Ecommerce vice president Somia Farid Silber details how Edible Arrangements pivoted during the pandemic and grew total sales 45% year over year. The retailer expands into flowers, produce, cards and baked goods to offer lower-priced items and more everyday gifting products.

While merchants scrambled to launch ship-from-store during the pandemic, Edible Arrangements already had a leg up as all 1,000 of its franchise locations had been equipped with this service since opening.

Somia Farid Silber, vice president of ecommerce, Edible Arrangements.

Somia Farid Silber, vice president of ecommerce, Edible Arrangements.

Whenever a shopper purchases from EdibleArrangements.com, the order is routed to the store nearest to the customer. That store will prepare and deliver the order in one of its vans, bypassing warehousing and shipping carriers. Edible Arrangements, known for selling fresh-fruit bouquets, posted strong sales in 2020. It launched new product categories, offered more bundles with shelf-stable products, offered fewer SKUs of fruit bouquets during its big sales periods and implemented free delivery with every order, says Somia Farid Silber, vice president of ecommerce at Edible Arrangements. All these initiatives helped boost sales, she says.

These efforts—plus owning its own delivery network and not having to grapple with the shipping issues many retailers faced during the pandemic—helped Edible Arrangements grow its total sales 45% year over year in 2020. This is especially notable as in 2019, its total sales declined by a double-digit percentage year over year. Ecommerce accounts for 80% of the brand’s sales, Farid Silber says. Here is a deeper dive into three areas that contributed to the retailer’s 2020 sales growth.

Selling fruit, baked goods, cards

In the last two weeks of March 2020, Edible Arrangements shuttered all of its stores and its sales dramatically plummeted, Farid Silber says. But the retailer quickly saw an opportunity to pivot and turn things around. At a time when many U.S. consumers were avoiding grocery stores to minimize exposure to the coronavirus, Edible Arrangements had the supply chain infrastructure set up to receive and deliver produce to those very consumers avoiding physical stores, Farid Silber says.

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“We always talked about doing this. We have this really delicious fresh fruit in our store, we sell it arranged, why can’t we sell it as fresh produce as well,” Farid Silber says. “The project just never got prioritized. Now was the opportunity because it would be so beneficial for our guests.”

Soon, in addition to fruit bouquets, the retailer began selling fruit arranged on platters. Making this change also ensured that Edible Arrangements could still operate at a time when many nonessential businesses were forced to close because it was now selling an essential product.

Selling non-arranged fresh fruit is part of the reason that Edible Arrangements posted its best sales for the month of April ever in April 2020, with total sales up 38% year over year compared with April 2019. In the next month, May, Mother’s Day orders hit an all-time high for that holiday at 700,000 orders, and its June total sales also increased 55% year over year, Farid Silber says.

She credits this success to its ecommerce site and owning its delivery network.

“It was really because of our ecommerce platform,” Silver says. “Our strong online presence, our own delivery infrastructure since day one, owning our delivery vehicles, all that allowed us to accelerate and grow in a challenging time while continuing to serve all of our guests.”

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Following its fresh fruit launch in March, it also launched several other categories in 2020:

  • Vegetables and shelf-stable treats like popcorn and nuts in April 2020
  • Flowers in August
  • Baked goods in September
  • Greeting cards in October

These categories are part of Edible Arrangements’ larger strategy to become a more popular destination for everyday gifting—not just special occasion gifts like anniversaries and Valentine’s Day—as well as to offer lower-priced goods. With many of its fruit bouquets priced at $70 or more, Farid Silber knows that consumers view Edible Arrangements as a place for higher-end gifts.

Edible Arrangements starts selling baked goods.

Edible Arrangements starts selling baked goods in September.

“We’re looking to increase the frequency of orders with current customers and get new customers,” Farid Silber says.

Edible Arrangements now has a “Gifts under $50” tab on its website and is marketing the lower-priced goods on social media.

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The strategy appears to have worked so far, new customers increased 45% in 2020 compared with 2019, the brand says. Plus, revenue from Gen Z consumers increased more than 100% year over year, starting around mid-2020 to 2021, Farid Silber says. It plans to lean into this strategy even more, she says, by creating a collection of “gifts under $30.”

Even with these new offerings, its fruit bouquets and dipped fruits are still its top-selling categories and account for more than 50% of sales, she says.

How Edible Arrangements handled the surge in orders

While the increased sales were a good thing, they came with the challenge of figuring out how to create the arrangements and fulfill the additional orders while adhering to social distancing guidelines and fewer workers. This was especially a hurdle during its peak periods—Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas—when the brand usually hires more employees to help with the influx in orders over just a few days’ time.

To streamline its work, the merchant decided to decrease the number of intricate bouquets it offered during the holidays to only a few, down from the 10 or more it usually offered. This way, stores could easily prepare bouquets ahead of time. Plus, if an employee only had to arrange a few different styles, she could become faster and more efficient at creating them.

Its new product lines also came in handy, as it created more bundles for consumers to purchase on its site, such as a fruit bouquet with a box of nuts, which allowed Edible Arrangement to still offer a variety of SKUs. The shelf-stable items also were an easy way to increase an order value without adding the labor costs of having to arrange a fresh bouquet.

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These learnings from the three holidays in 2020 helped Edible Arrangement as it headed into Valentine’s Day 2021—its busiest sales holiday during the year. The retailer’s business changes worked, as Edible Arrangements’ ecommerce Valentine’s Day sales increased 32% year over year and the number of transactions increased 30%, Farid Silber says. After such a success, the merchant plans to take the bundling and narrower SKU approach to holidays long-term, even after the pandemic, Farid Silber says.

“We will continue doing what we are doing,” Farid Silber says. “We were able to do just as many orders as previously, if not more.”

A new promotional strategy and free delivery

In addition to offering lower-priced goods during 2020, Edible Arrangements also overhauled its promotional strategy.

Instead of offering frequent discounts, such as its typical 20% off when you spend $49 or more, Edible Arrangements now offers free delivery on every order.

“It’s really looking at what consumers are looking for, and the shopping behavior out there really drove that decision,” Farid Silber says.

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For example, 71% of merchants in the 2020 Digital Commerce Top 1000 offer free shipping in some capacity, such as with a minimum purchase, unconditionally or as a part of a loyalty program. That’s up from 65.4% of merchants in the 2019 Top 1000, according to the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Click, Ship & Return Report.

Plus, 71% of consumers say free shipping is the reason why they shopped with a merchant over the holidays, and 39% of consumers say they only purchase online when free shipping is offered, according to a Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights survey of 1,137 consumers in January 2021.

Edible Arrangements says that its average ticket hasn’t dropped with the new offering and approach to promotions. Farid Silber also says she’s pleased that she doesn’t have to rely on discounting to drive traffic to the website.

“Free delivery on its own is a very strong value proposition, and we have a really core messaging opportunity,” Farid Silber says.

@sulheejessicaFun fresh fruit tray made with @edible #ad #EdibleMoments #EdibleArrangements♬ original sound – Jessica Woo

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Additionally, instead of advertising discounts on social media, Edible Arrangements is tried more brand-awareness tactics in 2020, such as influencer marketing. For example, it sent some of its lower-priced goods to Gen Z consumers to promote on social media, and its fruit-dipping kits to moms to promote on social media platforms including TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. In February, engagements with Edible Arrangements’ Instagram posts increased 49% year over year and Facebook engagements increased 7% year over year.

 

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Edible Arrangements is No. 136 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.

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