Last Updated on January 5, 2023
As flower sales continue to slow down, does this signal the death of local florists?
Why Brick-And-Mortar Florists Are Facing An Uncertain Future
The floral industry has long provided customers with high-quality flowers for special occasions. Our shop has been doing the same since 1957.
In recent years, however, brick-and-mortar florists have seen a decline in sales, partly due to the rise of online flower delivery services and a corresponding shift in consumer behavior.
This article will explore how technology and changing customer preferences impact the retail floral industry and what strategies can be employed to ensure its continued success.
Trends That Are Affecting Retail Flower Shops Today
It is difficult to predict precisely what will happen with retail florist businesses in the next few years, as it is influenced by various factors such as consumer demand, technological developments, and economic conditions.
Here are some of the huge trends that have impacted the flower industry and will shape the direction of our business in the coming years.
Increased Online Sales
The rise of e-commerce and the increasing use of online platforms for purchasing fresh flowers and other gifts continue to increase.
This trend was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to more people shopping online florists and avoiding physical stores.
Our online sales have grown substantially over the last several years, and we expect this trend to continue.
We built our websites from the ground up to give our customers the user experience they want and the flexibility and accountability we need. We continually monitor, tweak, and maintain them to keep current.
In my opinion, e-commerce should not be intimidating. Keeping things simple and under our control has been key to our success in the e-commerce world.
Use Of Technology
While e-commerce technology has made the ordering process more convenient for the consumer, florists need to adopt technology to improve operations and customer experience as much as possible.
For example, we are using artificial intelligence and automation to improve our marketing, increase levels of customer support, and improve the efficiency of some of our other behind-the-scenes processes.
This allows us to experiment with different types of technology while keeping a watchful eye on ROI.
Personalization And Customization
These are areas where local retail florists especially need to focus on by offering more personalized and customized products to meet their customers’ individual needs and preferences.
This could involve offering a more comprehensive range of flower varieties, more service options, and the advanced design skills necessary to create custom bouquets or arrangements for any occasion.
Greater Focus On Sustainability
Although sustainability certification has been around for many years for commercial flower growers, consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious. They are increasingly seeking out products that are sustainably produced and packaged.
Retail florists have embraced this trend, with an increasing number offering sustainable options such as locally grown flowers, biodegradable products and packaging, and employing eco-friendly floral design techniques.
In my opinion, this sustainability movement will continue to gather steam and grow in the years to come.
Traditional retail florists will likely continue to face competition from various sources, including online marketplaces, grocery stores, and other non-floral retailers selling flowers.
To remain competitive, brick-and-mortar florists must focus on differentiating their products and services and offering value and convenience to their customers. Leveraging technology is one way to do that.
Another way I see that being done physically is through pop-up shops, which bring the florist to the customer, similar to how food trucks get the restaurant to the diner.
Predicting The Future?
This op-ed piece about the uncertain future of local florists and other small boutique retail stores by author Amy Stewart was published in the New York Times more than ten years ago.
I think it’s as timely today as it was when it was first published. Maybe even more so. In any case, it’s food for thought.
Amy is an author, an artist, and a strong supporter of local florists and the “buy local” movement.
One of the six books she has authored is Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers. It’s a fascinating insider look into the flower business.
In my years in the flower industry, I’ve faced many of the same challenges she describes in the book.
The environment in the floral industry today is not the same as when I started. The digital age is more competitive, fast-paced, and convenience-based.
Today, nearly everyone from grocery stores, big-box stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and extensive online retailers sells flowers.
Retail florists must continually adapt to the changing face of retail to survive. Failure to do so will spell disaster. It has for some of my fellow florists already.
But where there are challenges, there is also opportunity. Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, but as the saying goes, “Florists never die. They make other arrangements.”
Why I Believe The Future Is Bright
In my opinion, the future for traditional retail florists looks bright as long as they continue to adapt to changing consumer preferences and embrace new technologies.
Retail florists can remain competitive in the digital age by offering beautiful flowers and sustainable options, utilizing technology to streamline operations, and providing excellent customer service.
The key is doing it without losing the personal touch that traditional brick-and-mortar florists have always had with their loyal customers.
With the right strategies in place, brick-and-mortar florists will continue to thrive well into the future.
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Til next time,