This week the team discuss one of their favourite apps from ‘mobile-first’ flower retailer Bloom and Wild. The team discuss how a mobile app out-performs web shops and and how the small(er) guy can leapfrog the competition with a bit of help from the app store.
Ben: Hello and welcome to 361, the weekly podcast about mobile tech, and everything around it. My name is Ben Smith.
Rafe: I'm Rafe Blanford
Ewan: And I'm Ewan MacLeod
Ben: This is season 11 and Episode 2, and this week we're talking about ...
Rafe: One of our favorite mobile apps from Flower Bouquet and Bloom and Wild.
Ewan: And how the small guy can leapfrog the competition with a bit of help from the App Store.
Ben: Welcome back chaps.
Ben: Rafe is slow out of the blocks this week. He's looking tired.
Rafe: Because I was victimized so much in the last episode.
Ewan: Oh ... You weren't victimized.
Rafe: I'm just feeling really low.
Ben: Oh. That's because you're short.
Rafe: It's the oldies but the goodies.
Ben: Exactly, I can't work out sometimes if you're saying this deliberately for the laugh.
Rafe: I wish I was that organised.
Ben: So how are you doing guys?
Ewan: Spiffing. I'm very good.
Ben: Any news?
Rafe: Well I think we should have some news about smarter homes because I'm really confident that I'm actually going to have a smarter home than you.
Ben: Rafe's bringing the game early.
Ewan: You say that Blanford, but my prediction is that you'll do a good talk, but actually won't do much, there you go.
Rafe: Coming from you, that's pretty damning.
Ewan: Well no I think Rafe will be ... because he is quite a functional chap, is Blanford.
Rafe: Wow this is getting better and better.
Ben: Going to put that on your bio on 361podcast.com ... "Rafe- quite a functional chap."
Ewan: No what I mean is, he has an appreciation for things that do a [inaudible 00:01:57] job, whereas I would actually buy the one that's shinier. I wouldn't do a Smith- Ben Smith- who's gone and bought the more expensive Apple watch.
Ben: It's because I have taste.
Ewan: Right, fine. But I think Blanford, I reckon, is going to be challenged by this challenge.
Rafe: You make the shiny decision, Ben makes the spreadsheet decision, and I make the utilitarian decision, is what you're trying to say.
Ewan: There you go, exactly. Rafe is going to have the smartest yurt in the ... No I reckon he'll find it quite difficult to do a lot of the smarter home things.
Ben: Well let's get a smartest home competition update, then Rafe Blanford, give us a quick rundown on where you're at.
Rafe: So I've been looking at some of the Phillip Hughes stuff because they've actually just come out with a new line of products, including an [inaudible 00:02:36] light switch, and so actually more powerful lumen, so brighter lights.
Ben: Welcome to 361 podcast. For the next 10 weeks, we're going to ask you to be excited about light switches with a straight face.
Rafe: I know, but then I've also been looking at SmartThings. Which is actually a Samsung company, and I can't believe I'm saying this but actually they have a very agnostic approach in terms of working with lots of other things.
Ben: Does it work with iPhones?
Rafe: Works with iPhones, it works with Windows phone ... I reckon one of the keys to this challenge is going to be actually getting everything to talk to each other and to be integrated. Because I'm sure you've come across loads of stuff already, and I'm at that point where I'm still doing the research and working out what's going to be the best thing to get.
Ewan: So lighting at the moment is it?
Rafe: I mean the things that RAM music is kind of obvious because it's [inaudible 00:03:27] if I really want to do that.
Ewan: See I don't think you've got one have you? And I don't think you will ever have a Sonos I reckon you'll think, "I'm perfectly fine with my phone, thank you very much."
Rafe: I haven't got one, and yeah I've sort of-
Ewan: See he's going to lose. Bet there's no Sonos on Windows phone app that's why he can't have it.
Ben: Good point, good point.
Rafe: Actually it's in beta at the moment, like all the other Windows phone apps.
Ewan: The biggest problem I have is a fear of buying the wrong platform-
Rafe: Just so you're with it, that's FOMO- Fear Of Missing Out. Just get with the-
Ewan: Is if fear of missing out? I thought it was a false mustache- a faux mo'.
Ben: Oh dear ... He's on it isn't it.
Rafe: It's Movember as well.
Ewan: I think that I will either go for Netgear- Netgear have got Arlo, that's their brand I've seen. They've just launched some new stuff there that looks quite interesting, I'm rather attracted-
Ben: Because you look at your home router and you go, "Hmm ..."
Ewan: That's the thing, everywhere you look all have got a different platform. So Netgear have got their one, Nest have got their one ...
Rafe: But do you want to put those things on show in your home?
Ewan: From a home ultimation, smarter home thing, I'm particularly interested in security and home monitoring. That kind of thing, I like that. That's what got me into Netgear's Arlo stuff- A-R-L-O. I've been looking at LightwaveRF, oh I think mentioned Canary last time. I'm close to buying one but then I ... If you buy that, does it work with this, does it work with that, does it work with Nest? So I feel that I need to wait.
Ben: This is week 2 of 10 though so you've got to get buying soon.
Ewan: I know ... That's why I haven't done anything with Smarter Home at all. I just wait for these people to sort it out because I don't want to go and spend 500 pounds or 1000 pounds and find that that stuff doesn't fit with the stuff, it doesn't connect with the stuff.
Rafe: So Ben, I'm a little bit suspicious of the fact that he thinks that the smart home industry is going to sort itself out in 8 weeks. I think he's actually [crosstalk 00:05:22] last time, waiting for other people to buy things first so he doesn't look quite so stupid this time around.
Ben: I think what he's going to do is look at what you and I buy, work out how much it costs, then buy something 50% more expensive and claim it's better.
Rafe: Yeah, I think that's probably right. What about you Ben? Have you been doing your research?
Ben: I've been doing my research and I've hit a brick wall early because I sort of have slightly cheated. As much as I've wanted a Nest for a long time, and quite aside from this I wanted a Nest because we have underfloor heating in our house which quite a lot of people do. And that's great, but-
Ewan: They had that years ago in the Blanford estate.
Ben: I know but that was literally just because that was a man downstairs in the cellar, with a fire lit, you know.
Rafe: That's a hypocaust. It's what the Romans had. They lit fires underneath their floors it was supported on.
Ewan: I knew that, I just thought you guys had something like a man blowing or something.
Ben: I wanted my Nest and I wanted to because a Nest predicts when it's going to be cold, and when it's going to be hot. It kind of will predictably turn ... I thought, "That's what I want!" Because the only thing that frustrates me about the floor heating is, if I want to be warm now, I've got to turn my heating on 4 hours ago. At the moment, we have a thermostat- it'll come up to temperature, and the thermostat will go click. But now, the floor's really warm and it's giving off heat for hours and hours and hours. So you end up with this cycle of being too hot and too cold, and too hot and too cold. The answer really is, buy a predictive system, and we haven't got one. Because that means you'll be aligned to the Nest family of products because Nest is Google, Goggle bought Dropcam. I spent hours reading and researching about it and then realized, "Oh yeah, it doesn't actually control the type of heating system we have." That kind of, "Am I actually going to tear up the pipes in my house and take out the boiler and the heating ...?" No. So I do want a Nest, but I need one that can cope with the zones and the type of heating that we have in the place, and a Nest quite definitely doesn't at the moment. Certainly in the UK, it would cope with normal water-filled radiators in bedrooms and things but, unfortunately, this system is slightly more complicated-
Ewan: That's an interesting point because the LighwaveRF technology- that will have fixed onto your radiator. So that will par each individual radiator, and that is quite exciting.
Ben: So that is now the next plan. Which is, first of all, I'm going to stop looking at American-originated systems because American systems work differently and there's quite a lot of adaptation that takes place in the way they work and all that kinds of things for the UK. There's a couple of systems from the UK, including one that British Gas sell- and you don't have to be a British Gas customer-
Ewan: I was looking at that yes, I was really thinking about Hive as well.
Ben: So going to go and have a look at that one instead because that one comes with a man who fits it and it's specifically designed for the types of heating systems we have in the UK. So going to give that one a try. But 1 weekend, really gutted because nearly all of my research wasted going through the FAQs ... Very late, or in the process-
Ewan: They're not very good these things are they?
Ben: Just about to hit 'buy' as I thought, "We're going to stick this on the wall," my wife's going to go, "Another new toy I have to learn." Actually, she's pretty tolerant about a lot of nonsense in our house ... And then it's not going to work. Or the guy's going to show up on installation day and go, "No, this is not right." Okay so, thus far, not a lot of success. But I'm looking forward to you guys getting something.
Ewan: I think I'll probably move on this for the next episode, I reckon.
Rafe: We'll get right on that. What about this week's episode?
Ben: Okay Ewan MacLeod, tell us all about what we're talking about this week.
Ewan: Well this week we're talking about florists.
Ben: How lovely, did you get me some?
Ewan: No, actually we're talking about the next generation of buying, of shopping, of transactions. We're also talking about how the marketplace is going to change for everything beyond all recognition.
Ben: We have a theory don't we? Rafe Blanford is a heartless, heartless man and he never buys flowers for anyone. "Because you can look at them for free in the park," that's what he says. Then he kicks a puppy.
Ewan: Just bring them in every morning from the estate, "Your flowers m'lud."
Ben: You and I have got a favorite flower retailer here in the UK called Bloom and Wild, and you and I were having a chat the other week and we decided that we've got this theory that although they're a flower retailer, they are indicative of what buying stuff through mobile is going to be like; and the reason why buying stuff through mobile is actually better than regular online commerce.
Ewan: Yes, and the reality that if you get it right, you can market through these platforms quite effectively. We're also connected nowadays- if you get it right, then you can really displace the major companies operating in that marketplace.
Rafe: This is why I think this topic is a really interesting one to explore, because so much of mobile commerce- if we call it that- generally to start with has been about existing players getting into the space. All the big conglomerates, like Amazon, sort of using scale to get there, but there's actually some very interesting observations you can make about somewhat essentially smaller players, but can play at the global or national level.
Ben: So let's take it back to the start. Let's do wavy hands ... Back to the beginning.
Ewan: So if you've been a long-time listener, you would have heard me as a Thing of the Week ... I think it was Season 10, I said, "My thing of the week is Bloom and Wild." I discovered it on the Amazon App Store as an editor's pick.
Ben: The Amazon app store?
Ewan: Oh sorry, sorry, that's interesting isn't it. I discovered it on the Apple app store, sorry, I use Amazon so much. I clicked on it and I thought, "Oh, an app, it's only for flowers," but Bloom and Wild, the concept is, you use their mobile app and all you can do- at this point, maybe it was 6 to 8 months ago- is send a series of 6 different sets of flowers to someone in the UK, job done. Then you pay for it via the app. I had cause to use it and I thought, "I don't know, I'll just try it out." I think they texted me, or they did a smart ... The thing these small companies have to do, which is make the price relevant enough. I think it was 15 pounds for a bouquet and I thought, "Oh, might as well try it, what's it going to cost, let's just try it." I think I sent some flowers to my wife, and I was astonished I actually used it-
Ben: Someone's wife.
Ewan: I actually sent the flowers as I was walking across ... I walk to the bridge, I just pulled the phone out and by the end of the bridge, I'd sent the flowers. Fascinating, it's also [inaudible 00:12:03] with Apple Pay, it's a beautiful experience, and of what they do- and this is something that you pointed out very effectively- is they show you on the app, 'this is what you're buying'. Because the concern you have is if you're sending flowers, how does this work? I know how this is done normally and I haven't had a very good experience with it in the past. But on the app, it shows you a little box that fits through the letterbox, and the flowers fit into this box. I thought, "You know that looks quite sensible, it's quite smartly priced ... It was quite keenly priced."
Ben: If people haven't seen this, it's a similar idea to those Graze snack boxes, which is the whole packaging is designed to fit through any letterbox so you always know it's going to be delivered reliably, whether you're in or out or whatever.
Ewan: So what you're talking about is a very long box with maybe 10, or 12, or 20 flowers, long stems ... And each flower's individually wrapped which the recipients tend to react very well to. When I saw it, I thought, "15 pounds?" I thought that was a very special offer, I'll try it ... Bang, done. I was hooked, absolutely hooked. Because the user interface and the experience of it, is such that whenever I think, "Oh I need to buy someone that present," or actually a relative of mine is recently pregnant ... Bang, done. I think within about 40 seconds of hearing the news from my wife, I went bang, bang, bang, flowers sent, done. That was using Bloom and Wild app, really really quick. That's because I had the address already in my phone, click, click, done. I paid with Apple Pay, didn't have to think about it- just picked the first flowers I could see, done, done, next.
Ben: Now Rafe, in the past, if you were going to buy something, and we're talking about flowers today ... So in the UK and actually globally, there's the Interflora brand which is a network that works across local florists and they do delivery for each other. But Ewan think, "Oh I need to buy some flowers so I'll go to the brand I know off the top of my head." He went to the app store and found an editor's pick. That seems to have almost taken away Interflora's marketing position, almost in a heartbeat isn't it?
Rafe: I will say I think you and many other people listening to this podcast will be different in that they're more open-minded to this idea of disruption and new brands. Because we shouldn't underestimate the power of brand. But I do think mobile ... Because there are new discovery mechanisms emerging and because it is effectively a new environment, the value of traditional brands is lessened. We've seen time and time again in mobile, brand-new brands come in- Uber is a good example, that kind of thing- and disrupt traditional industries. I think there's almost more permission to do that in this new landscape of mobile than there is in traditional arenas, and there are a whole bunch of things connected to that.
Ben: When you're looking for something to sell you something though, you have to generally go to the App Store if you're looking for a mobile app ... I know Android users don't have to but let's face it, most smart phone users- most listeners- will get those from apps. If you type in 'flowers'- I mean we'll talk about what happens in the search results in a minute because Ewan just won a bet before we started recording this- but Bloom and Wild, and Interflora, and other flower retailers all have the same [inaudible 00:15:06] icon, all have the same descriptive text, all have the same banner, graphic, webpage. Then all of a sudden, Interflora- all the bigger brands let's just say generally- they can't buy prominence in the App Store. In fact in this case, because Bloom and Wild were an editor's pick, somebody in Apple has given them that leg-up to be more visible, more attractive, and it does them well in promotion.
Rafe: We should probably answer that question- when you type 'flowers' into the App Store, what do you get?
Ewan: Right, so try this if you're a listener.
Ben: UK iOS App Store-
Ewan: Try it, it'll be interesting to see. So number 1, Bloom and Wild. Number 2-
Ewan: Is indeed.
Ben: Now that would drive me nuts if I was Interflora. And all of a sudden, I begin to care about this thing that I scoffed [inaudible 00:15:53] previously called app store optimization. So Ewan's waving his 6 plus around ... Scroll down, so if you look at those 2 images now though, the Bloom and Wild image shows a full-screen graphic of a set of flowers to be bought, and it's a screenshot of the app. If you scroll down, Interflora shows you a 1980s-style web-list navigation view with a picture of a smiling grandma at the top.
Rafe: This is the important thing about app store optimization. You have to think about key words and title because that's what really powers the search in the Apple Store. But in terms of making that decision to do something from an entry, the first screenshot- and actually it's the first screenshot and a half actually- are absolutely vital. It's the 2 things that I'd advise people putting apps in the store to really think about. Why is this important? Because this is effectively the new discovery mechanism, and this is really a part of why the trend of that discovery being fragmented by mobile ... It's not just about the Google search box anymore or remembering the right brand. Now, don't get me wrong- they still have a leg-up and Interflora, if they did a good service, would probably beat Bloom and Wild because people do have that message in the back of their mind. But when there's that search box in the App Store that's become as important as the Google search box for acquiring those first users, what's really interesting about search, is people search first on generic search terms when they're looking for something new. Only on a second search, will they do a brand-specific search.
Ben: So when I search for 'flowers'- I mean you're holding the thing up there now- I'm amazed how poor the Interflora one looks, and how attractive the Bloom and Wild one looks ... And now I'm a customer of Bloom and Wild, I quite like their service but I've got no relationship with them at all. Yet actually, I am now substantially put off the traditional brand who I would've bought flowers from for years. They would've been the only people I would've bought flowers from for deliveries in the past. Now I look at that and think, "Old, tired, unimaginative." I'd much rather-
Ewan: 16 screens to get through-
Ben: I'm ready to give my money to people I have no idea about, apart from the fact they've taken 1 nice picture of a bunch of flowers.
Rafe: But there's also, within the App Store, that ranking comes from user ratings and the number of downloads. So there's an implied endorsement from everybody else using it, and I think that's important. Of course, Bloom and Wild are also focused on that because that is there primary- that's their only way of acquiring-
Ewan: It is interesting- 172 ratings for Interflora; 248 for Bloom and Wild. I mean, I know that, I know Bloom and Wild have got more because they sent me an email this week- did you get it?
Ben: No, well I haven't read it.
Ewan: Right, the email says, "Hi there, it's-" I forget her name.
Ben: A lady.
Ewan: A lady- I'm sorry. Isabelle let's call it. Saying, "Hey look-"
Rafe: Shall we call her Flora? Let's call her Lily.
Ewan: Petunia's good. Right, the email says, "Hey, you've been a regular customer. If you'd take a minute, would you do a Trustpilot review?"
Ben: So let's move on though, because there's another thing that we wanted to talk about. Actually, this is something that really struck me. So you did your 'thing of the week', I thought, "That's a good idea. Need to buy flowers sometimes ... Having-a-baby-soon flowers. I'll download that."
Ewan: How long before you downloaded it did you use it?
Ben: Actually quite a long time.
Ewan: Actually isn't that fascinating?
Ben: Because when I want to do those things quickly, I want to do them really quickly. For example, if I'm going on holidays, I will download the app for the airline the day I book, but I'll use it the day I travel. And the same for other similar services as well. So downloaded it, didn't really use it, didn't need it. Then logs on and was just amazed. Again, it's not an advert particularly for Bloom and Wild, but what struck me was it looked like a really modern, well-designed app. Once you'd gone past the superficial of 'that's a nice photograph, that's a nice picture, that's a nice clean design', actually what really amazed me was that I could buy the flowers I wanted to buy for the people I was buying flowers for- my wife in this case, not your wife- actually much more quickly than I could if I went onto a comparable web-store online. Because that's completely counter-intuitive right? I should always be constrained by being on mobile, it should be difficult, checkout mechanism should be awkward ... And so how is it that this experience was so much more pleasant?
Rafe: I think this is absolutely right, and the constraints of mobile force you to think more about the experience. It comes back to this web versus apps debate- the things that you can do in an app, you can't always do on web. Ewan's already mentioned picking up address details from your address book, it's also able to do things around location and Apple Pay. All of those add up to something that feels like a more seamless experience- that you can go through in 3 or 4 screens, particularly if you're doing it as repeat customer. So while I think it's much harder to nail that experience, absolutely if you do do it, you will typically leapfrog the legacy competition and I think that's the crucial point.
Ben: It is because actually, it's not just leapfrogs the competition by being on a mobile device ... If I think about my experience with buying flowers online through a website, it's your bulk standard e-commerce [inaudible 00:21:05] with some pictures of flowers in it, and it's just like every other e-commerce transaction. Coupled with that, is my experience of saying, "I know when I buy flowers from these retailers, the picture ..." It's like going into a restaurant with pictures of food- what's going to arrive isn't actually what the picture is. You know that whether they're nice or not, the flowers won't be as described. Yet here, it feels like somebody's taken the trouble to say, "What is it that worries our customers?" Well we're going to have to build an app, so we might as well spend some money on finding out actually what worries our customers. We're going to tell our customers that we post flowers, so what's going to worry them? They're probably going to be worried that they're going to arrive safely and will it fit through my postbox? So first up, nice big picture of the flowers. Second up, here's the box we ship them in. Third up, here's a diagram that shows it goes through most letterboxes. Here's a picture of the card that we send through, that shows the person- the recipient- what the flowers are and how to arrange them. It's almost like they've got the sequence just right. That hasn't happened by accident, and that's because they've started from fresh.
Rafe: By starting from fresh, they've actually asked themselves, "What is the problem we're trying to solve?" And they end up solving the right problem, not something that's representative of their legacy systems. We see this time and time again- it's the innovators' dilemma, so basically where this all comes from. But you see it in all the disruptive mobile services- ultimately what they're doing is solving the pain point for a consumer of the existing services and it's mediated through mobile so the discovering customer acquisition is far easier than has traditionally been the case.
Ewan: An example of [inaudible 00:22:41] right? The address, typing an address- "type in your post code" ... Have you seen how they do it here? You just type in your address free text, if it's not in your address book ... So where are we Blanford? What's the address here?
Rafe: 146 Brick Lane.
Ewan: 1-4-6 B-r-i-c- ... Brick, right there you go. Done. So I've typed in '146 Brick space L' and it's picked out- the first result- LBI limited there you go. 4 postcode, done, sorted.
Rafe: It's those kind of experience, innovations ... It's equivalent, on the website you'd have typed in a postcode and gone, "Oh it's great," but you still have to pick it out, you have to know the postcode and all of that. By being that free-form, it works better and I think that-
Ewan: Someone has sat back and thought, "Do you know what, I'm not going to ask postcode." Because if we ask postcode then you'll have to press enter, blah, blah- we're just going to do this.
Ben: I'll tell you my version of that- on the app now, just navigating through the app and just look at any of their products. Just find one of the products and put up the product page. What's the difference between that product page and a product page for something on Amazon?
Ewan: There's a massive picture- I mean, it must be 60%, 70% of the screen is a picture?
Ben: Exactly, and I'm buying something that is [crosstalk 00:23:52]. It is a physical object, but it's also bought entirely for the way it looks. You buy flowers because they're attractive. Even on the Amazon app- this goes back to Rafe's point about legacy- you might see a small picture and you might be able to scroll through a gallery, then you press that picture and it might blow up. Then you might get a better quality picture, or you might not, you might just get a bigger version of the small picture. There, it's a really nicely-taken photograph of the product- as you say is 70% of the screen- and what's that in the background just behind the flowers? It's the box they come in.
Ewan: Opened with the flowers in it, showing how it works.
Ben: It immediately answers all of my questions and actually, yes, you can scroll down and you can get some specific information about delivery and cost and these kinds of things. But the whole point is I've got a nice big piece of high-resolution glass in front of me, and they're using the app to show me a picture that precisely answers most of my question. The only thing I don't know from that there is actually how long is it going to take? Because it says, there's the name of the thing, there's a picture of the flowers, and I think once you then put in your address and gone through the buying piece then it starts to give you shipping time. So there's still some more information I'm going to want, but actually all the important stuff done. Can you imagine if you had a traditional shopping app- the hoops you'd have to jump through to say, "How would you like your product screen laid out?" Just like 1 massive photo please.
Rafe: But there's also I think something you're [type-strong 00:25:15] that's your simplicity. By giving you fewer choices, they've actually made your decision easier and I think that's one thing where the constraints of mobile have been used in a very positive way that you might not think. Because all of the time you go to a florist website and you get 50, 60 bouquets to choose from. Bloom and Wild they're very clever in the way they actually have a relatively small curated list. That, together with the payment- yes they use Apple Pay and really it's just about saving payment details, making it super simple to do repeat business- but they also have a subscription service, so they've done a bit of business model innovation as well. I think that's really clever.
Ben: Actually, I'm a good example for that because I went onto My Flowers for my wife's birthday and thought, "Hang on a minute, you can do a subscription." So we changed our birthday plans and my little boy- all 9 months of him- bought a year's subscription of flowers for his mum.
Rafe: And you're now getting points every month.
Ben: Well I get points every month, but the point was that I would never have thought about buying a flower subscription. I actually then subsequently went and had a look to see who else does it, and actually quite a few other people do it. But you really have to search hard through the web-stores to do it. Not only do they do a subscription, but then immediately after you complete the transaction, and you can change the intervals, and you can change all those sorts of things. So it's not a multi-subscription, it's monthly, or weekly, or every 2 months or whatever. It's really easily done. They then show you all the future predictive dates, one of which landed right in the middle of Christmas, when we're away, and I could change it right there and then. You don't have to phone customer services. But the whole point was, they moved me from being probably a customer 3 or 4 times a year, to being a customer with a year-long relationship. Okay, not everybody's going to want flower subscriptions but the point was, I went to buy 1 thing and it was such a nice experience ... First thing I ever bought, was a year-long commitment to this company.
Ewan: That is amazing because see I tried it with just the 15 pound special that they'd given me [crosstalk 00:27:11]. I feel I was one of the first to use Bloom and Wild, not the first but I saw it, downloaded it- you took a little while to use it. Let's have a look at Send the Sophia- now that's 24 pounds for a bunch of flowers right ... Send next day. Then if we go into 'upgrade the bundle', for 3 deliveries it's 50 pounds. I've committed to spend 24 pounds, and that seems like a good deal to me. These guys are really really smart. They've got your attention- hold on a minute, why don't you spend 50 quid and we'll give you 3 deliveries.
Ben: Certainly, look I was successfully upsold and by the time you're spending hundreds of pounds on flowers, then it's beginning to become quite a different decision. But also, it's such a pleasant experience to see actually I can swipe left and right and I also see the flowers I'm going to get this month, and the next month, and the next month. It's no longer 'would you like to buy 12 months of mystery flowers- we're not going to tell you what', it's back to that 'answer all of my most pressing questions right now.'
Ewan: They've also done the different price point. What's really important is they've been thinking about the price points. Because I want to spend more than 24 pounds ... Well I got you 3 months subscription.
Rafe: The other thing I want to touch on because we've been talking very much about it through a mobile lens, there is an experience of fulfillment which we've touched on the boxes, which is obviously very much a physical [inaudible 00:28:33] thing. But there are some very clever logistics going on and Bloom and Wild has actually been around a long time, even before it had its app. It was previously done through the web and actually one of the clever things it did was cut out the middle man in flowers. Traditionally, there's been distributors who buy from growers who then sell to the shops and the sellers. Bloom and Wild's actually gone direct to the growers- as result, it's done two things. It's enabled them to be more price-competitive, and they're able to do it because they've got the volume obviously. But also, it gets the flowers 2 or 3 days earlier than would traditionally be the case in the life-cycle. So that means they're still in the bud stages, makes them easier to deliver through the post. While we get very enthusiastic about mobile innervation, mobile being this catalyst for a really great company, I think we can all agree that they've done an amazing job. There are other bits of it you have to get right, but what I would say that if you're setting up for the first time, is this mobile startup, or where your main acquisition selling through mobile, it does give you a lot more leeway on that distribution. We've seen that- Uber's actually another example of doing that kind of thing, or Postmates ... All of those on-demand services are able to rejig and rethink their business model because again, they're not dependent on the legacy systems. So I don't think we should necessarily say mobile commerce is better because of these experience because of the discovery ... There is another element to this but I think if you identified those 3 things, they'd certainly give you an opportunity that you don't get elsewhere.
Ben: I like the fact that even though it's a mobile app, and even though all your initial thoughts are, "I'm just going to talk about the product, just going to keep it really simple." Having previously been involved in making mobile apps, it's just simplify, simplify, simplify, because it's got to be really easy. Yet, they've identified that when you're buying a thing- when you're buying a fragile thing like flowers- that actually fulfillment is as much a part of the transaction as it is the actual products itself. How many times have you bought something from an online retailer to find it's dumped outside your front door in a massive box? I got one from Amazon that I'm thinking of, which was something very breakable, which was in a box 10 times the size it needed to be shipped in, but all the packing was just down one end. So these were special LED light-bulbs for a lamp that we had, and I had to order them, and they were completely smashed to bits. You think, "Well, that's very funny," because this box is perfectly capable of having all the packing, then you realize that's because the packing actually didn't protect any of the stuff- it was just filling up the empty space.
Ewan: It's a concern, you think, "I'll just do it via a normal retailer."
Ben: I'll go to a lighting shop. I mean this was frustrating as well because it's not the sort of thing I could go and buy from a supermarket. It's one thing to have Amazon steal your grocery shopping from a local supermarket, but then when you're talking about electronics or books, or anything that Amazon would consider their home turf- books is a prime example- I mean you still need to look after them.
Rafe: It does remind us that that fulfillment piece is important just as Uber gets criticized because its drivers aren't quite up to scratch in London, compared to the knowledge of taxi drivers. That's how you create the ones that really stand out- is to think about both the mobile experience and where it intersects with the real world.
Ben: The other thing that I really liked about this was the recognition or the user need. You very rarely buy flowers for yourself, you mostly buy flowers as a gift for somebody else. Therefore my need is to know that they absolutely get delivered and to not be worried that they're going to be left on the doorstep; to not be worried that the delivery driver's going to come and the lady who's just had a baby miraculously can't get out of the bed to answer the door right now, so the flowers go away. Or my favorite one was ringing up ... Actually a large high-street retailer in the UK does a flower delivery service and we got some flowers- or rather we didn't get some flowers-
Rafe: It's all right, we can name John Lewis.
Ben: Actually, it was Marks and Spencer. High-street retailer, does a flower delivery service, we didn't get our flowers when the little boy was born because the delivery driver had looked for somewhere dry to put them when it was raining and he couldn't get in the house. So he'd popped them just inside the recycling in, just to keep them dry. You can work out precisely and exactly what happened to those flowers. You know, they were very sorry and they'd send you some new ones, but we don't want new ones now. Baby's 3 months old.
Ewan: Someone at Bloom and Wild thought, "You know what, let's do some research. What are the top x reasons, blah, blah, blah." I really love this concept, but what particularly excites me is the other opportunities for other companies to do similar.
Ben: We're running out of time, so let's wrap it up. We've talked a lot about Bloom and Wild, and we've talked a lot about flowers. Partly because we're really enthusiastic about their service, but also I think because we all see the way they're solving these problems are ways that we want all the other retailers ... So Ewan first- if you could take one thing about Bloom and Wild and tell other retailers, "Do that," what would it be?
Ewan: Focus, focus, focus on what you're solving. It's very trite- any big company will have legions of people going, "Oh what the customer needs is this." What Bloom and Wild has done is exactly as you laid it out. They've thought very, very, very carefully about what I need on the phone. Don't think about it, don't imagine- go and bloody stand behind some actual customers and find out for yourself, because we have no relationship with Bloom and Wild at all. But I would lay money on the fact that they've been out there actually [crosstalk 00:34:07].
Rafe: I think I would say make sure you get your mobile app as good as possible and that is mostly going to be a case of simplify and use all the tricks that a mobile has in terms of things it does uniquely, and payment, and using data that connected, and all of those things to produce something that will always get a top 5 star rating in the App Store. Or at least that should be your aim.
Ben: I think for me, it's about that brand relationship. Which is, if you present yourself as a big brand- with all the characteristics of a big brand- which is it's well-produced, it's slick, the product is quality [crosstalk 00:34:51] but also the service you offer is comparable, and if you can convince me that you can do a better job, I actually will happily leave the legacy firms- ones I've been dealing with all the time. Because as soon as I go to mobile, I know that it's sufficiently hard and sufficiently different that I believe you could do a better job. If you set-up a high-street shop, I don't think you're going to be better than a retail that's been in business for 150 years. But on mobile, I'm prepared to give you a fresh start. So therefore it's worth the investment.
Rafe: If I may add one on to that, that's about getting the fulfillment right. Because ultimately, it doesn't matter how good the rest of your service is. If you can't deliver on that promise of being better- which is largely about fulfillment- nothing else matters.
Ben: Absolutely, and now in our kitchen, we have all the Bloom and Wild flower cards all stuck up on the thing because actually even the packaging and the products has become part of the gift. I couldn't tell you what flowers are which for the love of money but we've got a little ID card now that you can look them all up in and they're all being saved. So they've thought about that. I doubt anyone expected that to be part of the product, but that's become a thing in our house now. Good, anyways we should wrap it up there. Looking forward very much next week to hearing about your smarter home competition. I want to see some buying decisions or some full-up shopping carts.
Ewan: It's just I'm not happy committing. I'll buy something-
Ben: I want to see some products. As ever, we would really welcome your suggestions.
Ewan: Thanks by the way to the audience members who have been tweeting already.
Ben: Yes thank you for your feedback, but we need your recommendations- what have you got? What would you like? What problem have you solved? What really works for you? Then just privately, just tweet to me, just DM me- just tell me what products don't work or are rubbish, in case I inadvertently buy one and lose the smarter home competition.
Ewan: We should've actually said, any other suggestions like Bloom and Wild I think we'd love to hear about them right?
Ben: Yeah, give us your mobile heroes- the people that you use in preference to the bigger name brands. And if you haven't checked out Bloom and Wild if you're in the UK and you need some flowers because well, they work for me. As ever, you could go along to 361 podcast, you can leave comments there, you can find us @361podcast on Twitter, we're also on Facebook but don't encourage them. If you go to 361podcast.com now you can find details of how to support us through Patreon with a small donation, every episode or every season. If you'd like to do that, helps us pay for this and helps us do more exciting things in the future. As ever, thanks very much for all your feedback, thanks for listening, and we'll be back next week.