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2/18/2005
08:48 PM
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Order-Management Software Brings Automation To Online Florist

With new order-management software, UrbanFlorist.com has eliminated manual processes that took at least 11 people to complete.

Canadian retailer UrbanFlorist.com used to rely on a manual system to process its orders, but deploying CommercialWare Inc.'s OrderMotion order-management software helped the online florist get a 15% jump in revenue per employee and cut its fulfillment errors in half during the Valentine's Day holiday.

The online florist used to run a small shop in the Vancouver area, but the company saw 1,000% annual revenue growth over the past three years after taking its business online. Still, the florist was looking to eliminate its manual process of taking and fulfilling orders for flowers, which required that every order pass through the hands of at least 11 people. "We used to have a very heavy paper trail and our staff handled almost 10,000 printed pages a day," says Alif Somani, CEO of UrbanFlorist.

To automate its order-taking process, UrbanFlorist deployed OrderMotion in early December and since then has cut its error rate from 6% to 3%, Somani says. "We invested in a technology that supports our customer-service department so that they can do their job more effectively," he says. This means sales representatives can now spend more time taking orders and less time managing them, which has resulted in a 15% increase in sales per representative.

The software centralizes all the company's in-house back-end operations, including order capture, fulfillment, inventory management, payment processing, database management, and reports generation, and integrates all orders coming in via mail, phone, fax, and the Internet into one platform. Additionally, OrderMotion can be integrated with FTD's Mercury Network, which supports order messaging among more than 70,000 member florists worldwide.

This Valentine's Day, UrbanFlorist received as many orders in five days as it did during the entire Christmas season. Yet the florist was able to deliver a better overall customer experience because it had a good handle on its order processing and management, Somani says.

"With OrderMotion we have been able to eliminate our paper trail and support our customers on the spot. We've also been able to automate all our order information, customer information, [customer-relationship management], and support mechanisms," Somani says. "After all, our concern is not putting out orders but taking care of customers' needs, and having the right technology in place is essential to do that."

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