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PMA shares ideas for increasing floral sales

While consumer confidence has been strong through the first half of 2019, escalating trade tensions have contributed to stock market volatility and concerns over a global economic slowdown. So, what does this mean for the floral industry? We all know flowers are discretionary goods, and the floral market is highly affected by the state of the economy. But the leaders in our industry have an opportunity to channel this tide.

A wellness wave has been steadily taking over in our culture, and we’re at a critical juncture in both the produce and floral industries. Plant-forward eating is becoming mainstream, driven in part by the plant-based protein and plant-based food craze — not to mention the produce industry’s longtime and ongoing efforts to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in foodservice, retail and omnichannel.

Now is also the time to double down efforts aimed at making potted plants and cut flowers a mainstay of our daily lives in the United States. Research has proven plants and cut flowers elicit feelings of happiness and well-being. Those feelings and values aren’t something we desire every now and then, or only around holidays. So why should eating healthful foods or treating ourselves and others to flowers, potted plants and other stuff that’s good for us be an occasional happening versus habit? In short, it shouldn’t.

At Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Connections: Floral Miami event in May, industry leaders gathered to tackle this very challenge: how to increase floral sales among different customer groups and at different occasions. Participants considered customer personas and purchasing occasions and brainstormed ways to make the most of market opportunities to grow demand. Outcomes will be published at pma.com, and the first of four takeaway articles is already available.

Increasing everyday floral sales

Tips to increase everyday sales include using experiential marketing, which involves creating fun consumer experiences where they can make and take bouquets, arrangements, wreaths or floral crowns. Consider different distribution methods, including pop-up stands and flower trucks. Messages and merchandising that appeal to emotions, as well as storytelling and finding ways to connect and engage consumers, are key.

Also important is educating consumers about products and floral care through signage, inserts, point-of-sale or other means. Other potential opportunities include exploring ways to cross merchandise with home goods and home décor brick-and-mortar and online stores and offering floral subscriptions.

For more details on “7 Creative Tactics for Increasing Everyday Floral Sales,” see PMA’s website. In the coming months, PMA will share additional insights and ideas that Fresh Connections: Floral Miami participants brainstormed, including ways to increase holiday sales and gift giving, and how to reach reluctant shoppers. In the meantime, below is some teaser content.

Increasing holiday sales

Holiday sales are typically strong for U.S. floral retailers. Demand is high, and growers and suppliers meet demand with volume, variety and consistent quality. Industry leaders say there are ways, however, to grow holiday sales even more.

We can start by recognizing all holidays, not just the major ones, as well as special days, weeks, and months that commemorate occasions or movements. Cross merchandise with cards, edible arrangements for a one-stop solution for the harried holiday shopper. If money is tight, flowers are an economical way to boost spirits during hard financial times — for both the giver and recipient.

It’s never too early (or too late) to think of new approaches to marketing and merchandising. In fact, many consumer product companies begin pitching lifestyle editors in July for winter holiday gift guides. Hint: both floral subscriptions and a make-and-take floral events are good holiday gift ideas, one tangible and the other experiential!

Increasing floral sales for gift giving

Gifts are tied to meaning not dollar value, making the versatility and diversity in price points within the floral category perfect for when consumers want to give a gift. The act of giving, and not expecting anything in return, improves psychological health. The same goes for identifying and expressing reasons to be grateful.

When it comes to appealing to consumers who are shopping for gifts, the industry needs to focus on the proper value proposition. Flowers allow the giver to witness the joy in the recipient before they even “open” the gift. Floral gifts have traditionally been geared towards women, but we must overcome the gender bias with our advertising and merchandising to show men as recipients too.

Reaching reluctant shoppers

Reluctant shoppers will tout that flowers are expensive for the value received, especially since the average bouquet of flowers lasts one to two weeks. Flowers convey meaning, and people buy them to say something to other people or themselves. We’ve seen the “I’m worth it” and “you’re worth it” messaging in advertising for other products. It can work for floral too.

Sentiments you can express with flowers run the gamut: I’m sorry, you’re beautiful, I love you, thanks for being a good friend and listener, I’m proud of you, thankful, and so on. Plus, they make good pictures and spread the feel-good power of floral products beyond the giver and receiver. That just might motivate others to purchase too.

Becky Roberts is the Director of Floral & New Initiatives for PMA.

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