This year’s Valentine’s Day holiday seems to have been absolutely huge for most of the florists I’ve worked with over the past couple of years, both online and in-store with several shops having to turn away business as early as the evening of February 12th due to being over-capacity. They certainly had a few things going for them this year with the holiday being on Thursday. I’ve heard that most established florists were expecting to see a 15% increase in overall sales compared to the 2012 holiday which was on Tuesday. I do know that my wife’s flower shop actually had planned for 15% increase over last year and saw right around that mark, but could have been closer to 30% due to filling the available design capacity much earlier than expected.
So, what percentage of total sales can be attributed to the internet for a local florist?
(This is really going to be different for everyone, but stepping out on a limb here based on florists who have engaged in an online presence…) Online sales vs. offline sales for individual flower shops are difficult to compare due to a wide range of factors, but if you assume the Yellowpages are completely dead, it’s not hard to imagine that a full 2/3 of holiday sales can be attributed in some way to a florists web presence, leaving 1/3 to walk in traffic. During non-holiday times, those numbers might be close to 1/4 to 1/2 of business being attributed to the internet. Basically, during holiday times even regular local customers may choose to order online or call the store for delivery vs. actually coming into the store, particularly on weekday holidays.
Where are the extra internet orders coming from during these holidays?
Call in traffic from websites is a difficult thing to track unless you’ve got your marketing metrics engrained in your staff to utilize your POS tools to their full potential during a busy holiday and asking every call in customer how they found you. Most florists won’t do that during the holiday. What we can measure accurately is online transactions.
I’ve been digging through data for around a dozen successful local florist websites for the last several days trying to find patterns in how people are finding their websites and what sources are driving overall revenue generation. You could say that the data can be directly correlated to the call in business as well. Finding patterns in analytics for florists ranging from 100 years old to just a couple of years old, East Coast, West Coast, the MidWest, Canada and with completely different marketing plans and goals is difficult to say the least. But, I did find something very interesting in the mix.
On Average during Valentine’s week, 80% of a florists online transaction revenue can be attributed to 3 main sources:
*Sample data set at left.
- Average Florist Google Organic Search Only (50%)
- Average Florist Email Marketing Campaigns (8%)
- Average Florist Direct Traffic (22%)
*Please keep in mind that these are visits driving actual transactions on the website. Revenue and orders.
In fact I found that overall, the numbers were eerily similar on a percentage of transactions basis, no matter the shop age, population base, overall revenue or longevity of online marketing campaign. This is incredibly interesting factoring in that the largest number of transactions was 10 times higher than the smallest.
Search traffic overall from Google Organic, Bing, Yahoo, ASK, AOL and others dominated at 70%+ of overall traffic and overall revenue for these websites. Depending on the florist anywhere from 10%-25% of that 70% is attributed to branded search, or searches for the business name.
Your first question is going to be, “What is direct traffic?”
It’s basically everything that Google Analytics can’t attribute to a specific source due to the user’s input.
Direct traffic contains all Visits to your website where in people arrived at your site directly (by typing the url) or via a bookmark.
Your second question will be, “What’s driving the other 20%?”
This is the everything else. Referrals from other search engines like AOL and Bing, local directory sites like Yelp, floral directory sites like Flower Shop Network, and many others. Interestingly, the sites that have been engaged in online marketing for the longest had the largest distribution of “other” in their profiles. While these older shops had as many as 22 different sources driving transactions on their websites, it didn’t develop a higher percentage of transactions, only a greater diversity in the 20%.
What About Social Media?
Well, as best I can tell using Google Analytics new social tools, social media is the biggest loser in generating orders for local florists at Valentine’s Day. Based on the data I’ve reviewed, only 1-2% of transactions can be directly attributed to social media and that number goes up to 3-4% when you include transaction that have been “assisted” by social media meaning they originally found you via social media and came back later to order.
Well, 4% is not bad, so all that Facebooking is working! Well, not really. Yelp was the clear winner in social media is considered a social site by Google analytics due to it’s interactivity and I only found one order directly attributed to Facebook in the entire data set. You have to dig pretty deep into the analytics to find a transaction that was delivered via other social media sources like Facebook and Twitter.
This isn’t to say that social media isn’t a valuable resource for local business, but with the average florist maintaining a business page of 100 to 300 fans the numbers make total sense. It does raise the question though. Where are you spending your valuable internet marketing time? Posting to Facebook? Or blogging to improve your search engine rankings and using Facebook as a distribution tool?
I’d greatly value any comments you may have or questions about these findings in the comments area.