Designed to serve as a mix of education, trend spotting and market knowledge to define floral strategies, the Floriexpo Education Program featured numerous experts that presented and discussed the most pressing issues in the industry.
Derek Woodruff kicked off the program with an exploration of the Floral Marketing Fund (FMF) study that laid out the main drivers of consumer preferences in houseplant purchasing. What are people focused on and buying as consumers return to “normal” life and work activities? Woodruff picked out the most essential pieces of information that he wanted the audience to know about, including which are the most popular social media platforms for plant purchase, which plants are trending up and the preferred places to shop and why.
A chart that showcased succulent pricing was especially insightful, highlighting why the $19.34 price was the ideal sweet spot between something priced higher or lower. The purchase amount consumers are spending has gone up as many are looking to bring the outdoors inside.
“When you can’t visit people, people send flowers,” Woodruff said.
What are some of the main reasons for non-purchases though? Many survey respondents said they were afraid of killing something but Woodruff talked through how that apprehension can be relived based on a conversation. 26% of respondents said they weren’t making a purchase because of COVID-related reasons. He also answered the question of whether or not houseplants make people feel happier and detailed what topics like experiential retail and suggestive setting can mean to floral category buyers. The full report is available at floralmarketingfund.org.
Moderated by Glenna Hecht, the keynote lunch pulled together multiple experts to discuss what it means to engage employees in the workplace. Panelists Kim Boin, Greg Kurkjian and Bradley Gaines shared insights that they’ve gathered as leaders in their organizations.
Participants were actively asked to explore the biggest challenges they have when it comes to recruiting, managing and engaging with teams. Boin mentioned how challenging it has been to find people that want to do the job they need done. Kurjian said that finding people isn’t a huge challenge but finding the right person is more difficult than ever. One solution was to double the salary for the new position but that would impact people currently in the role, which compelled a conversation about realistic salary expectations. Boin also talked about how they’ve been able to “get back to basics” related to how things were being done before the pandemic, which has made a big impact on how teams are engaging with one another.
Hecht went through engagement research that’s been conducted to explore what teams need to succeed when it comes to basic needs, individual contributions, growth and much more. She mentioned some grassroots feedback that outlined how much money is lost with employee turnover. Good company culture can increase revenue up to 4x. She also outlined what it means to define different expectations with different types of people and personalities.
Growing profitability in turbulent times was the topic that Corrine Heck talked through in terms of logistics, strategy and more. As an event florist, she has a unique perspective around growing a floral business and what it means to simplify processes and tools in a way that directly impacts profitability.
While the specifics are going to be different depending on the size and focus, there are foundational elements that impact profitability for companies of any size or type. Actions needs to produce results but that action needs to factor in a cashflow projection that enables stakeholders to track profits and expenses to set annual budgets. She detailed what it means to evaluate a pricing strategy in terms of a markup percentage, the importance of ordering early, how to avoid overbuying and more.
“It’s not by chance that companies are profitable,” Heck told the crowd.
She also outlined numerous resources that florists can utilize to impact their profitability strategy, including the top ten terms every contract should have.
Profitability was a major focus for the panel that followed, which centered on innovative customer engagement tactics that are defining entirely new marketing campaigns. Moderated by Blake Bussie with Mimi Martinez Pacheco and Ryan Black defining the panel, the session was an open Q&A that allowed the audience to ask questions centered on new products that have resonated, the margins that are associated with certain top products, how marketing has changed since COVID and much more.
“The best marketing is when we make it simple,” said Pacheco. “We’re making the next industry experts with these messages which highlights why education is so essential and why it should be foundational to marketing initiatives. We want people to feel confident in the choices they’re making.”
The final session was easily the most unique one of the event, as stage hosted the Flower Circus to provide attendees with flowers and a show. John Elstgeest and Mark Frank explored what it means to make a visual impact in a store using the latest color trends but did so by asembling, talking through and showing what it means to make this sort of impact with bouquets.
“You’re not hiding but showing with the bouquets,” said Elstgeest.
Geared toward anyone that wants to see shoppers stop in their tracks and view a floral setup or arrangement, their display highlighted what makes the Floriexpo Education Program as unique as it is essential for stakeholders across the floral industry.