“Design in China” e37 – Roseonly Journey to Becoming China’s Premier Online Luxury Florist

Roseonly is a Beijing-based start-up that offers rose bouquets made of flowers sourced exclusively from Ecuador. Pu Yi, who started Roseonly in January 2013, sought to grow the brand with clever marketing gimmicks, including employing a floral designer from New York’s New School of Design (Parsons) and having top models bring flowers in a Mini Cooper. His marketing strategy worked, as more than a million people follow Roseonly on Weibo, one of the top e-commerce platforms in China.

In addition, the brand has virtual storefronts on Jingdong, Taobao, and Tmall. The beautiful flower bouquets are delivered to recipients across 300 Chinese cities and towns. High-end floral arrangements aren’t a novice concept in the West, but it’s a budding market in China. Men and women between the ages of 25 and 45 with steady incomes and a preference for high-quality items are the brand’s target market. Roseonly’s bouquets may appear a little showy to the untrained eye. The business offers jewel-encrusted bouquets wrapped in what seems to be an engagement ring box. A rainbow bouquet is available for consumers who can’t decide on just one hue. However, Roseonly’s flowers are notable not only for their patterns but also for their high price. One bouquet can cost upwards of $200. And that’s what makes it so exclusive. It’s like caviar, an acquired taste. 

Roseonly’s success in the Chinese e-commerce industry can be attributed to its targeted marketing. Its founder knew from the beginning that his products weren’t for everyone. Furthermore, Roseonly’s “once in a lifetime” policy is a marketing ploy that adds to the brand’s appeal. The “once in a lifetime” bouquets remain Roseonly’s most popular item, despite the company’s expansion into other types of bouquets without absurd limitations. Through strong social media advertising and celebrity endorsements, the brand has built a unique image. Pu mentions Deng Jiajia, Yao Chen, and Cherrie Ying as actresses who have given or received Roseonly bouquets.

On the one hand, Roseonly broadens the brand’s applicability to everyday holidays like Mother’s Day, Christmas, and birthdays. To create a more expansive business environment, it continues to produce new goods and services, including floral wedding decorations and necklaces. There are comparable online flower shops outside of China. For instance, in New York City, Floom offers a similar service, selling high-end, imported flower arrangements curated by seasoned florists. However, Roseonly’s use of social media marketing, word-of-mouth advertising, and customer research has developed a unique business model for the sector. The brand’s marketing team is skilled at striking up conversations with people on social media. More fans engage with it as it responds directly to them in the comment section, creating a two-way dialogue. Girls are also beginning to follow Roseonly on social media simply because KOLs who portray a posh lifestyle with Roseonly Rainbow bouquets. While their product is certainly unique, it’s their marketing that takes home the win. It’s a blueprint for upcoming Chinese (or even international) startups with high-end, niche products. 

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