How to Sell Flowers Online
Flower farmers, let’s make market days a little bit easier.
Market days are long. You harvest, pack up the truck, set up your stand, wait at your stand… before you know it the day’s gone and you’re exhausted.
Worst case scenario? You don’t sell out before the end of the day.
Online sales can help you save a ton of time and money! Using an online store to take pre-orders before the market or selling online throughout the week has a lot of benefits:
- Reach customers who don’t go to the market.
- Pre-sell inventory before you go to the market to ensure sales.
- Predict inventory ahead of time and keep track of it automatically.
- Collect in-depth sales reports to help you plan and make data-driven decisions for planting next year.
To successfully sell online, there are a few key components:
1. Dedicated sales channels.
Before you start setting up your online store and marketing plan, you need to decide to who you’re selling to. Who is your target audience? For market pre-orders, your target audience is market-goers. If you want to sell wholesale, your target market could be florists or artisanal retailers.
Different sales channels could include:
- At the farmers’ market
- Direct to consumers in your area
- Local florists or retailers
- Food hub or co-ops
- Through a CSA. Either with other farmers or start your own flower-focused CSA program.
Once you decide who you’re selling to, you’ll be able to make informed decisions on how to list your products, what marketing strategies work best, and how to best fulfill your orders.
2. Marketing plan.
If you’re continuing to sell predominantly at the farmers’ market, your marketing strategy may not have to change drastically. Depending on how you currently market your business, you can now start promoting your pre-order program.
Some of the best marketing strategies to get started are:
- Email newsletters: Collect emails at the market and send out a weekly dedicated newsletter to your customer base. This will encourage customers to put in their online orders. For tips on how to write the BEST emails, check out this webinar.
- Social media: Flowers are beautiful! Who doesn’t love to see pretty bouquets come across their Instagram newsfeed? Lean into this. Take high-quality photos of your bouquets and share them on social. We’ve also put together a comprehensive social media guide - for farmers! Download your free copy here.
Pick a few strategies and make a plan. How often will you send an email or make a post? What are your indicators of success? Writing down your marketing plan will keep you accountable and help you better reach your goals.
Need help with marketing? We created the 365 Days of Marketing package which is filled with pre-made templates for social media, email marketing, websites, and events and is completely free. Download your copy here!
3. Online store.
You need to have an online store!
No more sending spreadsheets with what’s available this week or dealing with orders on Facebook or Instagram. Having a decided online store with automated inventory allows you to take orders and collect payment - all in one place! It also gives you a dedicated landing page to send customers when they want to see everything you sell.
Finding an online store solution that works for flower farmers can be tricky. Generic e-commerce platforms may lack features associated with selling perishable goods.
Local Line is the leading e-commerce platform built for farmers and producers of all kinds. Its features are built specifically for the needs of producers, such as flowers farmers. Not only does Local Line offer a beautiful online storefront, but has plenty of administrative features and reporting that will allow you to keep track of your business.
To set up your online store, you’re going to need high-quality photos and enticing product descriptions! Once you’ve taken the photos of all of your bouquet options, upload them into your online store, write your descriptions, and set your inventory. Before you know it, you’ll be able to start collecting orders.
4. Order harvesting and fulfillment plan.
The biggest difference between selling only at the market and selling online is order fulfillment. How are you going to get your products to your customers?
An easy option? Take pre-orders for the market. Customers can order what they want the week prior and pick up their order at the market. This way they ensure they’re getting what they wanted before it’s sold out, and you’re ensuring profit for that week. Alternatively, you could also offer additional pick-up times at the farm throughout the week to cater to those who can’t make it during market hours.
In the future, you can also strive towards offering delivery to customers. This is the ultimate form of convenience for customers, but you have to ensure it’s feasible and profitable for your business.
Local Line gives you the ability to define and manage your unique pick up and delivery options. When customers order through your store, they can select the option that best suits their needs. This saves you time from having to communicate when and where they can collect their orders.
In addition to determining how you’re going to get products to customers, you need to think about the best workflow for packing orders. This starts with store hours. If your pick up day is Saturday, you’ll need to give yourself time to harvest and organize orders.
Here’s an example:
You do pre-orders online for bouquets for pick up at the market on Saturdays. You open your online store on Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM and send a reminder email to your customers. On Thursday evening at 9:00 PM you close your online store for orders.
On Friday, you download your pick list from Local Line and start harvesting. Saturday morning you bring the pre-orders and extra flowers to the market. Customers can come to you with their order slips and collect their orders.
Pre-defining your plan will help you avoid any confusion and keep your sales process efficient and clear.
If you’re already selling your flowers at the farmers’ market, you need to add pre-orders! Why not already sell some of your inventory before you even reach the market? By having a clear plan and an e-commerce platform, such as Local Line, you’ll be selling online in no time!
Do you sell seedlings in the spring? Local Line is also great for selling your seedlings to avid gardeners!
Fellow flower farmer, Nicole from Flower Hill Farm, used Local Line last year for her seedling sale and loved it! This year she’s using it again – watch her set up her seedling sale:
Whether you’re looking to sell direct to customers, offer pre-orders, or dabble in wholesale you need to start selling online. Luckily, getting started is pretty straightforward.
Running your business is hard work. We want to help make it a little bit easier.
Try Local Line 2.0 for yourself for free today!
Used by all types of local food suppliers, Local Line helps you sell online, communicate with customers, and manage your business all in one place.