How to make the European florist future-proof?

The IFTF (4–6 November at the Expo Haarlemmermeer in Vijfhuizen) will present future-minded florists with the Flower Shop of the Future, during the florist event IFTF World of Flowers. A sizeable group of companies is involved in the event.

These are all companies who want to help keep the florist strong, to keep the floriculture sector strong. Help make the European florist future-proof, and strengthen his or her entrepreneurship. With special attention paid to aspects like product range, floral artistry, company hygiene, digitisation and sustainability.

Bunk bed
"Barendsen Aalsmeer is present with a bunk bed," says Jan de Boer. "Visitors can climb in it, and shout out whatever is wrong in their eyes. Like a patient. Behind the humour, lies a message. As you get to know the bottlenecks better, you can work towards better solutions. Shouting, by itself, does not solve problems. In this changing world you have to work together with partners and customers, don’t behave like a patient, and learn to be proud of this business. At World of Flowers, we can. It’s a good thing that clubs like HPP, Green Team Consultancy+ and Florint organize this. So that we envision our future, together. We are glad to be a part of it..."

Sustainability that solves problems
"For as long as Smithers Oasis exists, we are closely linked to the florist," says Chris Martens. "His survival is dear to our heart. Our products aim to solve problems that florists face. Working better, faster and easier: that's what counts. In the past, and now just as much. In the Flower Shop of the Future, we show what we’re capable of. When it comes to sustainability, for example. We have substrates made from biodegradable materials, such as wood and papier-mâché. We’ve also developed a series fit for hip and commercial flower arrangements. For mourning floristry, there is foam in special shapes. For event planners, we offer large surfaces. All OASIS floral foam products have a consistent good quality and are pleasant to work with. With these products, the florist can truly get creative. After all, his floral creations are the expression of his craftsmanship: that's what makes the flower shop unique for consumers. So that the floral arts may continue to blossom..."

Sustainable in glass and pottery
For one of the other participants, Hakbijl Glass/D&Mdepot, the sustainability aspect rings no less true. "When it comes to glass and other decorative materials, the consumer already asks for a sustainable product," explains Han Landman. "Our companies are already responding to that, and will make that clear in the Flower Shop of the Future. Especially there, because the demand for sustainable products will only increase. We want to show the florist how he can underline his craftsmanship with those products."

The importance of hygiene
Marty van Schoonhoven of Chrysal is certain that the florist of the future will bank on customer satisfaction. “We want to help with that, as a partner of Florint and the florist. Traditionally, with products that promote proper flowering of the bouquet. But also by bringing attention to good company hygiene. Both aspects will be on the agenda, in our little corner...
Nowadays, the consumer gets a vase life of six to seven days; he wants ten. Quite a few steps are still required to achieve that. Working with clean knives, clean buckets, clean tables and high-quality cut flower food, amongst others. Not every florist knows this well enough; some see our product and company hygiene as cost factors. Tomorrow's florist will have to shed that mentality. We are going to show, and tell them, how..."

Strong on the internet
The internet offers tomorrow’s florist opportunities, but also poses threats. After all, the supermarkets have more money, so perhaps even more opportunities as well. During World of Flowers, three businesses will be showing florists how to become strong by being clever. Florismart is an online flower market that has integrated the webshops of a number of medium-sized wholesale companies. The florist can look at a huge product range there, and see a price comparison as well as the minimum purchase quantity per wholesaler. Florismart takes care of both delivery and invoicing. "It already works very well in the UK," explains Steven France. "We now introduce it on the ‘Continent’ as well, and will explain the concept in the Flower Shop of the Future. With people clarifying how everything works, right on the screen. I will also be explaining, in a presentation, how a digital marketplace between wholesale and retail trade can strengthen the chain. This system can make wholesale distribution much more efficient, reducing the cost disadvantage compared to other sales channels…"

Your own website
A good website, whether combined with a webshop or not, can strengthen the position of the florist. FloristPro is a British developer of websites for florists. Tim Teasel: "Our knowledge of both IT and floral design makes us unique. We understand the specific online needs of florists. So far, we have designed about five hundred florist sites. For small florists, but also for famous designers. We are able to adapt the site design to the other e-commerce activities. During World of Flowers we can show our work to European florists, and explain it in detail. Including our latest designs, which can be precisely tailored to customer needs."

Order management systems

Good order management systems and information systems can provide the florist with highly useful (consumer) information. Strelitzia software delivers these, linked to a webshop or to specific order types (wedding flowers, funeral flowers, etc.) if so desired. In all the main European languages, including Dutch. "Especially now that our software is available in several languages, we are very happy to be at World of Flowers," Mark Benett says. "Making clear what we can do for florists, where better to do that than in the Flower Shop of the Future?"

In the ever-changing Flower Shop of the Future, famous Dutch floral artists Dini Holtrop, Bert Kuiper, Menno Kroon, Pim van den Akker and Spanish designer Dani Santamaria will be making contemporary flower arrangements. Moreover, florists will be shown where the future opportunities are when it comes to digital technologies, and there will be various other activities catering to florists as well. On Wednesday, a large bridal show, the floral arrangements of which will be prepared in the Flower Shop of the Future. On Thursday, introductory presentations on sustainability, storytelling and digitisation. On Friday, International Florist Organisation Florint’s annual Members’ Congress takes place there.

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