Ontario Flowers Bloom Into Cyberspace
The melodious lyrics of Changes by David Bowie come to mind when thinking of the numerous “ch-ch-ch-ch-changes” a business owner has to consider when streamlining their eCommerce business, not to mention the logistics associated with that development. In Ashlee Smith’s case, it was her event planning and floral boutique business A. Smith Events, which had been active on Instagram and Facebook but was becoming too convoluted to manage without an online store.
Enter the ShopHERE Powered By Google Program. Ashlee met with an eCommerce Coordinator to discuss her business goals and by the end of her participation, she was able to digitize the A. Smith Events inventory. Instead of having to constantly manage multiple platforms, her brand-new online store consolidates eCommerce tools that integrate consultation scheduling apps, handle floral delivery bookings, direct customer inquiries straight to her phone, and accept payments online.
“This really helped me learn how to deal with my online store and showed me how to add items, prices, variations, and I was helped with shipping information and delivery. I don’t think I could have done as good a job alone.”
Ever since her 20th birthday, Ashlee knew she wanted to become an event planner. Her unique approach to design, curation of different colour schemes, and her ability to understand her client’s expectations made it clear that she would be an essential contributor to the industry. Her love for aesthetic presentation and flower patterns supplemented her aspirations and now, she can provide her products and services through her Square online store. “I made a few sales already but I know more will come from this for sure. It’s so much easier to have the online store!”
While the pandemic’s restrictions were negatively affecting the revenue of numerous small businesses, A. Smith Events included, Ashlee decided to take advantage of the unknown and redirected her efforts. Instead of worrying about how she would not be able to take in-person consultations and the limitations the lockdown placed on in-store browsing at her Brampton location, she focused on pivoting her business model to ensure that customers could get what they need with the click of a button.
“…right now is a great time to start a business or revamp an old business. It’s a good time to change how things are done and focus on the online aspects of sales and services. A lot of people are struggling, myself included, but I’m just not going to give up.”
With a little bit of marketing and content optimization, Ashlee can reach new demographics by taking remote consultation meetings and making contactless floral deliveries that consider the safety of her clients.
David Bowie’s words ring true. You do have to “turn and face the strange” and Ashlee’s business serves as a shining example of the process. If you’d like to check out Ashlee’s floral boutique, head over to asmithevents.ca and prepare your credit cards. You can also follow A. Smith Events on Instagram and Facebook to keep up-to-date with any new developments and seasonal sales. Have a great business idea? Sign up with the ShopHERE Program here and you can get an online store suited to all your needs.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.