Online florists, nurseries and supplementary businesses have risen in demand this past year. The online gifting market has been growing exponentially this pandemic. However, the founders of these websites are aware that it will be an uphill task to scale up despite seeing their businesses blossom during the past year.
Spring in their step
Root Bridges, an online nursery, has seen a phenomenal growth in e-commerce sales during the past one year. The company’s CEO, Udit Khanna, says the offline nursery is not seeing much footfall and 90% of the revenue comes from the online channel.
Saumitra Kabra, co-founder of myBageecha, says his website has added new buyers looking to “greenify” their place and has shut down the offline part of the business about 1.5 years ago.
Ferns N Petals, earned Rs 500 crore in revenue in FY21.Pawan Gadia, CEO, retail and online, India, UAE & Singapore, Ferns N Petals, says the company is looking at a revenue of Rs 700-750 crore in FY22. Gadia says the demand in offline retail is less across categories like indoor plants and flowers compared to online sales which jumped 30% in FY21 over FY20.
Christine Langstieh, founder of Bloombombs said that in the pandemic people are buying flowers for themselves rather than gifting to others. A flower subscription box from Bloombombs costs about Rs 2,000 for a weekly delivery, every month. Ferns N Petals also offer a subscription box starting from Rs 649.
In this past 14 months people also experimented a lot with in house gardening and growing their own vegetables for the kitchen which lead Bayer, a multinational pharmaceuticals and life sciences company, to supply and provide vegetable seeds to consumers directly.
Purchasing botanical products remains specific to a metro and tier I phenomenon and for kitchen gardening.
Seeds of growth
The perishable nature of plants and cut flowers makes it a difficult for companies in their transportation. Kabra adds that, shipping plants is expensive and if damaged in the process, they have to replace it. Also, consumers are reluctant to purchase items like plants and flowers online, making expansion difficult for these websites. Langstieh emphasizes on educating the consumer as the first step for scaling up.
Ferns N Petals has a big product basket ranging from cakes to watches, to cater to the broader gifting market. Harish Bijoor, founder, Harish Bijoor Consults, said that being too specific is not going to work and that these websites have to expand their offerings to reach a broader market while keeping their core offerings as their USP.
myBageecha has already partnered with brands having plant and flower inspired products and products like table lamps, notepads, bookmarks and pen stands make up 30% of its online store. Bloombombs, sells lifestyle products like scented candles, planters and dry flowers.
Bijoor suggests tie-ups with marketplaces that deliver milk and groceries to address the challenge of delivering fresh flowers and plants.