Fishkill’s Lovingly Partners With Local Florists For Business In The Internet Age
FLovingly, based at ishkill, is proud to bring the neighborhood flower shop experience to an online environment, allowing small florists to compete more strongly with large online flower retailers.
As a sales platform, it optimizes online retail for small florists, connecting customers who can buy directly through the site from florists in their own community or any where Lovingly has partners, in the United States and Canada.
Joe Vega, co-founder of Lovingly, was an IT consultant with search engine optimization expertise before starting the business and worked for the great floral industry leader FTD Cos., Where he served as the company knowledge.
“In 2008, when installing a point of sale system for a local florist, I saw that she was having difficulty with her website,” Vega said. “I came up with a few simple, off-the-cuff SEO suggestions, then… she called me in tears. Her order volume had exploded and she could barely keep up. After tweaking a few things, her flower business exploded and she was thrilled. That’s when I knew I had to start with Lovingly.
From that beginning, the company has always wanted to be a resource to support local florists.
While other online flower retailers may increase order prices for profit, Lovingly’s approach is to use the same prices advertised by individual florists and charge customers a direct fee of $ 9.99. $ for service, which translates into better profits for small businesses. He doesn’t take money until his partners do.
“Joe had a front row seat for all the ways local businesses like florists were struggling to keep up with the internet age,” said Ken Garland, co-founder of Lovingly. “Other flower companies known as ‘order pickers’ have rushed in, claiming to be a resource to help local florists do business online, but have instead taken advantage of their work and undermined the central role. that they play in their local communities. Sending flowers online was missing the mark… it became transactional and cold, and the florists who handled the arrangements were barely managing financially.
In addition to being a sales platform, Lovingly also operates an online advertising service for florists, using Google Ads and optimization to help its partners compete with large companies.
Lovingly hopes to bring more business to the smaller florists who the founders say were the ones who built the industry, but see it being overtaken by order collectors.
Vega also said he wanted to bring a more personal touch to the flower business, which he said could only be possible by connecting customers directly to their local stores.
“When you send with Lovingly, your flowers are hand-arranged by a real person at a local florist in your loved one’s community,” he said. “By bringing the experience of a local flower shop online, the charm, service and quality that local businesses are known for doesn’t disappear when you do business online.”
Lovingly is growing, likely driven by the increase in e-commerce resulting from the pandemic and the need for struggling small businesses to expand their customer base in order to survive.
“Over the past year, due to the fact that Covid has hit the small business sector the hardest, we knew we had to help local florists somehow survive,” Vega said. . “Thus, we have restructured our product development goals and developed features and products to not only help our local floral partners survive, but thrive, while enabling them to serve their communities in a safe, modern and secure way. contactless, which many in our industry have been slow to adapt to.
When the pandemic struck, the company’s plans for 2020 were put on hold. Lovingly developed a contactless delivery application, benefiting both businesses and customers.
They also added a tip feature for customers who wanted to show greater appreciation for stores, and a “Give Now, Deliver Later” feature to keep customers supporting businesses that may not have. been allowed to open or have had difficulty keeping their inventory in stock. due to disrupted supply chains.
Garland also attributes some of the growth to their model’s focus on business partnership.
“Lovingly is experiencing strong growth driven by our market offerings and our best-in-class partnership approach,” said Garland. “Making our partners successful as a priority means that we drive a common goal, we succeed with them. “
Although based in Dutchess County, Lovingly has partners across the United States and Canada using its advertising platform and services. The founders are residents of Dutchess and wanted to keep the business nearby to help local economic development.
Some of the Westchester and Fairfield area florists using the Lovingly Platform include Bed of Roses in Scarsdale, Graceland Florist in Mount Vernon, Floral Fashions in Port Chester, Peter Rogers Florist in Stamford and Garcia’s Flower Shop in Stamford.