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Robbin Yelverton, Blumz

How the world of retail floristry evolved over the last 15 years

Blumz… by JRDesigns is celebrating its 15th Birthday in April 2017 and in those 15 years we have seen significant changes in the world of retail floristry. Major changes from the process of procuring flowers to the latest and greatest trends in design have taken place. However, we feel the most significant change has occurred due to the influence of the internet and all things digital.

The entrance of personal computers, smart phones and the internet was a game changer. Blumz opened its first store in 2002 just as email had seriously taken over the job previously held by mail, fax and phone. This newest form of communication allowed for most people to be contacted quicker and cheaper than print and traditional mail. The world wide web opened up the ability to host a store without physical constraints. Through this virtual store, the traditional retailer had yet one more way for clients to “enter” their business, select merchandise and make purchases.

photo credit: Blumz

Additionally, the advent of social media allowed more ways of marketing than previously available. Sharing the story of one's business, connecting with clients on a personal level and the visual format provided by the social platforms of Friendster, LinkedIn, MySpace and now Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram truly revolutionized retail marketing. With all these changes and technological advances, many of the older more established (and therefore least likely to embrace change) floral shops fell by the way side. With the added pressure of the big box businesses, direct internet order takers and changing customer demographics, the traditional retail florist has had to review, revise and reinvent themselves to survive.

Educating the client on the advantages of working with their local florist is especially crucial now. Providing a positive, VIP experience has never been more important, due mainly to the use of the internet. The ability of clients to post reviews and comments instantaneously, even while still standing in your store(!), has forced the retailer to raise the bar of customer service. How you respond to those reviews and posts are there for everyone to read. Use those responses as a means of educating your potential future clients on how to avoid having negative experiences.

Staying abreast of the latest developments, embracing the changes and working them to your advantage is yet one more skill set that is required to have a successful retail floral operation.

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