The gift of flowers is certain to delight to any recipient whether it’s for a special occasion or just a thoughtful gesture. The floral industry is one of several that have been slow to recover from the recession. The new Purchasing Barriers Tracking Study from the Floral Marketing Research Fund shows what’s going on in the industry and what merchants intend to do to increase sales.
The data suggests that 80% of consumers will not be buying flowers over the next year. It’s not that people don’t like flowers. Often, they don’t think of them. The research shows that consumers give flowers as gifts when they don’t know a person very well or when they are out of other ideas. In addition, consumers, especially women, like to browse in the stores to get gift ideas. If they don’t see flowers, then this option doesn’t come to mind.
Most consumers associate flower-giving with specific holidays or occasions. In general, women are more likely than men to receive flowers. Older women tend to receive flowers on Mother’s Day while younger women receive them at graduation.
Consumers appreciate getting flowers but some of the biggest barriers to purchase are related to how quickly flowers die and to how much flowers cost.
To improve sales, florists will be targeting non-flowers buyers. This means encouraging these gift-giving consumers to consider flowers as an option for more than just Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Florists may also try to sell more flowers to their best customers. Currently, consumers who skew higher than average at the florist cash register are between the ages of 18–29, earn over $50,000 annually, are married, and are employed full-time.
The specific recommendations from this study encourage florists to:
Offer incentives, coupons, discounts
Lower shipping or delivery charges
Guarantee extras like vases or delivery times
Other retailers, especially in the gift food industries, have had success marketing variety of the month programs or heirloom specials. This is another tactic florists might try. With content marketing growing as a way to engage and educate consumers, florists may also want to tell more of a story about the origins of their flowers to increase sales.
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.
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