Technology has certainly changed the face of retail over the past few years, and many brick and mortar stores have suffered (or closed) as a result. For those who were able to weather the storm, the key to success was embracing technology and utilizing it as a strength instead of viewing it solely as a threat.
The good news is that the tides are turning back in favor of brick and mortar stores. This time, however, the consumers have higher expectations and less patience. Consumers needs have evolved and it’s up to retailers to deliver an enhanced shopping experience or risk losing loyalty.
More about service than product
Today’s consumers crave as much information as possible to help them save time and money, but all that information often leads to overload. With so many options available, consumers are focusing more on the expertise of specialists than they are on the products themselves. Instead of having to choose between a few dozen options for a particular product, they would rather choose from four or five items that have been pre-selected to fit their particular needs and lifestyle.
Tip for your shop: Anyone can go online and pick out flowers to send, but they seek you out instead because you’re an expert. Treat their order as a shopping experience by acting as a personal assistant who is shopping with them instead of selling to them. Great service will be remembered.
Selling the experience
Cost and convenience are what drove many people away from traditional brick and mortar stores and towards online retailers like Amazon, but what was lost was the shopping experience. Today’s consumers are less focused on acquiring possessions than they are on experiences. The future of retail will place more emphasis on selling those experiences and lifestyles than it does on tangible possessions as consumers are less willing to invest in products that may soon be obsolete.
Tip for your shop: Discounting flowers in the slow summer months provides that experience to a wider range of people and also keeps the phones ringing. The profit margins may not be as high on each order, but you stand to gain a new base of customers who have previously been lured away by lower prices online.
Give them what they want
The Floral industry is unique in many ways, but one of the exciting aspects is that in addition to providing goods, we are already ahead of the curve in providing experiences. While many other retail industries are going through massive changes in the near future, the floral industry already has a built-in advantage. The key is shifting the focus from the products themselves to the experiences we provide. Opening the door to find a delivery driver holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers is an experience in itself, as is sending someone flowers and anticipating their joy when they receive them. That is where the focus of our industry will be going forward.