Surviving in a New Flower World
By the time this article is published, we will either have found an effective treatment for COVID-19 or be dealing with a second wave of infections. I have faith that technology will quickly find a way to keep people from needlessly passing before their time. The entire global medical community is currently singularly focused on this one task, and that tells me we will eventually beat this virus, I have absolutely no doubt. But as for timing, no one can really predict for sure.
What we can say for certain is that the fundamentals of the flower business will not change. Good growers will always have a market for their product, albeit a slightly smaller one in 2020. Great retailers that have served customers reliably and faithfully in the past will continue to serve those same customers. Consumers still love and will continue to spend dollars on flowers for themselves or loved ones for special occasions in their lives.
But just as in other industries, there absolutely will be consolidation in the flower world. This has already been happening for many years, but current circumstances will only accelerate this trend in 2020 and into 2021. Weaker companies will disappear while more financially stable ones will not only ride out this storm but also maybe even expand market share.
There is also no doubt that most of the new flower startups won’t survive this shakeout. There is no more easy funding, and negative cash flow is a death sentence for new ventures in a downturn.
Additionally, the importance of digital marketing has never been more important. With physical flower locations closed and buyers ordering online, those with a coherent and functional ecommerce strategy will pull through while those without one will perish.
The goal for many players for 2020 will be to just survive to fight another day. Owners need to make the difficult choices that will keep them in business into 2021 because, as they say, the sun will come up tomorrow.
Many of us do not work in the flower business because it is a path to quick wealth. It is a business we grew up in or one that we are passionate about – or, in many cases, both. Our love of this business will not go away anytime soon.
Luckily for us, there is hope on the horizon. Government advisories to stay home have people looking to alleviate their cabin fever by bringing a little bit of nature indoors. The renewed boom in plants for the home, an unmistakable trend before COVID-19, will likely persist long past this period of shelter-in-place. People have learned that the calming presence of nature can give them peace of mind.
Given all the turmoil today, people need flowers now more than ever. Maybe this is the long overdue turning point for the floral industry, where people start to see flowers not just as discretionary special-occasion purchases but rather an essential part of everyday lives. For all of our sakes, I hope that day is here. Stay safe.