FlowerManager™ is a floral ecommerce and marketing platform created specifically for florists. It is a fully custom platform that is deeply integrated with Teleflora’s RTI, FTD’s Mercury, and MAS Direct. It is used by industry leading florists nationwide, generates over a hundred million dollars in floral sales annually, and has 6–8 million users using the platform annually.
FlowerManager™ has been in use for over 20 years and had seen many interations, but it was in need a more modern upgrade to the front end experience for the user. The client was able to choose from a variety of themes based around seasons and holidays to customize their own personal commerce site. As sites needed to be more user-friendly and responsive, clients began looking for something a bit more subtle.
I was tasked with creating a simpler, more minimal theme that could be used by any of the clients, at any time of year or season. One of the challenges was designing around a product that was already being used extensively throughout the country and keeping the experience for the clients completely seamless. I had to keep their buttons in a similar place, their SKU numbers, sale banners, and other important details that 65+ clients were accustomed to, while creating something that looked new and modern. When I began the process, I started by removing the superfluous design elements and stripping away the front end to it’s bare bones. By doing this, I was able to see what was underneath the paint job and focus on making the important elements more prominent to create a better user experience for the client’s clients to purchase flowers and gifts.
One of the biggest changes I made was to remove the text in graphics. I wanted to increase each of the client’s awareness in search engines as much as possible, since a lot of their traffic comes directly from user’s searching for “local florist.” This also meant less work creating graphics for their in-house designers who weren’t necessarily trained in how to web design.
Each of the sites is chock full of content, so I updated the font to a sans-serif to make the site easier to read. I also continued the idea of themes by creating over 30 different color variations. Each client was able to choose based on a styleguide that I created so they could feel confident the color they chose worked best for their branding. They still had the option of using a red or pink theme during Valentine’s Day or an orange theme once the temperatures dropped for fall, but this way, they could let their holiday products take center stage versus the distracting holiday graphics in the background.
By creating this themed system for the extensive platform, I eliminated the need for bulky graphics and patterns that weren’t mobile-friendly. When I was writing the code for the site, I devised a CSS system that needed only a few lines of code changed for each theme. I was able to create themes on the fly and at the request of our clients, something I wasn’t able to do efficiently using the old system. This also allowed for a much faster load time on multiple devises because most of the visuals were created using code instead of graphics.
Driving change for 65+ clients from all over the country was an exciting challenge to take on. Once I had integrated the new front end design and code for the FlowerManager™ platform, many of the client’s made the switch at once. We did user tests to verify our hypothesis that the minimal theme would allow users to truly see the beautiful arrangements our clients were creating and increase in sales were immediately felt. The clients who had not switched saw the value in showcasing their work in a more modern setting and soon after, all of the clients are now using the new minimal theme.