“Design in China” e32 – FLŌWERPLUS花加 – The Pioneer of Reasonably Priced Flower Subscriptions in China

Flowers are often featured in the decor, whether it’s a wedding, anniversary, birthday, date night, or even a business event. Then there are bouquets and arrangements that people use to convey their feelings, from lifting an ailing loved one’s spirits to congratulating a friend on their success. It’s a multi-billion dollar market that caters to human emotions and the gratification the beauty of flowers brings.

n China, it’s a fast-growing industry, with startups bringing exquisite floral products to cyberspace. One of the prominent brands in the Chinese floral market is FLŌWERPLUS花加, founded in 2015. They took the initiative to pioneer the introduction of reasonably priced fresh flowers to the public, popularizing the idea that flowers aren’t solely for special events like weddings and festivals. They introduced a monthly subscription plan with four “mystery boxes” of flowers delivered to the customer’s doorstep. The affordable monthly model immediately gained popularity due to its ingenuity. Additionally, they used the good old complementary gift strategy to attract new clients. The brand offers new clients a complimentary vase with their initial buy. It gained consumer retention because the empty vase naturally prompted the consumers to purchase another flower as the flowers withered. With weekly flower delivery to customers’ doorsteps starting at RMB 99 a month, including shipping expenses, Flowerplus has always strongly emphasized flower subscriptions, a product it invented in the China market.

A whopping 8 million paying customers have signed up for the service using various platforms, including its public WeChat account. According to the company, 40% of consumers have made additional purchases besides subscriptions. Unlike luxury florists that often import flowers, it operates 12,000 flower farms. However, it also uses imported flowers, primarily from South Africa. Since its inception, the company’s new green plant division has made RMB 30 million in sales, while the platform for flowers as gifts has brought in RMB 50 million. So far, the firm has raised RMB 200 million. These numbers are proof that whatever Flowerplus has done is working.

Flowerplus is cashing in on the subscription-based business model, which became hugely popular in the West several years ago. From cleaning supplies to undergarments, subscription-based retail brands were popping up left and right in North America and Europe. Such a business model capitalizes on convenience and benefits from automatic customer retention. While many such businesses provide products people use in their daily lives, flowers may not qualify as essential products. Nevertheless, Flowerplus took on the challenge of promoting the idea that fresh flowers every week is something people need. And it did so by keeping the prices affordable. Plus, choosing a niche sector to concentrate on has become viable for Chinese business owners looking to attract established investors like Alibaba and JD.com. Given that it is affordable for middle-class urban customers, it is a compelling offer for those who like flowers but have never thought to buy them regularly. Many people working in the Chinese flower sector, such as producers in Yunnan province’s primary production zone, are counting on subscription services like Flowerplus and its rivals to fuel the expansion of fresh-cut flower consumption in China over the next years.

Now, Flowerplus is increasing the number of high-end bouquets in its product lineup since they have a higher profit margin. These goods make more use of imported flowers, which make up less than 10% of all flowers it purchases directly from international vendors. Additionally, Flowerplus plans to provide its consumers with a wider selection of higher-quality flowers by introducing new species and cultivating methods to China’s domestic market.

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