Many mass-market retailers planning to improve inventory management are increasingly debating “push-versus-pull inventory management” using advanced software systems.

Four Tips for Appealing to Younger Consumers

Smartphones are replacing old swipe readers. Tablets are replacing old point-of-sale (POS) systems, and on-demand delivery services are replacing the old “You will get it when we can get to it” service model. This new era of shopping technology creates new opportunities for future customer engagement with younger flower buyers, but retailers must choose the right technologies that are a good fit for their specific operations.

So how do you inspire younger buyers raised on modern technology to shop for flowers?

1. Make It Easy to Get In and Out

The checkout process at many retail shops is painfully slow, with outdated POS legacy systems. Consider moving to tablets that reduce wait time for simple cash-and-carry orders.

2. Speed Up Delivery when Possible

If you are still telling customers “We will get it there sometime today,” you can expect a puzzled look on young people’s faces. Young shoppers demand accelerated delivery options and are willing to pay for it. That does not mean that all of them expect and are willing to pay for one-hour delivery, but it should be an option. With modern crowdsourced delivery services such as Uber and Lyft, there is absolutely no excuse these days to not accelerate the flower delivery process.

3. Don’t Sell Them Old Flowers

Many floral retailers whose stores we visit can’t tell us how old the flowers are on the sales floor or in the cooler. This tells us that they are probably selling old flowers to a large portion of their customers. If you are not using real-time date-coding on your flowers, and if you’re not properly rotating out flowers after a specific number of hours or days, you are not controlling quality. The last thing you want is the old roses you sold a customer showing up on social media.

4. Keep Them in the Loop

Once a young buyer places an online order, he or she expects updates – and lots of them – preferably via text message (very few young buyers read emails.) With every order, be prepared to inform them about:

• When it was shipped
• What the ETA is
• When it was delivered
• Where and with whom you left it

Also, provide a photo of the item being accepted by the recipient as proof of delivery.

If your delivery technology cannot provide all of this information in real time, all the time and for every flower delivery, then you are making young people nervous about what they just paid you for. Although flowers are a product, delivery is a service. If you can’t perform at a service level consistent with other modern retailers (Amazon, FedEx, etc.), young consumers won’t feel confident about spending their money in your store.

While the next generation of floral retailers will look very different, the retailers who succeed will be those who embrace the changes. They will test new technology, and they will apply yesterday’s lessons to deliver a radically more innovative, engaging and dynamic floral buying experience for every flower buyer – young or old(er).

Alex Frost has founded and operated multiple technology and marketing companies in the floral industry for more than 25 years. He has also developed unique supply chain software for the flower industry. Contact him via email at