Lessons in Supply Chain Transparency, CX, and Business Growth From The Bouqs Co.
Have you ever thought about where the flowers you purchased came from? This is one of the many questions that John Tabis, co-founder and CEO of The Bouqs Co., works every day to answer through his innovative online floral company. Bouqs is a direct-to-consumer brand that sells flowers from eco-friendly, sustainable farms, and sources stems directly from the farmer to the customer. Since its founding in 2012, Bouqs has grown significantly through social media marketing, with huge boosts from celebrity support, and has delivered 37 million stems over two continents.
And did I mention that Bouqs “drop-ship[s] flowers from an active volcano for $40 dollars flat?” Tabis noted that the brand sells stems grown on several farms on the side of a volcano in Quito, Ecuador.
Last week at the 2019 Workarea Summit in Philadelphia, Tabis gave a keynote presentation on how and why Bouqs has succeeded in this niche online floral space.
Focus on Supply Chain Transparency and Customer Connection
The Bouqs Co. offers a uniquely personal experience for customers buying flowers, “bringing [customers] into a brand experience that’s beyond just the transaction,” Tabis explained. “We have a supply chain that's sustainable and 100 percent transparent. We have a brand that makes the product feel more special than the product itself really is. And that differentiation is why our business can grow, attract and retain customers.”
Most consumers purchase flowers on special occasions, looking for beautiful bouquets to send heartfelt messages to friends and loved ones. However, traditional local florists and other flower delivery services lack even basic details on the flowers themselves.
Tabis and his co-founder, Juan Pablo Montufar, wanted to bring emotional connection back into the act of purchasing flowers as well as offer extremely fresh stems to consumers. To achieve this, Bouqs completely disrupted the traditional flower supply chain. "We know exactly which stems are grown in which way, by which farmer," says Tabis. The brand communicates this in detail to consumers shopping on its site. Bouqs tells the stories of the farmers it works with, down to the grower’s name, photo and farm location, and how they focus on sustainable farming and labor.
Bouqs meets the needs of consumers interested in sustainable and responsible product sourcing. The company has reduced 95 percent of waste in its supply chain and cuts stems to order on the day of purchase. Furthermore, Bouqs offers consumers a selection of rare focal flowers and bouquet designs that can't be found anywhere else, and delivers stems exactly how they're ordered. On its e-commerce site and social pages, Bouqs publishes relevant content that engages shoppers further and encourages them to use the hashtag #BouqLove to share their satisfaction with the product.
Tabis says that "one of the reasons why folks love the brand is because they love the mission. Changing the way we think about where our flowers come from has resonated" with celebrities and consumers everywhere.
Key Strategies to Grow Your Business
Today, Bouqs focuses on four core functions: culture, product, editorial, and purpose. These pillars help aim the brand as it rapidly grows and expands.
Tabis shared a few key strategies that any business owner can leverage to drive growth:
- Galvanize your community. Have customers help tell your story through user-generated content. Empower customers to share and co-create by using hashtags. Build trust with third-party endorsements and take advantage of social media influencer campaigns.
- Invest in quality content. The Bouqs Co. employs a team of six in-house content creators to produce social media and website content. Tabis' advice? The content must be thumb-stopping, consumable, and built by experts.
- Provide content across channels. Consumers want to be engaged with relevant content on social media, blogs, and email campaigns.
- “Always on” approach. Provide 24/7 customer support on social media. Be helpful and timely, always speak human, and respond in real time.
- Be transparent about everything. Provide detailed product information and execute to order. Become as transparent as possible in your supply chain and tell your product vendor stories.
- Empower everyone to own the brand. Empower employees to spread your brand message accurately every day and consistently over time. Bouqs' brand promise is “exceptional floral experiences that create genuine connections” in every interaction. The brand uses a scorecard to judge if something is on-brand or off-brand.
- Strike the balance between PR and brand marketing. These two have to reinforce one another. Having a strong brand message makes this balance easier to achieve. The brand message should lift up all the KPIs you set for performance marketing.
Tabis leaves this challenge to retailers looking to grow: "From a brand and storytelling perspective, find your volcano ... it really can change things" for your brand.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.