What was your experience like the last time you ordered flowers? Maybe the flowers were wilted by the time they arrived or the arrangement was not what was expected. UrbanStems, a digital direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, is changing all of that with great experiences not just for recipients, but for senders too.
UrbanStems creates high-quality, thoughtfully designed floral arrangements. They bring flowers from the farm directly to consumers, which is a new model for the industry. The company wants to create a future where everyone feels cared for and connected through their one-of-a-kind experiences.
Chief revenue officer Vivek Kumar leads marketing, merchandising, ecommerce, and technology for UrbanStems. He connects the dots between technology and business teams, which was key during UrbanStems’ site relaunch on Commerce Cloud to solve four key challenges:
Improving the customer experience
Personalizing experiences for repeat customers
Offering easy-to-use tools for business users
Scaling quickly for high-volume periods such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day
After relaunching the site, Kumar shared three learnings at Dreamforce 2019. Here are his insights:
1. Start site customizations as soon as possible
Vivek and his team knew that their out-of-the-box commerce platform offered tried and true functions such as payment and checkout. Site customizations, however, are unknowns that can throw the project off.
In UrbanStems’ case, that was creating a gifting capability on its site. “My biggest takeaway is that customizations require upfront planning because they are the riskiest,” says Kumar. “You don’t want to have to take a step back after other parts of the project have been completed.”
Plan ahead for customizations at the start of the project — the more time your team has to handle the unknowns, the better.
2. Loop in partners early
At the beginning of any project, you may assume it will take a short amount of time to complete. But external dependencies can elongate the timeline.
Communicate with partners on timelines early on to understand what they need to complete work and include additional time in your schedule. That may mean planning for an extra week of back-and-forth testing or keeping other partners (e.g., payment) in the loop on an ongoing basis.
“Good project management involves accounting for integrations and knowing who’s on point at every step of the project,” says Kumar. “Adding external dependencies to your timeline and thinking this through early will help you avoid unnecessary delays and costs.”
3. Make a one- to three-month plan
Where you want to go and what can realistically happen on day one are two different things. Manage expectations with key stakeholders and be realistic about the extent of the project upfront. Determine what you can accomplish within your launch timeframe and what to include post-launch.
“We’re very excited about Commerce Cloud Einstein," shared Kumar. UrbanStems is looking at Einstein for the future, so it can ingest shopper data to provide recommendations. “It takes time for Einstein to start analyzing data and do something meaningful for us,” says Kumar.
Define your priorities and targets over the next three months and let stakeholders know what’s happening. If there’s scope creep or things slip for unknown reasons, there’s a natural place for them to go post-launch.
UrbanStems is already delivering on their promise to create a great gifting experience. For more best practices, check out Going Direct to Consumer, the step-by-step guide on how to establish a D2C ecommerce site.