Edible Blooms is a gift-giving business that delivers a range of edible and non-edible gifts from locations across Australia. Founder Kelly Baker-Jamieson started the business in 2005 as the sole employee and now has 25 full-time employees in numerous capital cities.
How important is your online store to your business?
We have a small retail area in each of our locations, but they’re not our primary way of doing business. Fully 70% of transactions each day come through the website, and the balance by phone.
How did you build your online store?
I started in 2005 with a fully transactional e-commerce site, but the site has moved platforms three times in our six-year history. It started on a shared server, then moved to a dedicated server. But we kept crashing the servers and were using off-the-shelf web design software that is quite cheap but isn’t that efficient. We now use a fully cloud-based system that has a very high-end technical backbone. We currently run the site, and our major business systems, off of the Netsuite application suite.
That sounds expensive. Is it?
There are smaller solutions and I wouldn’t recommend it for startups, but it is sophisticated and amazing. It does customer relationship management, finance, and accounting supports multiple websites, and does all sorts of amazing things. It’s not cheap at all, but for our business, it gives us scalability: we can grow with it rather than changing all the time.
You can start very simply, however: you don’t have to have an expensive web solution to start with. You can try your idea out with a basic website – and these days, a basic website is still pretty sophisticated.
Is social media important for your store?
Absolutely. We invest as much in our online store as we do in any of our physical locations. Just as you would change the décor of a store to keep it fresh, you should change the look and feel of your site to keep it fresh. Customers expect a better experience all the time, and you have to be prepared to invest in that experience – and support it by tweeting, writing blogs, and so on. Twitter, Facebook, and all these mean that a website is no longer just a website. They’re all parts of a whole.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about building an online store?
It’s all a learning experience, and you should be prepared to make mistakes. If you’re a new business owner, you’ve got to be prepared to give it a go and pick yourself up if things go wrong. Whenever something bad has happened in our business, as long as we looked after our customers first and foremost, sometimes these amazing solutions came out of it that improved our business, or at least prevented any harm.