Tips for staying relevant to flower and plant consumers in a virtual world.
For more than 100 years, the retail flower business has been focused on local sales, with the exception of wire sales, which FTD started in the early 1900s. In some ways, the floral industry was ahead of the curve selling virtual products (flower by wire) before anyone even knew what virtual meant or what drop- shipping was all about. As the internet grew and became more accessible, florists had the potential to expand their customer reach and grow their sales.
As technology changes, so does the way we do business and the way consumers interact with our businesses. New shopping platforms, social media and YouTube have all contributed to new opportunities and growth, making way for trends that have greatly impacted the floral industry. You may have noticed that consumers are not only wanting new ways to shop but also looking for experiences. To stay relevant with your customers, it’s important for you to find a way your company and brand can fit in.
In this COVID-19 era, florists find themselves with a unique opportunity to expand existing sales through new online channels as well as by offering new experiences like virtual floral design classes. You may have already been a part of the DIY terrarium and wreath-making trends over the last few years, and the DIY trend continues to grow. Now it’s time to take it online. If you look at the existing flower arranging videos on YouTube, you will see people in the millions, who are stuck at home, now tuning in to learn how to design their own flowers and take care of their plants—just as they are going online to find cooking instruction, fitness classes and other DIY projects.
Although these virtual experiences may have been forced quicker than expected for some, there were already many businesses moving toward the DIY trend and finding new ways to interact with customers. Why not take this opportunity to expand your brand and grow your customer base? Who else is more qualified than a floral professional to show consumers how to arrange and care for flowers and plants? All you need is a smartphone and a tripod, and you can jump in and boost your social media and organic SEO rankings just by putting new, original content online.
Some florists are going even further by combining online classes with DIY kits that customers can purchase for local or nationwide delivery (via FedEx). You need not be limited any more by your physical location and how far people will drive to your retail store.
E-commerce is exploding this year due to the pandemic. We are all shopping more online—and even engaging health- care providers and veterinarians via telemedicine. This trend will not stop, and it will accelerate in the next few years. Flower shops that do not have a well-defined public presence online coupled with a functional e-commerce website will soon be at a huge disadvantage. So, go ahead, create your own content, or find someone to help you do it, but don’t just wait for things to get back to normal. It may be a while!