“Innovation becomes even more important”: How Bloomthis creates joy

citement into the industry. Our key focus was to provide a great experience for our customers,” Giden Lim told Inside Retail.

Bloomthis first launched with just a subscription model where the team would deliver fresh cut flowers to customers on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Today, they are an on-demand gifting e-commerce portal that has experienced 500 per cent growth over the past two years.

Humble beginnings

“In the beginning it was just Penny and I. We had to do everything from managing the website, processing orders, producing the products, purchasing inventories, marketing and customer service,” said Lim.

“Obviously being business partners with your spouse is not all bed of roses. Like any other relationships in life, there are plenty of emotions involved, so things could be quite challenging at times.”

Lim explained that from the start, the pair started defining their roles and allowed the subject matter expert to take the lead, making sure not to encroach on each other’s turf. 

“By doing this we could see that both our relationship and our business grew significantly,” said Lim.

Now, the business has a team of almost 80 people and has just moved into a new warehouse space. The company has been growing rapidly over the last few years and has expanded into multiple locations within Malaysia. It has also expanded into other categories into gourmet food and beverages, gifts and plants and worked with high-profile brands like Coach and Kate Spade to create limited edition products.

Leaning into technology

At its core, Bloomthis’ philosophy is to make gifting simple and joyful for both the sender and the recipient by leveraging technology. It’s been seven years since the inception of the brand, and Lim noted that the company has gone through a major evolution from being purely a flower subscription platform to an on-demand delivery service.

“The problem we observed with the flower business is that it is predominantly a brick and mortar business with weak technical and limited operational capabilities. It is an industry with very little innovation and the overall flower buying and gifting experience is poor,” said Lim.

“Fast forward to today, we noticed that e-commerce adoption has increased rapidly. Logistics plays an important role in ensuring a good customer experience and consumers are demanding for a quicker and better delivery experience when they purchase products online.”

Lim explained that consumer attention spans are getting shorter and shorter as people are constantly bombarded with so much information digitally. As a result, consumers are much more well-informed these days and expect a more personalised experience from brands. 

“Therefore getting the right message across to the right customer is crucial while building trust through upholding our quality and service standards is a must,” advised Lim.

Bloomthis recently shifted into a 40,000 sq ft warehouse back in November of 2021. This warehouse serves at its headquarters, with its main operations being carried out. It also houses most of their employees.

“It has been an amazing year here as we utilise the space to grow the business and spend time building our relationships with our colleagues through numerous activities together,” Lim added.

In this day and age, most e-commerce platforms are managed with just-in-time inventory concepts and on-demand solutions, and in the case of Bloomthis, digitisation has been key to its survival.

“We have invested in developing proprietary technology in every aspect of our business since the inception of Bloomthis, this strategy has helped us manoeuvre the challenges we face with the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Lim said.

According to Lim, the company’s main strengths have always been its operational excellence and its ability to deliver a high quality experience for their customers, even in a crisis. They know their business is seasonal, so they have strategic preparedness embedded into the system.

“We acknowledge how the landscape of the industry has changed a lot in the face of the pandemic, people have become more savvy to purchase online and more businesses have jumped on the bandwagon and digitised their businesses,” he explained.

The road ahead

Like elsewhere around the globe, in Malaysia, supply chain issues and inflationary cost pressures are becoming a real concern for most companies, and Lim is aware of the challenges ahead.

We are anticipating tougher times ahead of us. Globally we are all facing economic pressure from supply chain constraints and increased prices of our raw materials. This has put a lot of pressure on us especially if we want to maintain our sustainability and competitiveness,” he said.

Lim acknowledged that the business will be reviewing and finetuning their own processes to reduce inefficiencies. As managing wastage is within their control, it’s often the best place to start.

The company will also be looking at its internal processes to improve productivity further, as Lim feels this could help them mitigate some of the negative effects of inflation. Technology can play a pivotal role in ensuring they improve productivity sustainably.

“Innovation becomes even more important than ever. In any crisis, there are great opportunities. Sometimes what used to work in the past may not work well anymore in the future,”  he said.

“We must now adapt to this new economic environment which we believe is just the beginning of another new change cycle.”

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