30%month over month, on-demand delivery orders have surged.
When the pandemic threatened the flow of foot traffic at Caruso Florist in Washington, D.C., the owners of the fifth-generation flower shop found themselves searching for innovative ways to keep their business in full bloom. Dissatisfied with the high cost of floral wire services, Caruso Florist began exploring the potential of adding a virtual floral shop to their renowned M Street location. At first, the idea of a virtual store sounded far fetched. That was until they discovered RaaS — and launched a bold, new future for Caruso Florist by unlocking fresh opportunities in the on-demand economy.
It wouldn’t be the first time the florist reinvented its business. Founded in 1903 by Sicilian immigrants, the Carusos began their new life in the United States by selling flowers and fruit from a wooden cart. Eventually, they saved up enough earnings to purchase a brick-and-mortar store. When the store burned to the ground during the 1968 riots, the family sold flowers off the back porch of their home until they finally landed just steps away from the White House in 1969. Since then, Caruso has provided its beautiful floral arrangements and gifts to everybody from politicians and celebrities to local flower-lovers and business moguls. Today, Caruso Florist is considered a revered Washington institution with revenues topping more than $4 million annually.
By April 2020, the pandemic had started to grip the nation and Washington D.C. enacted a stay-at-home order. Like many other businesses, foot traffic into Caruso Florist came to a halt, and flower gift purchases dwindled amid the economic uncertainty. While some of the losses were stemmed by the flower shop’s partnerships with wire services, the high service fees and complicated process — including having to buy all the vases and zips in-house, as well as handle the floral deliveries — proved to be a logistical nightmare. “By the time you take all of that out, you get about 40 percent [of the profits],” explained Caruso Florist CFO, Tim Caruso. “We ended the relationship with wire services after projections fell short.” Still, once the shop severed ties with the wire services and with the pandemic lagging, Caruso says they quickly recognized they needed to explore their options. Luckily, a RaaS sales representative called up Caruso Florist to discuss on-demand floral delivery just in the nick of time.
Caruso Florist launched its @Flowers virtual store in July 2021. Caruso admits he was skeptical about the benefits of on-demand floral delivery, at first — but the floral shop’s immediate success with @Flowers quickly dismissed any doubt. “I thought I would only get a few orders every few days,” Caruso says. “But now we’re doing $500 in on-demand sales every week. I was surprised with all of the orders we got.” So far, he’s been impressed with @Flowers versatile menu, which enables the floral shop to maximize its existing inventory, and how quickly on-demand sales have replaced the loss of foot traffic at the store. Since launching in July, orders have surged 30% month-over-month, and the fifth-generation floral shop feels confident business will continue to bloom.“We’re experts in flowers and you’re experts in on-demand,” Caroso says. “We’re fulfilling orders and making money —you helped us find a new revenue channel. When we started getting five-plus orders everyday, everyone in my family was surprised at how easy it was. It was a piece of cake.”
RaaS empowers small business owners to think bigger and take their businesses to the next level through virtual, on-demand concepts. By leveraging existing space, we connect brick-and-mortar locations with distinct brands and smart opportunities to seize on-demand delivery, drive revenue, and effectively fuel their businesses for the future.
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