KaBloom is a Massachusetts-based online florist in business since 1998 that has a patented technique for shipping fresh-cut flowers in water overnight. The company found that sales increased dramatically after switching to a new online payment platform that allowed the firm to better communicate with customers and allowed customers to more easily process payments, CEO David Hartstein tells IncTechnology.com.
Elizabeth Wasserman: You have a patented system for sending fresh flowers in water to customers over night. How did that impact your technology decisions?
David Hartstein: We’ve been in business since 1998 and our business has gone through different cycles. Today we have over 30 stores but our business model right now is focused on mainly selling online at KaBloom.com. The majority of our stores are in Massachusetts. We also have stores in Chicago and Florida. But we deliver nationally. Fresh cut flowers that are delivered over night are usually delivered by FedEx without water. When you go through the rigorous distribution and logistics within FedEx, you can not pack flowers in water. Think about taking a bottle of water and putting stems inside. If this ends up on its side or upside down, the water will be all over the place. We have a patented technique where we are the only one in the world that can ship fresh flowers in water via FedEx. Our flowers can be in any position, upside down and sideways, and no water will spill. When we started offering this to customers, we needed a new platform, a new way to communicate with our customer and tell them about what we do, what we have, and why we are different.
Wasserman: What did you decide to do?
Hartstein: We decided to implement a new payment platform called whizPay mainly because it provides reliability and ease of use. It provides a very easy customer checkout process. The back office that we have with it has very rich functions. It assists us with product description, with the content, with our stores and our stores managing platforms. Each store has the ability to manage their orders. It’s a central platform that they can access from different locations. They get a notification when an order comes in for them. They have the ability to log in to the main platform, communicate with the customer, change the order, change the address. Without having to have an administrator do it for them.
Wasserman: At the same time, does it protect your data?
Hartstein: It’s all secure. There is information that can only be managed by the administration and not by each store. They can not delete a customer’s information. There are other benefits, too. For example, say we have a store in Virginia. That store knows their customer base and knows what the customer likes. They have the ability to display the designs that their customer likes so that when the customer orders a certain design, the system knows to go to that store to deliver that product. We have the ability to say that product X can only be delivered from Y location.
Wasserman: What it easy to implement?
Hartstein: It was easy — as far as anything in technology is easy. We launched Sept. 1, 2008 and we never had to during that process shut our site down and bring other alternatives online. There are always hiccups but we’ve never had issues.
Wasserman: What results have you seen?
Hartstein: Since February of this year, we have seen an increase of about 50 percent in orders through the new platform. That is quite astonishing in this market. There are two reasons for this. First, we have a product we sell that no one else sells and that is that we are the only one can deliver flowers in water from coast to coast over night. Second, our management function within our platform allows us to communicate with our customers in a much easier way.