Flower trade business through an online store
Article author: Victor Averin
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Nowadays no one can be surprised by trading on the Internet; on the Internet, you can buy almost everything that is available offline. This also applies to plants, both garden and indoor. But to open a flower online store (that is, one where mainly "cut" will be sold), far from all decide.
And this is not surprising, because such flowers are a very finicky product that requires quick sales and turnover. But, given that the niche of the online flower industry is not yet as busy as retail, this business option can "hit the spot", the main thing is to carefully and reasonably approach its organization.
Is it worth it
Opening a flower online store, as a rule, is decided by those who have a similar store (flower salon, pavilion) offline, but want to expand the circle of buyers by offering any additional services. And they, of course, entail various kinds of costs: material, labor and time, which can at first significantly divert attention from the main place of trade. And this moment must be taken into account from the moment of making a decision on the development of trade via the Internet.
Will the online flower business be profitable? For this to be so, you need to define the target audience of potential buyers and the store strategy from the very beginning. Will it completely duplicate the assortment of an already operating store, will it bring its own "flavor" and additional goods, or in general - will it work in a different direction?
Very often you can find such an option: an offline store sells "cut", and an online store offers bouquets with delivery and (or) bulk purchases of flowers. Or the owner of several pavilions decides to open an online flower shop in the style of a boutique with an exclusive and expensive assortment.
As already mentioned, the correct "bid" for a certain category of buyers is already half the battle.
And buyers in the most general terms can be divided into:
- Those who prefer to buy almost everything on the Internet: from groceries to cars. Naturally, they will also buy flowers here, and in any variation and for any reason;
- Busy people for whom the purchase scheme looks something like this: chose a bouquet, agreed on delivery, paid, received the service in full volume and at the specified time;
- Wealthy people. They, of course, can fall under the category of "busy" and therefore order flowers on the Internet, or they can simply be those who have the desire and opportunity to please their loved ones with something original;
- Those who want to save money and time (such, for example, can buy flowers for school holidays and other organizational events) or deal with the design of halls for all kinds of celebrations.
The flower business is a painstaking task and not everyone can do it. To develop a profitable business, you have to learn a lot and make every effort. If you keep reading, then you are serious. Well, if so, let's figure out how to open a flower business - step by step.
Define the format of the flower shop
The number of business investments depends on the store format. Close your eyes and imagine how you see the flower business:
1. Perhaps this is a boutique with panoramic windows, surrounded by white lilies.
2. A cozy store in a residential area, with long-legged beauties of roses in expensive vases, armchairs for visitors and the smell of coffee.
3. A warehouse filled to capacity with fresh flowers delivered to retail outlets in the morning.
4. A tent near the metro with cute and inexpensive bouquets.
A flower salon will bring good income, but it's not a lot of money. If you want to make a lot, aim for a medium to large store.
Opening a flower shop in Moscow from scratch will cost no less than 1 million rubles. In the regions, the amount is 2, 3, or even 4 times lower. Aspiring businessmen are firmly convinced that flower shops should be located near the metro. However, one store near the metro generates income, while another one located on the opposite side of the same station operates at a loss. In order not to burn out, choose a room carefully, weighing all the pros and cons.
Choosing a highly profitable location
Choose densely populated areas with dense residential buildings and complexes under construction. It is desirable that the outlet is located on the first line of buildings and has large glass showcases. A good option is basement rooms. In addition, it is worth starting from some features - it is better to locate the store:
near roads (not highways);
If you want to open an online flower shop, then you need to start by learning more about floristry. Well, if you are sociable, well versed in business, then the flower business can provide a secure future.
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How to start your online flower business
Florist must have artistic taste and creative talent. The commercial side of a business assumes that you will be dealing with numerous clients.
Floral arrangements for weddings and funerals are often done during times of emotional stress. You need to be able to maintain self-control when working in a limited time environment and with nervous clients.
There are two ways to learn to trade - to get an appropriate education (technical school, college, courses, trainings) or to study directly from the master.
Each path has its own advantages. In the first case, you get theoretical (academic) knowledge. If the practice in an educational institution is organized at the proper level, then you will gain practical skills.
In the second case, working with the seller, you will be able to comprehend the invisible secrets of arranging bouquets (for example, popular fashion trends) and trade secrets (what is in demand, where you can save money, how to please the client).
Consult with lawyers. Do you want to work as a private entrepreneur? Or will you buy a trading license?
Nuances may arise depending on what area you are in.
An online store is opened in two cases:
- People already have a regular store with regular customers and want to expand the flower business. Then they add virtual to regular trading. E-commerce works to expand sales.
- Trade starts from scratch. Then you need to organize a website and equip a small office space.
Our own website on the Internet is an additional sales channel for the flower business. A properly configured site can significantly increase audience reach and increase profitability. For this, the means of Internet marketing, SEO and social media are used. With an integrated approach, the technical characteristics of the resource, the quality of the content, and active advertising are also important.
Flowers - fleeting beauty
First, let's say a few words about the specifics of the business, and the trade in fresh flowers really has its own peculiarities.
Firstly, cut plants are stored for a limited time, losing their commercial characteristics every day. Vendors have to make great efforts to prolong the freshness of roses and lilies.
Second, flower sales are uneven. The seasonal factor plays a role, and demand peaks occur on calendar holidays.
Third, fresh cut flowers are an emotional purchase. Therefore, when organizing trade, including on the Internet, it is necessary to take into account the psychology of the consumer and influence, first of all, his feelings.
Most sellers start small, opening a small outlet in a high traffic area. This allows you to "fill your hand", establish the sales process and acquire a minimal audience. As it develops, trade expands, often by opening new points.
Recently, access to the Internet and the use of digital sales technologies have become especially relevant.
Who are the customers?
When developing a business, you need to clearly understand your target audience. If earlier traditional retail outlets focused only on local customers (people living or working in a specific area), now the audience has expanded due to remote sales channels.
Two types of flower business clients:
- Local customers.
- Clients from other regions, cities, countries.
The flower business is a promising business, and it remains so, despite the high competition in the market. The need for flowers is growing: every year Russians buy more and more plants. Market participants do not meet all the demand for flowers, which opens up opportunities for the formation of new companies in this area.
Before opening a sales outlet, you should have a good understanding of how to do business. Flowers are perishable goods that require care and appropriate conditions of detention. Before investing, it is important to understand the business model, which may require expert advice.
The article describes the idea of opening a small retail outlet. The project will not require serious investments, and with proper development it can pay off within a reasonable time. This flower shop business plan provides approximate payback calculations.
Market and Competitor Analysis
At present, the share of domestic producers in the Russian cut flower market is 15%. For example, the total market size in 2021 was 1.6 billion units. in physical terms, and the share of domestic companies is only 240 million units.
After the return of the Crimean peninsula to Russia, the subsequent sanctions and counter-sanctions, a non-standard situation developed. The structure of importers changed: the share of the main supplier - the Netherlands - dropped from 38.9% in 2021 to 11.6% in 2021. The country itself has a potential for increasing its own capacities.
Demand is also growing. Compared to 2021, Russians began to buy more freshly cut flowers: if earlier the average citizen bought a little more than 15 flowers a year, then in 2021 the volume increased to 20 pieces. The total expenses for these purchases also increased.
Competitive situation and sales specifics
Competition is high on the Russian flower market. It is easy to enter this market, but it is not easy to gain a foothold in it.
The main competitors are flower supermarket chains and flower producers with their own retail and distribution networks. The latter have an advantage over resellers because they can offer plants at lower prices. Developed market participants are looking for partners and offer franchising services (more on this below in the article).