Flowers Direct

Flowers Direct

October 22, 2009 03:42 ET

Flowers Direct Deliver New Website as Business Blooms

MORECAMBE, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 22, 2009) - Flowers Direct, the Lancashire based online floral gifting retailer, are celebrating the successful launch of their new website and back office system. Representing a substantial six figure investment by the company's owners, Zeus Equity Partners of Manchester, the new e-commerce shop and supporting IT infrastructure is designed to future proof the business and help position it as a major player in its sector in the 21st century.

After months of study, the company finally chose Venda as the supplier of its e-commerce platform. Venda has recently completed web implementations with Tesco Clothing, Laura Ashley and BBC Shop, putting Flowers Direct in amongst a first class pedigree. Conversion on the site is expected to improve due to Venda's status as a so-called 'Tier 1 PCI Compliant' payment processor - which in every day speak means its checkout system is very secure and stable, eliminating payment blips and customer anxieties.

There are new features being launched too, such as customer reviews and a handy date reminder service. At the same time, the store's online creative branding has been developed. Continuing with its popular campaign, 'People Connect with Flowers Direct', the site attempts to exude personality and warmth - and its stance encompasses a very contemporary style of selling flowers.

CEO Jonathan Wall commented, "Our largest competitors have been around for many years and as such tend to have very conservative and dull personalities. We want to put the fun back into buying flowers and our modern, slightly quirky image will hopefully attract a breed of shopper who like things to be a bit different - people who want to stand out from the crowd. Just like us."

In addition to the new web shop, the business has simultaneously installed a new back office infrastructure. This implementation mainly benefits the 800 UK independent florists who subscribe to the Flowers Direct relay network. Florist members use the software to transact business between themselves whenever their customers want flowers sent across the country. The focus has been on creating an interface that is simple to use and which can sustain a huge volume of orders being exchanged during the flower peak periods - Christmas, Valentine's Day and of course Mother's day.

"For a medium sized business such as ours," continues Jonathan, "this infrastructure development has taken the business through a time of total change. Nothing is the same as before, not the customer facing shop, the florist's engine or any of our reporting systems. It shows the commitment of our owners to position this company for substantial growth, as well as standing as a commendation to the staff here who have worked night and day to deliver everything as smoothly as possible."

According to Hitwise, the website ranking company, Flowers Direct are more often than not the third most popular floral gifting website in terms of market share, only beaten by market leader, Interflora and then by Next Flowers.

"It's our job to close the gap," declares Jonathan. "And with this investment and the talents of our people, I am confident that we will."

- Flowers Direct are an online floral gifting retailer supported by a nationwide network of 800 independent florists.

- Orders are gathered by the company through its award winning website and mainly fulfilled by its florist partners.

- In 2007 the company purchased Flowergram, a rival flower relay brand and integrated this into its main business. Also during 2007, the business was acquired by Manchester based venture capitalists, Zeus Private Equity, who hope to substantially grow the business over the next three years.

- On acquiring the business, Zeus strengthened the senior management team by appointing Jonathan Wall as CEO (formerly Marketing Director with electrical retailer Dabs) and Michael Duffy as Marketing Director (formerly in a senior Marketing role at Littlewoods Shop Direct).

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