"First large-scale customer satisfaction survey on flower shops in Japan"

The Japan Flower Vase Life Improvement Council has conducted a large-scale customer satisfaction (CS) survey of Japanese flower retailers (specialist shops and mass merchandising chains). Six flower stores were selected: Aoyama Flower Market (AFM), Hibiya Kadan (Flower specialty stores), Cainz (Home center), Aeon, Yaoko, and co-op Mirai (Supermarkets).

The survey was entirely funded by a grant from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This custom survey, using the Japanese Customer Satisfaction Index (JCSI) framework (Japan Productivity Center), compatible with the globally used American CSI, allows cross-sectional comparisons across service industries.

This survey was planned with the aim of obtaining an objective overview of the service standards of flower retailers from the customer’s perspectives. Such marketing data for benchmarking has been scarce in the Japanese flower industry which is dominated by small and medium-sized entities.

Key findings
1. Hibiya Kadan, a specialty flower store, boasts a remarkably high standard of customer satisfaction (CS), with 80.7 out of 100 points, which is on par with top service companies such as leading luxury city hotels. Despite its handsome average customer spending, Hibiya Kadan overwhelms mass retailers in the evaluation of cost performance, too. The online purchase rate is estimated to be over 9%, attaining high customer satisfaction comparable to physical shops.

2. There may be further market opportunities in the relatively underexplored area between specialty flower stores and mass retailers. Aoyama Flower Market (AFM) provides a successful example of such an eclectic model. It achieved an above-average (73.8) score of 75.4. AFM’s key CS indices show bimodal peaks: one consists of fans of first tier CS (approx. 20%, out of 10 classes) who appreciate quality, design, and service skills, and another is comprised of the convenience-driven, third to fourth tiers with decent level of satisfaction.

3. The CS scores of the 4 mass merchandisers underperformed the average. Text mining analysis indicates that flowers for traditional daily altar offerings account for more than 30% of total purchase items among the users of mass retailers. Home center (Cainz) customers tend to weigh cost performance. Seasonal flowers are popular among supermarket users including Aeon. It would be in the supermarkets' best interest to improve quality perception first. Their merchandise and service need more emotional impetus to boost a feeling of satisfaction, as shown by the Delight Index.

4. Around 20% of customers say that they felt dissatisfied in some way during the last 1 year of purchase experience. While 5.6% of customers express their discontent, 16% remain silent. A clear return procedure may be conducive to ”recovery” or effective complaint handling.

Use of the results of this custom survey for commercial purposes or ads is not allowed.

Click here to read more of the report.

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