Welcome back to one of the newest features of the Nosto blog – a regular look at some of the brands we love and are lucky enough to work with. Find out who they are, why we love them and how they use Nosto!

This month we are doing things a bit differently, with Harry Oram, Marketing Manager from Nosto partner blubolt taking over the reigns- he will be discussing mutual client and all-round fantastic store Sarah Raven…

What’s the story? 

There is nothing like a business that is built around passion, it gives a company an authenticity that shines through all they do – and that couldn’t be more the case than with online store Sarah Raven. Established in 2008 by, you guessed it, Sarah Raven, celebrated gardening expert, writer and television broadcaster- this is a business that has grown (get it?!) from one woman’s green fingers to a community of horticultural enthusiasts, all seeking the best for their perennial plant paradises. The website, designed by blubolt, and built on their bluCommerce platform, won two awards, including best overall website, at the ECMOD Direct Commerce Magazine Awards in 2015. It’s easy to see why…

What do they sell? 

This is a gardening store, selling a comprehensive range of seeds, seedlings, plants, and gardening and floristry kits from Sarah’s Perch Hill gardens in East Sussex. But it’s so much more than a store, as Sarah gives expert advice and instructional videos on gardening and is a popular TV presenter in her own right. This is a unique company with quality at the forefront on its mind – and the products come with a more premium promise to the end consumer because they’ve been grown at her gardens.

What do we love?

As the ecommerce platform provider, and agency for Sarah Raven, it makes sense that there is a lot that we like about the site – but we aren’t the only ones. As one of the judges who awarded it ‘best website’ in 2015 commented, “Clever marketing, good management, great products. This is the first time I have come across Sarah Raven and I know it won’t be the last. An inspiring entry that saw me go straight to the website, browse (as a judge) and then send a link to a friend who immediately placed an order.” 
But what, specifically, is this brand excelling at?

Education, education, education

What Sarah Raven have here is a website that isn’t just designed to sell- it educates, and inspires horticultural creativity in the people who browse it. This is particularly obvious in the fact that they have an entire advice section dedicated to advising prospects and customers alike on everything garden related. This is a rich resource center- containing articles, recipes and videos on a broad range of topics. This content heavy approach both lens the brand authority by showcasing their extensive knowledge of the subject at hand but also builds brand loyalty by identifying and helping to solve it’s customers problems.

Inspiring greatness

Gardening is an aspirational activity, you are striving for something and in many ways this website helps you with that – whether it is giving you the tools (literally), the instructions to get there, or showing you what to aim for in the first place. This last point is something that jumps out particularly in the “Inspire Me” sections, where the Sarah Raven team highlight seasonal trends to guide your browsing, buying and planting behaviour. We particularly like the Chelsea Flower Show post, which capitalises on the excitement of this key date in every keen gardener’s calendar and showcases the products that they have deem prestigious enough to sell there – something that is bound to drive buying desire in the online shoppers! 

Helping you to find your perfect plant

With such a large product range it can be difficult for shoppers to see the woods through the trees (got to love a gardening pun!), which is why Sarah Raven has created the “find your perfect plant” on-site plant search / refinement capability. Unlike traditional search boxes, which aren’t much use if you don’t really know what you’re looking for (although there is one of those, in case you do), this allows you to whittle down the products on offer by factors such as colour, soil type and ideal conditions – making sure that whatever you buy, everything is bound to come up smelling of roses. 

Painting a pretty picture 

Sarah Raven has a range of low value products, costing under £2, but nothing about them appears ‘cheap’ in the way they have been merchandised on site. We would definitely like to think that part of the reason for that is the sleek blubolt design we crafted them, couple with the high quality imagery used throughout. Both of these factors lend themselves to a natural (in all sense of the word) advantage this enjoys – attractive products! This is therefore a site that plays to its advantages, as should others. 

How they use Nosto:

Best sellers lists

Gardening is highly seasonal, which means that shoppers will have specific needs according to what time of year it is. Sarah Raven allows this to be reflected by the buying patterns of the masses by enabling a ‘popular products this week’ section on the homepage, as well as best sellers on the category page. These have seen see a click-to-convert rate of 6-7%

Shopping cart recommendations

Many products in the gardening sector lend themselves to the suggesting of accessories. Sarah Raven is using an add-to-cart recommendation overlay to promote complementary items to the ones the customer has just added to cart. This creates a personal service effect and naturally increases AOV.

Cart page cross-sellers

Nicely positioned and designed cross-seller recommendations on the cart page encourage customers to make further purchases with a 17% click-to-conversion rate. This makes for a more successful store but also allows customers a relevant and tailored way to continue shopping should they so wish. 

Abandoned cart emails

Sarah Raven is not only making it easier for customers to recover their products and complete their purchase, but also providing a more personalized service to inspire further shopping by sending out Abandoned Cart emails that remind customers of the products that they have abandoned and making relevant recommendations on top. The industry average conversion rate for abandoned cart emails is 5%*, Sarah Raven’s conversion rate is 16.9%, with an average value per sent email of $3.40.

So, there we have it- a wonderful brand making the world a brighter, more beautiful place. Come back soon for another look into best practices from some of the ecommerce industry’s top talent.

Are you a gardening retailer? Find out more about personalization in your vertical with our latest case study by clicking the image below.