SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 8 February 2021 - As Singaporeans spread the love this Valentine's Day, local florists like Floristique roll up their sleeves to cater to the peak in sales. Unperturbed, owner Wendy Han knows all too well about the hustle. Taking a leaf out of her book, she shares five tips on what e-commerce businesses can do better to remain operationally-ready.



 

1. Build good partnerships

 

One of the most important aspects that underpin the success of Floristque is its partnerships with professionals. Having engaged with logistics company Lalamove, Wendy rests assured that deliveries of her Valentine's Day flowers will run smoothly. 

 

"Logistics is usually the main concern during peak seasons," she adds. "Hiring professional logistic providers to manage the bulk of orders means I can better utilise my manpower."

 

Maintaining relationships with overseas partners for fresh flower delivery is also critical. However, the strong support from local suppliers just minutes from their store means they always have resources to tap on.

 

2. Invest in infrastructure & resources

 

As a florist, one cannot compromise on fresh flowers. Having to pre-book stalks ahead of time to fulfil orders that came in as early as 14 January, there was a need to keep these flowers at best from the moment they arrived. Building a new cold-room to store all her fresh flowers proved effective. Now, she could purchase more in advance and store flowers safely to complete the hundreds of orders that will trickle in on the week of Valentine's Day.

 

Her brand new fleet of vans that are delivery-ready is also something Wendy can't get enough of. "They are bigger, so they can hold more flowers. I no longer have to worry about the lack of resources to complete my orders on the last-mile."

 

Investments such as these, she notes, are necessary when you consider a long-term perspective.

 

3. Go digital

 

Fresh flowers must always be delivered on time, so Wendy found a solution in a custom-built GPS where delivery locations are optimised to each driver on the road. Hiring a programmer was necessary for this, she says, adding that businesses must look towards streamlining processes and simplifying workflows with the help of technology wherever possible. "Embrace the technologies and make them work for you."

 

4. Expand your team

 

After observing month-on-month growth in sales, Wendy knew her team would not be able to handle the uptick in orders when the peak season arrives. In a strategic move, she invested in experienced florists and customer service assistants trained to work collaboratively on day-to-day operations. Noting that it may not always be cost-effective for businesses to expand manpower just to meet the surge, Wendy advises exploring freelancers and part-timers as a temporary solution.

 

5. Set operational strategies

 

A strong strategy for operations is always essential to businesses like Floristique. Foreseeing the peak in orders on Valentine's Day itself, Wendy sets a plan. First, she ensures to cap her orders within her production and operational capacities, so nobody - florists and drivers - is overworked and no order is compromised. Second, she will have enough staff on standby to cater to any last-minute requests.

 

"Always have a plan B too if things go wrong," Wendy adds. "Customer service is more important during such seasons, so having a full-proof strategy is necessary."


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