Managing a Flower Shop in the New Millenium: The Changing Floral Market

I have been working in and around local flowers shops for close to ten years.  During that relatively short time I have witnessed some major changes in the market.

Going even further back, even as soon as the late 90’s, flower shops were fairly typically a local business.  Mom and Pop type stores run by families or groups of friends that spent a great deal of time building their clientèle by providing good service to their usual customers.  With the exception of some of the larger florists and franchises, most of the marketing was done by word of mouth and through the expectation that you could go to your local florist and have a chat with them while they got your order ready, and if you spent some time there, they may even know the names of your kids or ask how your spouse was doing.  Very friendly, “down home” types of atmospheres.

Now in the late 90’s comes the internet with a roar.  While wire services like FTD have been around for some time, the internet now created a new market.  Now a flower shop could be found world wide.  You live in Australia and want to send flowers to your Sister in Holland; No problem!  Just search online and you could find a great deal of flower shops that could send them whatever you need.  In fact, during certain times of the year, like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, “flowers” will often hit top 10 search rankings in the world!

You may be thinking, wow that’s great!  I have just expanded my market from 700,000 people here in Winnipeg to over 6 Billion around the world!  The internet is truly astounding in this way isn’t it, but read on…

In the beginning, this market was also dominated by the wire services.  Gradually the concept caught on and with a global market, you can find literally thousands of ways to send flowers online.  That’s right, thousands!  How many of those thousands of ways to send flowers online link back to your store?

I recently heard some stats about internet shopping that may astound you.  Over the 2007 Christmas holidays, consumer spending in the brick and mortar retail world stagnated or maybe even slightly declined, while internet shopping went up a whopping 25%!

With the ever expanding internet market and ever decreasing standard retail market, local florists along with all other retail businesses MUST have an online presence or at least have a plan to do it.

Up Next: The Online Floral Mist – Clearing the Fog

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