Andrey Makeev began to develop a service for managing bus tours Bustourpro, but soon realized that he could not achieve his goal - to earn a billion dollars. The idea of a flower shop aggregator seemed larger. He assembled a small team of his acquaintances and launched a service connecting those involved in the creation and delivery of bouquets with customers.
For the first six months of work, FlowWow reached a revenue of 200-300 thousand rubles per month. By the end of the year, it should amount to 10 million rubles a month. The plans are to overtake the American competitor BloomNation and enter the European market.
Launch date: January 2014
30 thousand rubles
flower shop aggregator
co-founder of FlowWow
How it all began
Last summer, I participated in the Tolstoy Summer Camp Yandex program with the Bustourpro bus tour management project. With him, in October 2013, I came to the Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF), but later quit my startup. The fact is that I always had a dream to make a billion dollars, and with this project I would definitely not get it.
At Tolstoy Summer Camp, I met Artyom Gambitsky. Once they sat with him in a park near a lake and wondered what to do. I thought that flowers are a huge market and just a pleasant business. So we got the idea to create an aggregator of FlowWow flower shops. In the fall, we decided to test it - to check how much it can be claimed. I agreed with several stores, took the website template of the online store in WordPress, made it up, bought a domain for 100 rubles and posted the goods. The whole process took about a week. Every day I had five or six meetings with representatives of the stores. I talked with them, found out how the business works, what problems he has and how we can help him. We attracted users mainly through contextual advertising.
By January, we had about 200 stores on our site. We explained to them how to photograph bouquets correctly (we asked professional photographers how to make a beautiful photo, even if you only have a mobile phone).
The company finds partners from among flower shops in directoriesEntrepreneurs make sure that the prices on the site are the same as at the outlet
The service connects flower shops with customers in his city. To be on the site, a store or a florist must register, write the time of work and delivery, upload a photo and description of the goods. In his personal account, he controls the mode of operation, monitors the flow of orders and income. There he writes the status of the order - "accepted" and "completed." He sets the delivery price himself. His logo and contacts are visible on the product page, so for him this is a good advertisement. When a client visits the site, he sets an acceptable range of bouquet cost and looks for it in his city - by colors, shades or events (for example, “Birth of a child”, “Wedding” and “Forgive me”). An order can be made through the website, by phone and with the help of an online consultant.
We have our own payment system: the client’s money comes to us, and after delivery we transfer them to the store. There are many payment methods: through bank cards, communication stores, QIWI terminals, electronic money and even Bitcoin (they have never been used, though, before). If the client is unsatisfied with something, we will return the money to him or we will find an alternative. After delivery, he receives an SMS with a proposal to evaluate the quality of service.
We have built trusting relationships with partners - they themselves tell us when people want to get around our system and agree directly. Once a client could not pay for our order. He went to the website of the Modern store itself, found the same product there and ordered it. Employees of the "Modern" tracked this and wrote to us: "This man came from you, we will send you the money."
I was shocked.
We built trusting relationship
with partners -
they tell us themselves when people want get around our system
and agree directly
The flower business consists of three areas. Private florists make bouquets and do not sell flowers separately. Wholesale and retail companies, on the contrary, buy thousands, for example, roses and sell them at 51, at 101 pieces - they have better prices. Conventional stores offer both. Wedding floristics stands out separately - it includes a range of services, including the decoration of halls.
At first we wanted to work only with shops, but then we realized that private florists have better prices. The store throws on top an additional margin, with which the cost of the bouquet increases by 6-10 times.
While the service takes up to eight orders per day.
Average bill - 2,500 rubles
There are services on the market that deliver flowers, but we do not consider them competitors - these are potential partners. But we do not work with explicit intermediaries: they exist on the principle of "wrapped several thousand rubles in a bouquet, placed an advertisement, received an order and handed over the stall to the city where they ordered it." As a result - incredibly high prices for bouquets. Our task is to change this. We thought that we would not host such major players as Florist.ru and AMF. They create their bouquets, beautifully photograph and sell throughout Russia - users of Chelyabinsk and Voronezh see the same assortment. The order is transferred to the store of a particular city so that it creates the desired bouquet from the photo. However, florists do not always know how to repeat bouquets from the picture. Hence the problem arises - it happens that they bring not what the client imagined. We give flower sellers the opportunity to place goods with us, with their prices and photos. Since stores have already created such bouquets, they make them look like in the picture. So far, we have not had a single situation that the client complained about the dissimilarity of the goods.
We earn from each sale - we take a commission from stores of 20%. At the same time, we control the cost of the bouquets presented at our place - it should not be higher than in the stores themselves. Now we are cooperating with about 600 flower dots throughout Russia. Every day, on average, we accept seven to eight orders, on weekends - about five to six. The average bill is 2,500 rubles. A few months ago, we received an investment from IIDF of 1.4 million rubles. Now we are talking with investors about new injections. According to some business angels, for a project to fire, at least 9 million rubles are needed only at the initial stage. Our average revenue so far is 200-300 thousand rubles a month.
Acquiring became our main pain: I had to go to banks and negotiate more favorable conditions. As a result, the decision-making process, checks and signing of documents took two months. System setup is another month, plus it took time to fix bugs. Currently, everything is connected and working.
Now there are problems with photos in the profiles of shops - sometimes the person in the picture takes up more space than the bouquet itself, and sometimes it is generally not clear what is for sale. Many people tend to frame alcohol to make it look romantic, but the law "On Advertising" does not allow placing such a thing. We even put together a collection of the funniest photos.
So far we have not many resources, so on March 8 we had to close. On this day, stores are heavily loaded, they may delay orders or not bring them at all, and the negative would go to us. We decided to reduce the risks.
We find stores in the 2GIS directory, and there were many florists on social networks - we contact them and offer to host with us. We attract users with the help of contextual advertising, VKontakte targeting, we buy teaser traffic from porn networks - all these are the cheapest tools. We filter porn traffic by city, age and target action.
Many market players are not good friends with the Internet, and even more so with social networks - this is their fault. And now we are actively working on mechanisms that will allow us to pump orders out of people through social networks. For example, if a girl has a birthday soon, the day before we want to remind her of this to her young man through targeted advertising. The technology is complex, but if we manage to implement it, it will allow us to grow well. While we offer the buyer to place an order again after some time.
Many market players are not good friends
with internet, and with social networks all the more - this is their fault
Our advantage is that we can work in small towns. Recently there was such a story: a guy from Borisoglebsk called and said that his girlfriend was in the village of Krasnorechenka, Voronezh Region. He knew that after a few days she went to the hospital for an operation, and decided to send her a bouquet. He searched the flower shops on the Internet, but all refused him. I decided to help personally - I phoned about ten stores of Krasnorechenka, but none of them worked with delivery. Then he went to the site of the administration of Borisoglebsk, found three points in the reference number, two of them did not work, but one contact led me to a flower shop. We quickly placed it with us, sent the link to the guy, he paid for the order, and the bouquet went to Krasnorechenka.
For development, we need about $ 500,000 investment. For the money that is still available, we check how the service works and how it can develop.
Investors also want to earn money, so you need to show them the result in the next six months. If we cross the border of 3-5 million rubles per month, we can reinvest profits. But by the end of the year we plan to achieve revenue of 10 million rubles a month. We are going to partner with large platforms like Mamba - they now offer users to give each other virtual gifts, but they can also offer real ones. Flowers for dating service is a great option.
In the future we want to enter the European market and overtake the American competitor BloomNation. While it works only on the east coast - we have a chance to get ahead of them. And the global goal is to increase demography in the country. Men should give women flowers more often.
TEXT: Alina Tolmacheva
PHOTO: Semen Katz