Industry News

Australian floral retail and its potential to bloom

In the past week I made two floral purchases: one in Melbourne and one in the UK via an online platform, and it got me thinking about the floral retail space and prompted me to share my take on the opportunities.

I believe that within the world of retail, floral plays a key role as a beacon of freshness – an attractive and engaging display that amplifies the freshness credentials of the store. It can result in an impulse purchase that in many cases continues within the wider shopping experience as the customer tours the fresh food aisles and increases their spend. If we take a snapshot of the UK retail landscape where the floral display is more mature, we see a higher level of impulse purchasing by consumers doing their regular food shop. A floral purchase is seen as the start of the fresh produce shopping list rather than simply a gifting occasion (the most likely driver of the Australian market). Investing in the category should help reposition it in consumers minds, shift their purchasing behaviour and drive significant growth.

Returning to my purchasing experiences last week, firstly my Australian purchase: whilst I am a regular supporter of the retailers with my food shopping (supplemented with a considered level of support for the independent trades in my suburb), a floral purchase took me straight to a farm shop on the outskirts of my suburb. I didn’t hesitate, despite it being an additional eight minute drive. Why was I prepared to drive further for high quality flowers? The strength of past experience had clearly beat any competition. So what was it about this store that made the pull so strong to me as a consumer? Here’s my take on the features and benefits:

  • A dedicated floral store/hut that is staffed – expertise is on hand
  • An engaging and passionate florist willing to talk you through the range
  • A compelling variety of great quality flowers, including both traditional and more unusual types (that become a talking point)
  • Competitive pricing which drives volume and helps maintain freshness
  • Presentation that invites you to help yourself (instead of selecting a pre-arranged, plastic-wrapped bouquet), and is then expertly arranged and wrapped and perfect for gifting

The result was a swift purchase of great quality flowers, accompanied by a pleasant and memorable in-store experience.

The second experience had a different objective: I needed flowers delivered quickly in the UK, so I went immediately to the Marks & Spencers website – the brand equity that they have built means that I trust them for quality, range, service and delivery capability. Based on previous experiences, I know that their flowers are accurately represented onsite, they outperform on shelf life and are competitively priced. On reflection, it’s clear to me that they have taken the attributes from my local in-store experience and recreated it via their online experience.

Is there an opportunity to grow floral across mainstream retail?
I believe there is significant untapped potential in this category, but in order to win we need a deeper understanding of the consumer and their needs (as we have previously developed across multiple categories in retail). Rather than relying just on these anecdotal experiences, it’s critical to understand what is currently limiting the purchase level, and whether it is possible to increase sales. Developing a clear strategy is the pathway to success, and with some amazing growers and incredible varieties available, we have a great starting point. How would I do it? Well, perhaps that’s the subject of my next article…

Mark Field
Founder and CEO of Prof. Consulting Group