- Written by Caroline Marshall-Foster
- June 04, 2017
- Category: Editor's Blog
Knowing she wouldn’t be with me on the day my youngest tried to buy me flowers for Mother’s Day. She knew she had to ring a local florist (I’ve trained my girls well!!) and she set a budget of £30 which I thought was pretty darned generous for an 18 year old on a student allowance.
Trouble is the florist she rang obviously didn’t share my views and told her curtly that their minimum order was £35 plus delivery and they couldn’t help.
She was mortified and embarrassed by their approach (she was too polite to say “do you know who my Mum is”!!) and obviously gutted that sending me flowers wasn’t going to happen.
When she told me why there were no flowers from her I was livid that a) my darling daughter was made to feel small and not important and b) that in one fell swoop a florist had potentially put a buyer off and led her straight into the arms of players like Freddie’s Flowers, Arena, Appleyard etc who could serve her price point, make themselves very accessible to her various devices and once they had her on their database would probably make darned sure she didn’t go anywhere else!
You see this is a market that is ripe for the plucking. Research in the US shows that younger buyers (particularly Gen Y) are far more appreciative of flowers and plants – indeed there’s been a huge rise since 2009 thanks in main to the huge increase in social media coverage. However, if florist shops (traditionally the preserve of Baby Boomers – i.e. oldies) block this interest by being expensive and unapproachable then they are simply shooting themselves in the foot again.
Because girls like my daughters are your customers of the future and if they aren’t nurtured and encouraged then more and more will go to the digital players who are more than happy to take their money … even if it is only £30.
The solution is trickier but what about a student flower discount card that could be used around the UK. It could start in university towns with local florists promoting it in their communities to their huge catchment base but any florist participating in the scheme could piggy back and gain customer’s in their home towns as well. It would need working up – I’m happy to work with anyone interested and might test it out with my GFG peeps - but strikes me that unless we work together to show florists are accessible and affordable we risk losing a generation of buyers and that will simply result in more shop closures.