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How their ecommerce helped GRDN weather COVID-19

by Stacey Trock

October 20, 2020

GRDN is a beloved specialty garden and home store located in Brooklyn, NYC. This calm and relaxing space serves as a respite for New Yorkers in the midst of a busy city; a place where urban gardeners can rekindle their connection with nature. While GRDN’s brick-and-mortar was thriving, owner Suzanne felt a disconnect between her shop and its online presence. So, in 2019, 15 years after opening her brick-and-mortar, Suzanne began working with Aeolidia to refresh the company’s branding as well as implement a revitalized ecommerce site that gave visitors the feeling of being in the shop. And of course, to effectively convert sales. Little could anyone have guessed that a new ecommerce solution was exactly what would be required to manage COVID-19.

With a scheduled launch in March 2020, no one could have predicted that the site would debut just before a global pandemic. While the brick-and-mortar was closed for Spring 2020, GRDN’s new ecommerce site helped the shop continue to connect with its customers and gain new ones, thriving in the midst of this unprecedented time.

Our ecommerce solutions: a new visual brand design + a highly functional Shopify site

GRDN had an existing ecommerce site, but it felt like an afterthought and wasn’t driving sales.

I didn’t put any effort into the old site. I always focused on the experience customers would have in store. For years I created my website in house, and then for several more years, I tried to hire a staff that had skills that could be useful for an online store. There wasn’t the time or focus or skill level available to create a professional website.

Susanne had an ambitious, but achievable goal, telling the Aeolidia team, “In the first year I would like a 5% conversion rate and an $85.00 average sale. You tell me what I need to reach those goals.” And we were on board to make it happen!

What actions did Aeolidia implement to move GRDN’s website towards achieving these sales and conversion goals? In addition to a fresh brand identity, we developed a Shopify site with customer connection and ease of use as primary goals. We began with a stats-based analysis of the current site and developed an ecommerce strategy driven by numbers and fully integrated with Google Analytics. By reconfiguring the navigation, adding a mega menu, and a well-structured home page, we ensured that customers were easily able to find what they wanted on desktop and mobile. Fresh copywriting enhanced the cohesive branding and easy navigation, delivering online customers the same experience as they would receive stepping into the physical shop.

GRDN custom shopify about page for a Brooklyn-based plant and flower shop

A successful ecommerce strategy doesn’t stop with website development. We rounded the project off with improving GRDN’s email marketing, including a new newsletter design and implementation as well as copy for an abandoned cart email, an automation that delivers one of the highest returns in digital marketing.

The result: a high-converting ecommerce site that allowed GRDN to easily adapt to COVID-19

GRDN brand identity design and custom shopify website for a Brooklyn-based plant and flower shop

Ecommerce has become an increasingly important part of running a small business, but it became imperative during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2020, many shops were forced to shut down – particularly in hard-hit New York, where GRDN is based. The new website was crucial for maintaining the shop’s revenues during that time.

The sales from the website have kept me going during the shutdown in NYC. I have been able to stay connected to regular customers and reach new customers.  Customers quickly changed their spending habits to online shopping during the pandemic.

In the first month following launch, GRDN’s new website boasted some pretty amazing results, including:

  • A 5.72% conversion rate, with 8% on desktop (!) and 3.5% on mobile
  • A $120 Average Order Value (AOV)
  • 7% of revenue from organic search
  • Nearly 9 pages/session (meaning that the average visitor to the site visited 9 pages before leaving!)
  • Over 4-minute average session duration
  • A super-low 29% bounce rate
GRDN custom shopify responsive mobile site for a Brooklyn-based plant and flower shop

As her attention had previously been laser-focused on her brick-and-mortar shop, Susanne was excited that her customers so easily took to online shopping:

I was surprised to see that new customers return multiple times to the website with orders. Customers usually visit the brick and mortar store numerous times in the spring season. I was astonished that they would visit and purchase many times online. It was amazing to me how people completely shifted to online shopping.

Is it time to upgrade your ecommerce site for a post-COVID-19 era?

It’s clear that online shopping isn’t going away, and will continue to be an increasingly important percentage of overall sales. Even as shops reopen across the country, customers have fallen in love with the ease and safety of shopping from the comfort of home. A well-designed ecommerce site will continue to be crucial for your business for years to come, regardless of the path COVID-19 takes.

While focusing on the in-person customer experience, GRDN hadn’t been able to develop an ecommerce site that reflected their aesthetic, functioned well, and brought in sales. But with a new Aeolidia-created Shopify site, they’ve seen their conversion rates improve, average order amount increase, as well as obtained great improvements in organic search. Plus, the site is up and running with the help of a team of experts, so that Susanne can focus on working on her business.

When I hired Aeolidia, I finally felt I had the support I needed to move my business forward.  As the team introduced themselves to me via email and laid out the plan and calendar, I did not feel overwhelmed; I felt so grateful that things were finally going to get done. Small business just got a lot harder in 2020. A beautiful professional website that sets your brand apart from the competition is just what you need.  You can have confidence in hiring Aeolidia to get the job done.

At Aeolidia, we pride ourselves in not just delivering an aesthetically pleasing and functioning site, but by dialing into your business’s goals and making suggestions that will move your business forward. We treat your business as we would our own, putting our thinking caps on to deliver the complete package for your brand. For GRDN, we had the specific recommendation of implementing product reviews, as a way of building customer confidence in online shopping. Although Susanne was initially unsure of this feature, she’s grown to love it!

Something I did not anticipate has been how much I have enjoyed the online reviews. Aeolidia (Helen) had to pressure me to add this feature to the site. I am so happy to see how many people leave great reviews and love the store so much. I hope those positive comments make new customers feel good about their purchase and feel like part of the GRDN community.

If you aren’t proud of and thrilled with your online presence, you can’t afford not to invest in your business right now. What worked a few years ago is not enough to keep you competitive now.

View this project in our portfolio »

View GRDN’s website »

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