Is it time to pivot again?
Updated: Apr 20
Let's admit it - COVID was challenging for all of us - but there was a silver lining - it boosted floral sales in 2021 and 2022 and we were all on an economic high.
Now in 2023 we are living with uncertain financial times. Inflation continues to rise, and rising interest rates haven't totally slowed the trend. Extra money consumers got from COVID relief packages is long gone. The housing market is tight. The finance gurus keep warning of a recession. Major tech companies have recently had mass layoffs to keep their stock value up and expenses down.
What does all of this mean for our industry? According to the Society of American Florists, retail flower shop sales increased an average of 21.5% from 2021 to 2022. This year sales are expected to increase by 5%, followed by a slow and steady growth over the next few years. Here are some trends happening right now:
Flowers for the Home Working from home has caused consumers to focus on their environment and beautifying their space. This means fresh flowers and plants to enhance their living/working space.
Wellness Consumers are starting to view flowers as part of wellness and self care routine. In trying times - people look for comfort. Consumers might not be buying as many flowers as they did in 2022 or spending on large arrangements - but they are still buying to treat themselves and loved ones to a simple pleasure.
Weddings and Events The wedding business continues to be strong. The post-COVID pent up wedding demand may be getting back to normal levels, but couples are still having weddings and the industry is still busy trying to accommodate demand.
Honoring the Human Connection. Consumers are more comfortable with on-line ordering from smaller, more boutique companies and they are returning to the human touch they can find at smaller businesses.
So how do we do better than okay during these uncertain times? Here are some ideas:
Work smarter, not harder. Assess what you're doing in your business today and focus on what gives you the best return for your investment. If your gift items don't move, it might be time to rethink your strategy. If it's costing you more labor to make hand-tied cash and carry bouquets, maybe it's time to think about trying ready-made bouquets.
Keep growing your audience. Fewer customers who are buying less product means you have to find more customers to make up for what you're losing. Offer more products and services to keep your competitive edge. Social media has exploded since COVID and there are many potential customers who will find you on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms, so post often and get out there.
Improve Your Service. In a time when people want connection - think about your service and how to improve upon what you do. The relationships you have with your customers are built on how you treat them. Create loyal customers by giving them a more personal experience. Know what their preferences are and how they buy. A simple thank you or customer appreciation goes a long way.
Think value. The average consumer is aspirational minded. They might not be able to afford the $100 flower arrangement each time, but they may be willing to buy something smaller for $50. Try to promote low cost/high value products in this economy.
I'm an eternal optimist. We all have to weather some storms in our business - that's a given. However, life is cyclical and bad times don't last forever.
"As sure as the spring will follow the winter,
prosperity and economic growth will follow recession."