Why pay for an expensive flower arrangement?

With the increased competition in the floral industry, many florist have done what most other industries have experienced; cutthroat price competition. Price competition is a concept that the consumers are ultimately price sensitive and thus a cheaper bouquet is more attractive than a more expensive one. This has been one of the most talked about and successful strategies in the tech space, with Amazon’s kindle and Apple’s ITunes having effectively priced out many bookshops and Record labels. For the flower industry, the same cost cutting measure will only harm consumers and not help them. But while all this makes sense, there is that one question in many consumers mind. ‘Why pay for an expensive flower arrangement when there are cheaper alternatives?”

Why flower shops are competing on price

In Singapore, flower arrangements have not changed for the past 20 years. The commercial way of doing things still remained the way to go as florist continued using traditional ways of wrapping flowers. However, all these changed in 2015 when Singapore got hit with the Korean Trends. The younger generation, being enamoured with all things Korean started buying flowers that looked like those featured in the Korean Dramas. These flowers are different from the traditional as they use much more foliage that is indigenous to Korea. Furthermore, the type of wrapping used is also different. Korean wraps are either sophisticated or have a strong bias towards kraft paper. That said, the influence of Korean fashion in the Floral industry created much tension in the flower industry. Those who learned the skills in Korea did remarkably well, while the old traditional shops which used to be the flower majors in Singapore started suffering from reduced sales.

In this environment, traditional flower shops started competing on price. By reducing their prices, they hope to come across as a viable alternative to those who are not willing to spend on more expensive Korean or luxury bouquets. As more flower shops take the shortcut of cutting their prices, many consumers start to find that they can get flower bouquets that are so cheap, they are rather comparable with the flowers they can get from the supermarkets.

To many consumers, this is a great thing. As it allows them to be able to afford flowers every single day. That said, many seem to realise that the flowers stopped capturing their imagination after a while. With the increasing disillusionment with the flower industry, it becomes essential to know what is really going on in the industry. With the price cuts, most of the flower shops drastically reduce the design element. Sometimes they even skimp on the quality of the flowers so as to make the necessary margins to remain viable. With a drastic lost in quality, it is no wonder that many customers become rather disillusioned. What happened to the glorious days where flowers will help to uplift our moods?! Fret not. The flower design industry is still much alive!

To better understand what is going on, consumers can see it from a supply chain perspective. For the flowers to get to you, they first were imported from flower growing countries like Kenya, Colombia and China. There they were imported to the wholesalers in Singapore. These wholesalers offer the flowers at a cheaper price. However most of the flowers they sell are not treated or dethorned. Hence the floral shops that you go to are often responsible for doing the necessary cleaning and on top of that, there is the design which they incorporate into their bouquets. With this price competition, some of the flower shops essentially became wholesalers plus as they throw out the design element and become solely focussed on preparing the flowers from sale. That said, the flower design industry is still very much alive as there are those flower shops that are insanely passionate about flower design and thus have taken it upon themselves to recapture the imagination of the consumers. However, with flower design comes a slightly higher price. Compared to the wholesaler plus flowers, intricately designed flower arrangements have become what we know to be luxury.

However, are these luxurious flower arrangements still relevant when the consumer can now buy flowers at a cheap?

The answer is that the luxury floral arrangement is not the same as the cheapest flowers you can find on the market. In the same way that a consumer who chooses Burberry will not just drape any brown cloth on her and a person who pays millions for an art piece wouldn’t just copy and paste it on power point and print multiple copies of it, an expensive flower arrangement is much about the design, originality and status that it confers.

This status is so prized that even a close replica of the product will not do. We have seen many Chinese counterfeits of luxury items that are so close a replica; even the material used is simply impeccable. However, these still come as somewhat inferior because it isn’t an attempt to make something original. Instead it is an attempt to take the credit for someone else’s artwork in a somewhat under the radar way.

Consumers don’t have to spend money on expensive flower arrangements. No one said that it is a necessary expenditure. Many of you would have heard of the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. The Hierarchy is a psychological theory which seeks to address how humans are motivated. At the base level, people are mainly concerned with the basic needs of food, water, warmth and rest. They require these basic items to keep them alive! Once humans have these, they start to look for security and safety for those without security will not live long even if they have food. Fortunately, many of us in Singapore have both the safety and security that is considered to be a luxury in other countries. Beyond safety needs is the need for belonging, esteem and self actualisation. Enough about Maslow and back to Flowers. Yes, you can’t have flower bouquets for dinner and as far as the Maslow hierarchy of needs is concerned, there is no stability that you can gain from having a luxury floral arrangement in your house. However, those who can afford it will tell you that it is an essential piece of their day to day life. This is because these flowers really help to set their day right. And having a good start to your day is the basis of having a high standard of living, when you are beyond safety and physiological needs and is starting to look higher levels of actualisations. Further it also brightens up your house, which is vital if you have many guests coming to your place. Here is a brief description of what luxury is and why people buy it.

Motivation for luxury buying: Experience or Social Proof

There are generally two types of motivations behind the buying of luxury items. We often buy these luxury items because we want to have the experience of enjoying these items or because we want the social proof that comes with the exclusivity of the ownership. When we buy for the enjoyment, we rejoice in the quality of the product whereas in the second case, we rejoice in the fact that we have it while others do not. It has been said that in the second case, the buying of luxury products will cause a short term boost in self-esteem but in the long run, it will just lead to compulsive overspending habits. With that said, how should you buy your flowers? Should you buy a luxury floral arrangement because you enjoy it? Or because you want to show others that they do not have it while you do.

Luxury Bouquets as social proof

Imagine that there are two flower bouquets that reach an office at the same time. Both of these bouquets are from two different flower delivery programs and are sent by respective boyfriends for their loved ones working at this office. One of it is a luxury arrangement while another is a basic cheaper alternative. When both ladies come out to receive the arrangements, how will the receiver of the cheaper alternative feel? We are not saying this to make guys pay more. We are saying this because we feel that it is rather unfair for the guy who has opted for the cheaper alternative. This is because had there been no one else sending bouquets, his little gift would have had a much better effect. In fact, for all intent and purposes, the guy sending the luxury bouquet may only be doing it because he has done something wrong and is trying to make amends. However, such contexts are often left out and it is difficult not to compare between bouquets. If you agree with our assessment of this scenario, you know that luxury bouquets do have social proof and there is no denying it. By sending a luxury bouquet, you can make the lady feel more cherished. Mostly importantly, your act of chivalry will not be overshadowed by someone else’s!

In theory, luxury bouquets thus not only addresses ones love needs and feeling of being cared for but also instil a certain level of prestige. This gives the recipient of the luxury bouquets a psychological boost which allows them to feel much better about themselves.

Luxury flower arrangements as an experience

Remember the Maslow hierachy of needs that we talked about? It is true that luxury flower arrangements, being superior to basic cut flowers, can instil a sense of prestige and self worth. However, to be honest, that effect has very little to do with the flowers and more to do with the dynamics of human interaction. So the question is how about the effect of the flowers?

There are those who buy luxury floral design not because of what others think but for the experience. Many of them may have felt really good when they are overseas where flowers are abundant and they wish to recreate in any small way that kind of environment in sunny Singapore. These group of consumers are rather affluent. They have no issues getting their basic food and security needs met, but they wish to feel the higher feeling of being joyous, aligned and empowered. By recreating the environment where they felt it the most, these flower design gives them access to the higher experience.

It is for this reason that many first class corporate offices have our flower designs in their offices. Unknown to others, these flowers are not just meant to beautify the office, they are also meant to cheer up the mood of those who visit as well as those who work there. It is for this very reason that the flower arrangements are often placed at reception, that allows the most number of eyes to appreciate its beauty. By having that one luxury floral design, it makes those working in the environment feel tremendously better and therefore increases their productivity. Clients are also likely to be more receptive to any negotiations that they are likely to have in the area.

So with that said, how should one go about choosing a luxury flower design?

For Starters: Start Small

As this is not a short term marketing ploy, we will not ask you to buy our most top of the line floral arrangement off the bat. You probably would not know what to do with it and it will be a waste of your money. For starters, you really do not need to buy anything that is realy expensive when you are buying for yourself. You can start with something small, an arrangement with 3-5 roses and see the benefits that it brings you. Thereafter, you can add variety by using different flowers and really invest in a beautiful arrangement on special occasions. That way you can save money while at the same time enjoying the luxury of flower ownership.

For starters: gifting purposes

If you are giving flowers as a gift, even if you are just starting out, it is best to give an arrangement from the middle of the line range. This is because our main aim of sending flowers is to show how important the person is to us and it really does not make sense to tell them that while they mean a lot, they are only worth the cheapest flowers you can find. Instead try to find something that is more middle of the range. Often these middle of the range arrangements are much better value because there is more variety in terms of the flowers used and also the quality of the flowers is often much better.

What are you paying for

What are you really paying for when you buy an expensive flower arrangement? Let’s first talk about what an expensive arrangement is. It is not a rip off. If you are paying $ 50 dollars for a single rose while u can get it from the market at $5, there is not luxury. That is a rip off. A luxury floral design is much about the design is sophisiticated yet coherent. In layman terms, it is a thing of beauty that is made up of seemingly simple building parts. In the hands of the florist, the simple bildig blocks get used to the greatest effects and the output is one marvelous floral design that is both natural yet majestic in look, colour and form.

What to look for in a design

Generally, a floral design is made up of different clusters of flowers. In floral design, there is an unwritten rule of proportion where a large cluster of flowers (i.e. hydrangea) must be balanced with another cluster of similar proportions. Hence, you would naturally see a cluster of two to four roses or lilies beside the hydrangea to balance it out. Another aspect to look out for is color. You should look for a bouquet or design that has the colour that the recipient likes. There after, the next step will be to make sure that the entire design is not jarring in terms of colours. We have seen flower bouquets that are entirely purple or entirely red. This causes a problem for the eyes as it is not naturally accustomed to the high concentration of these colours. Instead our eyes are used to the natural gradient of colours that are split out of white light. Hence we need to ensure that the colour within the bouquet gets as closed to what our eyes are used to as possible. While all these sound complicated, it is actually easy to find a bouquet with great design. If you look at it and do a double take in the same way that you look at a pretty girl, you know for sure that the floral design is an excellent work of art.

We hope that you have understood the benefits of having a luxury flower arrangement both as a household/office décor or as a gift. That said, no amount of words can correctly or accurately depict what it feels like to see great floral design. Feel free to come down to our humble flower shop and let your eyes feast on our beautiful designs. We hope you will have as good a time as we did in creating these bouquets.

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