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WEBSITES:
POTENTIAL ADVANTAGES FOR FLORAL FINDS

Prepared for
Ms. Kristy McCluskey
Manager
Floral Finds

Prepared by
Mr. Ethan Johnson
Publicity Manager
Floral Finds

December 21, 2009


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Transmittal Memorandum

December 21, 2009

TO: Ms. Kristy McCluskey, Manager


FROM: Ethan Johnson, Publicity Chair
Amy Jones, Publicity Personnel
Tom Worthington, Publicity Personnel

SUBJECT: Recommendation for constructing a website for Floral Finds

On November 20, 2009, Ms. Kristy McCluskey requested that the publicity committee submit a
recommendation regarding the development of a website for Floral Finds. That report is now
ready for submission.

The committee’s major recommendation is that Floral Finds establishes a website as a means of
advertising and attracting new customers.

That conclusion was reached after four weeks of investigative research and surveys. Local small
businesses who had reached out to an internet audience were contacted and questioned about the
effects of their websites, as were small flower shops in other areas of the country whose
companies also had websites. Surveys were issued to floral designers within the company and
customers to better predict the community’s reaction. Literature on creating a profitable space on
the internet was consulted.

The research has shown that developing a Floral Finds website would be beneficial to the
company. Designers and customers expressed an interest in the concept. The small businesses,
including local businesses and cross-country competition, agreed that the websites increased
interest in their businesses. The committee is grateful to all who contributed in the investigative
process.

If any Management members have any additional questions, a member of the publicity
committee will be available to help and can be reached at extension 5892.

The committee members appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the development of the
company.
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CONTENTS

Page

Letter of Transmittal ……………………………………………………………… 2

Executive Summary …………………………………………………………..….. 4

I. Introduction ……………………………………………………..... 5

A. Authorization & Purpose …………………………………….. 5


B. The Problem at Floral Finds …………………………………. 5
C. Methods of Investigation ……………………………………. 6
D. Plan of Presentation …………………………………………... 6

II. Conclusions and Recommendations ……………………………… 6

III. Description of Implementing the Website ………………………… 7

A. Description of the Website ……………………………………. 8


B. Costs of the Website …………………………………………… 8
C. Administration of the Website ………………………………… 9

IV. Benefits of Developing the Website ………………………………. 10

Appendix A: Survey Responses …………………………………………… 11


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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

Executive Summary

Title Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

Authorization This report is in reply to the request of the Manager, Ms. Kristy
recommendation McCluskey, that the publicity committee investigate the potential
effects of developing a website for Floral Finds. The committee
recommends the development of a company website.

Process of review, The recommendation is based on the results of four weeks of


methodology investigative research and surveys. Local small businesses who
had reached out to an internet audience were contacted and
questioned about the effects of their websites. Flower shops
across the country, too far to be considered competition, were
asked the reasons behind their company’s website or lack
thereof. Surveys were issued to floral designers within the
company as well as customers. Writings on how to create a
profitable space on the internet were consulted.

Problems Some designers were concerned that the availability of online


showcasing and ordering would cause a decline in store traffic.
This was a legitimate concern, as an online showcase can’t
provide expert tips and recommendations the way an in-person
designer is able to. Fortunately, the results of our research
indicate that though most customers would appreciate the ability
to preview the designers’ work online, they intend to do their
ordering in person. Responses indicate that viewing the work
online is considered a means of narrowing down what the
customer wants, but the customers recognize the true value of
interacting with the designer to obtain the best possible product.

Time frame Finally, if the committee’s recommendation is accepted, the


website can be designed within three months.
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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

I. Introduction

Floral Finds has been an asset to the community for many years. The company has a
reputation for respecting and taking pride in the work of its designers and for valuing
the employees. This is evident in the traditions and programs that have been
established over the years as a result of employee suggestions. Traditions include the
annual design conference and Designer of the Month program, which encourage the
expression of unique and creative designs, as well as the annual holiday party, which
invites the development of relationships among employees and their families. Floral
Finds is constantly striving to meet the needs and desires of employees and customers
alike. Research indicates that “today’s customers value their time above all,” (Don
Phin). The Floral Finds mission statement asserts that the company strives to offer the
most reliable customer service, and investigates the development of a website to show
its respect for the customers’ time.

Authorization and Purpose

This report, authorized by Ms. Kristy McCluskey on November 20, 2009, is intended
to analyze if the development of a website would be beneficial to Floral Finds. The
publicity committee recognizes the importance of transitioning the small business into
the 21st century, which places an emphasis on availability through the internet. The
committee has gone to great lengths to analyze the potential responses of the
company’s valued designers and customers, as they stand to be most impacted by he
development of a website.

The Problem at Floral Finds

Floral Finds must consider the decision regarding the development of a website from
two points of view: the feelings of and potential effects on the designer, and the
feelings of and potential effects on the customer.
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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

Methods of Investigation

The committee conducted research from three categories of sources:

1. Local small business owners and cross-country small-scale flower shops who
expanded their businesses to include a website. These sources were questioned
about the effects of their websites on their businesses. The committee sought to
discover if the websites were a positive addition to the companies or a negative
expense.

2. Designers/employees and customers, whom would be most impacted by the


potential website. Designers were surveyed to gauge their interest in the website.
Customers were surveyed to evaluate their desire to use the website as well as
their motivations to consult the hypothetical website.

3. Literature on developing a profitable space on the internet was consulted as a


means of learning the potential pitfalls of establishing a website. This literature
was used to approximate the cost of the website’s development.

Plan of Presentation

With the above sources as background, the committee’s report will proceed to lay out
specific recommendations for the development of the website and will conclude with
the benefits of developing the website.

II. Conclusions and Recommendations

A. That Floral Finds establish a website.


B. That the website’s main focus should be displaying the designers’ works and
providing customers with inspiration and ideas.
C. That an order form be made available for small and simple orders like basic
flower delivery, to appeal to the audience with simpler desires.
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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

III. Description of Implementing the Website

Before describing the program, the committee wishes to address the most important
results discovered in our literary research.

A. Internet marketing success depends on


1. Identifying the customer.
2. Addressing their specific needs an an informative and friendly manner
3. Making it easy for them to do business with you (Phin).
B. It is important to remember that “today’s customers value their time above
all” (Phin).
C. A website should be designed for more than marketing the company’s
products. A website should:
1. Give customers the same level of service available from a salesperson.
The committee’s survey research has shown that customers of Floral
Finds remain interested in face-to-face interactions. However, the
committee recommends that simpler flower arrangements be available
for ordering online, and that an employee should be available to
answer any questions from an online customer.
2. Personalize interactions with customers to establish loyalty.
The committee recommends the implementation of customer accounts
that allow easy access to the customer’s area of choice. For example, a
bride-to-be should be able to log in and view wedding- related
arrangements on her homepage (Salhman 102).
D. The three most important considerations in our decision to recommend the
development of a website were:
1. The company’s ability to gather information about individual
customers to make it easier for them to do business, which was
gathered through surveys.
2. The ability to provide assistance to online customers, which would be
done through an online consultant.
3. That the company would be at a disadvantage if it did not establish a
website before competitors took the initiative (Salhman 103).
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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

Description of the Website

The website will contain photographs of the designers’ best and most creative works.
The selection of photographs will display a wide array of arrangements to showcase the
designers flexibility and ability to design unique arrangements. The photographs will be
divided into sections; we suggest categories such as wedding, romantic holiday,general
holiday and designer spotlight but are open to suggestions from the designers, as it is
their work on display. Customers will have the ability to create fully customizable
accounts which will permit them to select what content appears on their homepage.
Inspiration arrangements will be suggested in a sidebar based on the content the customer
chooses to appear on their homepage. A Frequently Asked Questions section will be
established.

Costs of the Website

The committee contacted several web development companies in order to provide an


accurate estimate. The estimates were based on the following criteria:

Type of website: Small local business


Type of service needed: New site construction; no previous template
Approximate number of pages: 100
Necessary services:
o Flash (to create an appealing design)
o News/blog (to update with company news, sales and specials, etc.)
o Online forms (for online orders)
o Content management (to update the website)
o Photo gallery (to display designers’ arrangements)
o Calendar (to remind customers of important dates and allow them to view
their order history)
o Multimedia (to enhance the customers’ experience)
Need database: Yes
Need domain name: Yes, www.floralfinds.com
Need hosting: Yes
Need logo created: If necessary to integrate paper logo onto web

(continued on next page)


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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

Estimates from the web develop companies indicated that based on this criteria, the initial
development of the Floral Finds website would cost approximately $3,500. Annual costs
would amount to $1,760, broken down as follows:

Domain name: $10


Hosting: $250
Site management: $1,500
The site manager will handle any necessary website updates, including
adding new photographs and pages and managing technical issues.

Administration of the Website

As stated previously, the site manager, who is hired as an external contractor, will handle
any updates necessary for the website. The committee recognizes the importance of
bringing in this outside expert and does not wish to burden designers with learning to
manage their own content. Furthrmore, enlisting a site manager will ensure that the site’s
design is streamlined and universally appealing.

Photographs of the designers’ arrangements will be taken by the designers themselves


with the digital camera owned by Floral Finds. Research conducted for the Designer of
the Month program indicated that customers were pleased with the designers’
photographs of their own work and to hire an external photographer would thus be an
unnecesary expense.

The Frequently Asked Questions section will feature a submission forms should the
customer feel unsatisfied with the FAQ’s answers. The customer will have the option to
direct his or her question to Floral Finds in general (for example, policy and pricing
questions) or to a specific designer, referencing one of the designer’s arrangements.
General inquiries will be handled by the manager, while designers will respond to
questions directed at them. The committee expects that responses will be prompt and
timely; to ensure customer satisfaction there will be a mandatory policy under which
responses must be delivered within 24 hours of receipt of the question.
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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

IV. Benefits of Developing the Website

1. Floral Finds will increase its revenue.

The implementation of online ordering for simple arrangements such as a bouqet of


red roses will appeal to a greater number of customers. The committee’s research has
shown that while many customers are interested in the company’s products, they do
not have the time to stop by and order simple arrangements for their loved ones. An
online form will make ordering such products a quick and easy process, which will
appeal to those customers who do not wish to devote hours to choosing their
arrangements.

2. Designers will be encouraged to create unique designs.

The designers’ work will be showcased on website. Each designer will have a
Designer Spotlight page, where photographs of the designers work will be displayed
side by side. The designers take great pride in their arrangements and will want each
arrangement to demonstrate their talents. If in seeing the designs side by side the
designer recognizes that his or her arrangements are often very similar, the designer
will be inspired to create more varied arrangements.

3. Floral Finds will increase its customer base.

The committee anticipates that the website will be utilized by three categories of
customers: the regulars who wish to gain ideas of what they’d like by viewing
photographs of the designers’ arrangements, those who have an interest in basic
arrangements but don’t have the time or desire to enter the flower shop in person, and
those who stumble upon the website as a result of keywords, advertisements and
recommendations and are thus inspired to do business with the shop. The latter is a
currently untapped market; the website will help Floral Finds forge a connection with
such customers and thus increase its customer base.
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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

Appendix A
Survey Responses

A survey of 20 Floral Finds Designers was conducted to gauge employee feelings toward the
prospect of a company website. A survey of 20 Floral Finds customers was also conducted. The
results are presented in the following charts. Chart A represents the results of the designer
survey; Chart B represents the results of the customer survey.

Chart A
Designer/Employee Survey:
What are your feelings on expanding the business to include a website?

Somewhat Not interested, Interested with


interested with 5 no hesitations,
many 20
hesitations, 10

Interested with
some
hesitations, 65
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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

Chart B
Customer Survey:
Would you be interested in a Floral Finds website?

Not interested, Interested to


5 place all orders,
10

Interested to
Interested to place some
view designs orders, 25
for inspiration,
60
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Websites:
Potential Advantages for Floral Finds

Sources

“How Much Should a Website Cost?” Webpage FX. 2008. 16 December 2009.
< http://www.webpagefx.com/How-much-should-web-site-cost.html>.

Phin, Don. “Don Phin Book Summary.” Summary of Customers.com: How to Create aProfitable
Business Strategy for the Internet and Beyond, by Patricia B. Seybold. 2009.
16 December 2009 < http://www.donphin.com/Booksummary.asp>.

Salhman, William et al. The Entrepreneurial Venture. 2nd ed. Boston: Harvard Business School
Press, 1999.

Taylor, Ed. Internet Marketing Group. 2009. 16 December 2009.


<http://www.internetmarketinggroup.com/index.html>.

“Web Development Cost Estimate.” Dot Launch. 2009. 16 December 2009.


<http://www.dotlaunch.com/development/webestimate.shtml>.