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Getting a dose of flower power at UC Davis

CALIFORNIA, the USA: While at the University of California, Davis in conjunction with their February board meeting, the AFE Board of Trustees learned a little something about flower power from the dozen or so presentations they heard from innovative industry educators.

One presentation came from Professor Heiner Lieth, Ph.D., who teaches the popular course titled Application of the Art and Science of the Beauty and Perfection of Flowers, or “Flower Power” as it’s called.

The course encourages students to develop an interest in floriculture in creative ways and learn about many facets of flowers, including how flowers are produced, how to handle them and common flower names. Students make flower arrangements for one class session, and certain other sessions involve additional floral activities and tackling dilemmas like choosing between a free pot mum or paying $5 for an orchid.

The students have a clear message to send to the floriculture industry: they say the industry is doing a terrible job overall of getting flowers into the hands of young people. “This was part of a group discussion that was aimed at having the students identify the barriers to using flowers and to suggest how the industry might make changes that would be to their benefit,” Lieth said.

AFE, through the Floral Marketing Research Fund (FMRF)*, has partnered with Lieth on a project to address this issue. Stay tuned!

In addition to the presentations, organized by Department of Entomology Professor and Chair Mike Parrella, Ph.D., Trustees visited the The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven and the UC Davis winery, which is unlike any other in the world. Find out why by reading the full article today.

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    Floral Marketing Research Fund
    Purchasing Barriers Tracking Study Executive Summary

    This study was a 21-minute Internet survey, conducted from June 13 – 24, 2013 among
    1509 eligible respondents drawn from Internet panel sources. Sample was drawn to be
    nationally representative of the US population. These respondents are reasonably
    representative of the non-flower purchasing population. Eligible respondents:

    • Were U.S. residents aged 18 to 60
    • Had a total annual household income of at least $15,000
    • Have NOT purchased cut flowers in past 12 months

    Non-flower purchasers are not averse to buying flowers – however, they need help
    removing barriers to purchase, namely price, concerns about longevity of cut flowers,
    and lack of education regarding appropriateness and meaning of flowers. In fact, almost
    all of these non-flower purchasers have given flowers in the past, just not in the past 12
    months, suggesting they just need the motivation to purchase flowers again. The three
    most effective ways to encourage flower purchase among those who have not purchased
    recently are: price / value, longevity / vase life, and education.

    Price / Value: These consumers are very price-sensitive in general, and have a
    perception that flowers are expensive. Providing things such as lower prices, coupons,
    Internet codes, discounts and other price-cutting measures is very appealing to these
    non-flower purchasers – more than half of these respondents said these measures would
    make them definitely or probably consider a flower purchase.

    Marketing efforts should be directed to reinforce how much recipients enjoy receiving
    flowers on many different occasions, not just major holidays and the “established”
    flower-giving holidays such as Mother’s Day. Different price-levels and tiers for flowers
    may also help attract these consumers as well. These consumers are spending an average
    of $35 for each gift they give, so offering “entry-level” flower bouquets in that price
    range may help increase the likelihood of them choosing to buy flowers in the future.

    Longevity / Vase life: Also of primary concern to these consumers is the vase life of cut
    flowers. Part of the value proposition of flowers is that they are a perishable item –
    consumers need to be reminded of just how long flowers will last when properly cared
    for, to set their expectations up front. Demonstrating how long flowers last if properly
    taken care of and educating consumers on how to properly care for cut flowers to ensure
    maximum longevity will go a long way towards changing perceptions that flowers don’t
    last long enough. Guarantees of vase life for cut flowers will also encourage consumers
    to purchase flowers, as that is a major concern and cited as a top reason for not
    purchasing flowers.

    Education: About a quarter of these consumers don’t understand the significance of
    various types and colors of cut flowers – education on this front may also help to
    encourage them to choose flowers. Knowing which flowers to give on which occasions
    and to which people would help keep flowers top-of-mind in the consideration set when
    it’s time to give gifts that are not for major holidays, such as birthdays (the most frequent
    gift-giving occasion), romantic occasions, “just because” and as a token of appreciation
    or thank you, when other gifts are currently being bought. Additionally, if ordering
    online, consumers would benefit from access to live customer service to help pick the
    right flowers for the occasion they’re looking to purchase for. This would help
    consumers overcome the feelings of being overwhelmed with the amount of choices for
    flower types and colors. Consumers also would benefit from reminders of the
    appropriateness of flowers for a wide array of gift-giving occasions, not just the major
    flower-giving holidays.

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