Road to success not paved with flowers for Polish florists

Polish florists are ambitious, they want to improve their professional skills, follow international trends and be able to influence their clients. The flower business is not one of the easiest ones, there are still many problems, obstacles and things that should be changed or improved. That is why running a floristic business in Poland is still a challenge.

by Agnieszka Murawska

Polish florists are not fully satisfied with the current shape of their sector. Many of them say that the flower sector in Poland is not supporting them. Florists often mention the important problem they face within the most important part of the flower chain: wholesale markets and wholesaler who are selling flowers, plants and ready arrangements directly to the end customers. Therefore the majority of Polish florists are complaining that wholesale markets are in fact competing with them instead of supporting and supplying them. Many flower shop owners complain, that private people are allowed to buy flowers directly at the wholesale markets. This way “stylists” and “florists” without registered companies, who decorate events (mainly weddings) are buying flowers at the wholesale price. This is unfair towards all those who are running a regular business, paying taxes and baring the cost of running the flower shop, studio or workshop. This is spoiling the trade as the consumers get lower prices (without VAT) and later demand such prices at regular flower shops.

The road to success is not a path paved with flowers
Polish clients love flowers but are still extremely price sensitive (often a raised problem in the questionnaire). Some of them “want plenty for peanuts” or buy directly at the wholesale markets and at wholesalers. They even buy flowers themselves for special events like weddings. Many florists underline the role of trade organizations which should influence wholesalers and wholesale markets to sell the products to registered companies only. This would solve the problem of individual clients buying at wholesale prices, creating the grey zone and an unhealthy competition.

Generally florists admit, that clients can be divided into two groups. Those buying cheaper flowers mostly from supermarkets or less skilled florists (who compete with low prices) and who therefore can afford flowers for own use more often than only twice a year. And clients who will visit a well-known professional flower shop on a regular basis to buy high quality products, stylish arrangements and bouquets.

Quality and price
Other problem raised by respondents of the survey, is quality and price of flowers. Florists complain that flowers provided by importers and producers are not always of good quality. There are also opinions that in many cases the suppliers instead of lowering the price of older flowers, intentionally sells them in regular price. In contrast to that, many respondents admit that often the quality of flowers being sold at supermarkets is increasing and the price is very attractive. This results in a weird situation: the wholesale markets and wholesalers are offering more expensive flowers than supermarkets. It happens that the quality of flowers in supermarkets is better than that offered by professional suppliers. Obviously, such situation doesn’t help professionals to stay competitive.

The positive role of supermarkets: thanks to the cheaper offer Polish consumers are starting to use more flowers on a daily or weekly basis. The improving quality of flowers sold in chain stores increase the number of clients who want to buy flowers there.

From 10 February till the end of March 2020 the Agricultural Section of the Embassy conducted an online flower survey for the Polish florists. The aim of the survey was to gather knowledge about the current flower market seen from the florists perspective. The whole report (in English) can be downloaded from here.

Professional education
Finally, the respondents underline the importance of professional education and that it needs to be improved. At present there are only a few private schools and 3 universities providing floristic education.

Contrary to that, many semi floristic courses ‘produce‘ florists without proper knowledge and skills, who also try to find their place on the market. The estimation though is that the under-educated florists will have to shift to other sectors as the “flower awareness” of the clients and demand for high quality, nice arrangements is rising. The opinion of florists is that further education and skills development as well as following new trends is a key to be competitive and attractive for the client.

Social media
The majority of florists admit, that social media can play an important role in the education process of the client. It is a great tool to show florists’ skills in diverse floral arrangements (that clients cannot create themselves), show new trends and educate on flower preservation at home. Showing flowers and plants nicely arranged can increase the demand for them among clients. This can create the demand to buy plants and nice compositions at professional florists and flower shops. According to Polish florists, online channels are great platforms for self-advertisement and can help to reach new clients. Social media can support further development of online flower shops in Poland. Some florists have seen a significant increase in sales through advertising via Internet (social media channels and flowers by post). We may say that the online marketing and sales are increasing though still Polish costumers tend to prefer buying flowers personally.

New trends
Another very positive trend that can help the flower business nowadays is the trend for pot plants and natural decorations. This brings a bigger turnover in plant sales in many flower shops. Clients are increasingly aware of climate change and are looking for more eco-friendly alternatives for cut flowers. This is the direction flower shops should take. Selling pot plants for terraces, green walls or plant lease for office spaces is more and more popular in Poland.

Poles have many occasions for giving flowers as presents (name days, birthdays, house warming parties, weddings, funerals etc.). The trend of giving flowers is changing though. Many of those occasions are vanishing in the floral calendar. They are taken over by supermarkets and their (cheaper) offer of presents or are being replaced by other trends like charity collections (animals, kids and poor or elderly people) or buying wine or chocolates ‘instead of flowers’. Still the tradition of buying flowers for own use is not very strong.

Florists noticed, that two occasions: weddings (decorating the event) and funerals are developing well. There is a growing tendency to specialize in those. Funerals are very good floral moments, as traditionally in Poland flowers are brought as the last honor to the deceased. Also wedding decorations are having good times as many clients are looking for attractive decorations and are willing to spend more money on those.

Flowers don’t tell; they show - flower promotion
Polish florists underline the need for further flower promotion among clients.

They want to actively “fight” against the negative trend of giving something else instead of flowers. Also in this segment branch organizations are seen as those which should initiate and run flower supporting campaigns. For many florists The Netherlands is a great role model for developing Polish floristry and the whole flower sector. It is strongly visible not only in the voice of the florists, but also in promotional and sales floral activities realized in Poland.   

Polish consumers are definitely open to new flower varieties, new trends, original ideas they see in other countries, on Internet or in print media and they expect to find that at their florists. Luckily both sides: clients and florists are looking in the same direction.

Source: www.agroberichtenbuitenland.nl


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