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By Becky Roberts
Want to capture Millennials’ attention – and sales? Now more numerous than the famed Baby Boomers, Millennials’ buying power is also on the rise. Getting their attention necessarily means emphasizing social media, and that in turn means using visually rich content including photos and video.
Of the thousands of items under your store’s roof that are inherently made for visual promotion, floral must top the list. From bunches to more formal arrangements to potted plants, floral products’ natural beauty resonates with consumers. The visual connection that humans have with the floral world has been a recurring topic lately and continues to spark discussion within the floral industry.
For example, as part of PMA’s focus on floral marketing, I recently attended the IPM Essen Horticulture Show in Essen, Germany. It’s a huge trade show, with 1,588 exhibitors from 49 countries. Attendees go to gain insights on market trends, new varieties, new technologies and more. And as you can imagine, the areas of the show floor that feature endless displays of flowers and potted plants are incredibly beautiful.
Perhaps as much as the show itself, what struck me during my time in Germany was how other businesses use our industry’s wares to add visual beauty to theirs. The window displays of a housewares merchant featured flower arrangements that complemented wares on display for a variety of living spaces. A clothing store took the trend even further – its window display’s backdrop was a huge print of a stunning tulip field, rows of flowers as far as the eye could see. That was beautiful in and of itself – then I noticed that the clothing on display was made from fabric with the same floral image. The skirts, jackets and dresses on display used the beauty of flowers to appeal to customers shopping for clothing.
Retailers can and should borrow a page from those businesses’ playbooks: Let floral visuals sell your floral products. At a recent PMA webinar on floral marketing, social media guru Vincent Ng offered strategies to help leverage visuals to grow floral customer audiences. He stressed that we are in the midst of a visual social media revolution. And what could be more attractive than your floral products? Social media is changing how the retail industry interacts with customers, and compelling visuals play an increasingly pivotal role in grabbing consumer attention.
How to Harness Today’s Visual Social Platforms
OK, so you’re sold that you should harness visuals to grow your floral customers and sales. So where do you start?
The photo-sharing platform Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social networks and is inherently visual. Floral retailers can share images of new floral products and how shoppers can use them in the home. Ask your customers to post photos demonstrating how they’ve used your products.
PMA research has shown that Pinterest is also an ideal social network for the floral industry because it is image-based, allowing any stakeholders to showcase floral. Key floral consumers are using Pinterest. One-third of U.S. women are on Pinterest, and women are the largest purchasers of fresh flowers in the United States.
Regardless of which social channel(s) you use, your goal is the same: to share valuable, relevant visual content with existing and potential customers, to give them ideas and inspiration. Re-pin, like, follow and comment on other pins and boards that are relevant to the floral industry to generate more conversations about fresh flowers. Our research shows that smart marketers employ social media strategies for many reasons, such as forging consumer connections.
Another reason to lean into your social media floral marketing strategy is that engaged consumers will advertise your products. Consumers who like, share, comment and retweet your posts, exponentially increase the reach of your messages and get you in front of new customers. They can become evangelists for your floral brand and products.
That brings us back to those beautiful fields. Such images can inspire beautiful clothing – and beautiful floral sales.
Becky Roberts is director of volunteer relations and floral for the Produce Marketing Association.