How online florist UrbanStems leaned in on self gifting to grow sales


As daily habits shifted in the past year, so has gifting. Floral arrangements’ popularity, in particular, saw unexpected popularity throughout the year. According to a survey by the Society of American Florists, over 80% of retailer respondents reported an increase over the last holiday period, compared to 2019. This month, an updated report found increased sales for both Valentine’s Day and Easter, compared to both 2020 and 2019 sales. 

One brand experiencing this is DTC flower delivery service UrbanStems. After the initial wave of March 2020 shutdowns, sales picked back up. Founder Seth Goldman said the company began seeing an influx in “just because” orders as quarantining went on. The trend inspired the company to tweak its marketing and merchandising as a way to keep customers coming back in between celebratory gifting. And the company was able to grow sales in 2020 compared to the year before.

We realized the majority of our customers were sending more flowers as a way to check in on loved ones,” Goldman said, which prompted UrbanStems to debut its “Just Because” bouquet line last spring. 

Overall, self-sends orders increased 300% month-over-month between April 2020 to Jan 2021. The “Just Because” line, specifically, is currently up 150% in month-over-month sales — having peaked at a 260% increase between May and June of 2020.

The “Just Because” business currently accounts for the majority of UrbanStems’ annual sales. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day combined accounted for 15-20% of the company’s flower sales last year. Meanwhile, there was a 900% increase in subscription orders over the 2020 holidays. 

In addition to the new line, UrbanStems has also been experimenting with quarantine-friendly brand partnerships. In the past year, the service has struck up a collaboration with dating app Bumble, and increased at-cart add-ons like candles and bath bombs. These tweaks have led to increased cart sizes as more customers look for self-care themed gifts, Goldman said.

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