At SAF Retail Growth Solutions – one of the best events in retail floral education – Jim Dion is talking about the importance of mobile ecommerce. Jim, of retail consulting firm Dionco, is a widely respected retail expert and frequent speaker at SAF events.
The trend in ecommerce is towards mobile. A large chunk of online purchasing is already done on mobile devices, and the percentage is just going to keep growing. Anyone that sells a product online needs to pay attention.
For florists this generally means a “responsive” website. This means websites that respond to the device (desktop, tablet, smartphone) and screen orientation the customer is using. The idea is that whatever the device, whatever the screen size, and however the customer is holding it the website should look good. It’s all about a better browsing experience for the customer.
Many florists don’t have websites that look good on mobile devices. That is not surprising – there are a lot of retailers out there that don’t have responsive websites.
What is surprising is the number of florists who think they have a great mobile florist website but don’t. The florist just believes they do the because their website provider assured them of it.
For example there is one smaller provider that charges a premium for their sites. They promote them as being premium, responsive websites. And, if you just look at a few “surface” pages they seem ok on a mobile device.
But it ends there. It is absolutely impossible to place an order from an iPhone on these flower shop websites. As you select a product and get deeper into the checkout process the whole thing just breaks. At first it is awkward and inconvenient – formatting (overlapping text) and side-scrolling issues, etc. Eventually you hit a wall - you just cannot proceed (usually because you just can’t access a “proceed” or “continue” button that is off the screen.
The florists using these websites don’t seem to know this. The provider assures them all is well, they take a quick look at the home page and maybe a product details page, but they don’t get deep enough into the website and order process to see all the problems.
The solution is to use your website like an actual customer. Do what they would. Try doing what it is that you actually want them to do, which is place an order and give you money. Try doing it from different devices using different browsers and operating systems. Try holding those devices in different orientations. Don’t just glance at the home page, from the same machine, every few weeks.
Same thing for flower shop SEO. It’s easy to just try a couple of searches, see your store up near the top, and assume all is well.
This gets complicated but everybody sees different results. What you see when you search “local florist” is going to be different than what somebody else, in a different part of town, and/or with a different browsing history is going to see. And don’t trust a website vendor that just demos a couple of searches for you. That data is, again, easily skewed.
Searching in Incognito (Chrome) or Private (Safari) mode is a little better because it takes your history and location out of the equation, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. To get that you are going to need specialized SEO tools, or the help of an SEO expert.