEO Problems and Solutions. Retrieved from Digital Marketing: https://digitalmarketingphilippines.com/top-8-common-e-commerce-seo-problems-and-solutions/

eurologo. (2014, 7 25). Common Legal Issues Faced By E-Commerce Businesses. Retrieved from Eurologo Marketing: https://www.eurologo.org/common-legal-issues-faced-by-e-commerce-businesses/

Inside Retail. (2014, 3 10). Online flower industry in bloom. Retrieved from Inside Retail: https://www.insideretail.com.au/blog/2014/03/10/online-flower-industryin-bloom/

Svala, H. D. (2017). Market Analysis Summary. Retrieved from Bplans: https://www.bplans.com/florist_business_plan/market_analysis_summary_fc.php

Walker, M. (2016, 4 22). Ordering Flowers Online: Do the Pictures Match What You Get? Retrieved from Consumer Reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/shopping-websites/ordering-flowers-online/

Wallace, T. (22017). Omni-Channel Retail in 2017: What Brands Need to Know and Modern Consumer Shopping Habits. Retrieved from Big Commerce: https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/omni-channel-retail/

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