[tweetmeme]Online floral shop 1800Flowers.com launched in August 2010 a microsite targeting a specific demographic: men.
Called Guy’s Guide to Flowers http://guys.1800flowers.com/ , this new subdomain aims to attract men to buy flowers from the site. They’ve discovered that men visit the site mostly only during Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day — and not much else. With this microsite geared exclusively for men, the company hopes to increase the number of men shopping for flowers on the site other than these two big flower-giving events.
So what can we learn from the strategies used by 1800Flowers.com to increase this reach of the male consumers?
1. They understand that purchasing behaviors of men for flowers and gifts differ from women.
More often than not, men are not experts to purchasing flowers and gifts. They are more likely to seek out assistance when choosing a gift for any occasion. Thus, the elements of the site are designed to make the process of buying flowers easier, starting with narrower options that appeal to male consumers.
2. Emphasis on easier selection and shopping process.
The microsite revolves around the Flower Finder concept, which allows users to “find the perfect bouquet in 3 easy steps.” Users first has to select the occasion, which is divided into six: Birthday, Anniversary, Just Because, Get Well, I’m sorry, and Congratulations.
Their research has shown that men tend to purchase flowers for more limited number of occasions, resulting in a pared-down version of the 14 options available from the main site. They can then choose their relationship with the person who will receive the flowers, and their intentions (“Love or Romance,” “Just for Fun,” or “Other”).
3. Keep your branding intact, but design the site to appeal to your target market.
The aesthetics of the site is decidedly masculine. Gone are the pastel and soft look of the main site. The men’s site even looks like a home improvement site with the dark hardwood background, albeit with a bouquet of flowers! Thrown into the mix is an attractive woman in stockings. The look and feel of the site is designed to make the men feel more comfortable that this is their site for buying flowers.
4. Learn the motivations of your target market.
Aside from occasions, one common reason men buy flowers is to apologize. As such prominently placed in the middle of the landing page is a graphic of two men with worried look on their faces. These are “The Apologizers” or men “in the doghouse.” Clicking on the link allows users the choice of two options: if they are “preapologizers” looking to stay out of trouble or “postapologizers” looking to make amends. They are then given different scenarios for which they want to apologize, and then given suggested flower bouquets to help them apologize.
The Apologizer campaign is also used in social media. 1800Flower.com’s Facebook page contains a tab for the Guys Guide to Flowers with The Apologizer featured in the campaign.
The site is promoting this new microsite in social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, search engines and affiliate marketing. Too bad that they decided not to put any link to this microsite from the 1800Flowers.com homepage or any other pages from the main site, as it could help direct the men visiting the main site to this new subdomain. They could also have used that opportunity to improve their conversions from male visitors coming to the main site.