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Crisis in the flower market, a case study. Pt I


Using the Design Thinking methodology

INTRODUCTION

Double Diamond process

This is our first project using this methodology. We are a group of four to develop it, to make it easier I have divided it into four parts, following the Double Diamond, Part I will include the Research and Ideation, Part II the Design and Execution.

“Nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small it takes time — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” Georgia O’Keeffe

BRIEFING: How to apply the circular economy to the flower market in times of crisis?

There has been a sector in the market that has suffered greatly from the consequences of Covid19, and that’s the floral sector. It has had a great economic impact in Spain, and no aid has been proposed to reduce the scope, we can see the fragility of this market, so we need to cover up a big problem.

1. DISCOVER

In Spain the data is alarming, the losses of Spanish nurseries and gardening centers reach EUR 440 million. No one expected in December that all the spring harvest would be thrown into the garbage.

It is a very traditional sector in which nearly all of its income is generated at these spring dates, in fact, the assistance sought from the EU has not yet been obtained, and it is estimated that the losses will be 75%.

Being mostly a freelance industry it exposes the gaps in this sector and the thousands of issues that occur in circumstances like this. There’s a lot to investigate.

Our first challenge is to do Research Questions and to separate them by categories:

Questions are categorized by Business, Product, User, Market Competition and Circular Economy

Here we realize that we need to figure out a lot about the market, speak to distributors, wholesalers, consumers, rivalry... We concentrate on the online market and some conventional florists to do the benchmarking and explore the web (blogs, search engines, forums) to do the netnography.

When analyzing florists with an online presence in Spain we can see that most of them sell more than just flowers, they have a shipping policy of delivery in less than 24 hours and often they use intermediaries to buy flowers, even though, thanks to netnography we noticed that many of the services provided by this sort of florist were not entirely satisfactory. We found that there have been many bad reviews and complaints about the condition in which the flowers have arrived, general discontent and lack of communication between the company and the client.

Benchmark
Map tendency of the competition in the business

Next, we concentrate on the user, to learn a bit more about him we use the questionnaire, we distribute it on forums, social networks, and personal contacts of each other.

Questionnaire

Thanks to the questionnaire we were able to gather answers from 283 people of users / non-users.

We get the next conclusions:

  • Users buy the product in traditional flower shops
  • It ‘s important for them to see, touch and smell the product
  • Most don’t buy flowers for themselves, they give them mostly.
  • Symbology’s an important issue in Spain
  • The importance of a sustainable business

Interviews

In the floral market, we interviewed 2 people and 1 plant customer, the findings were impressive.

The interview that helped us the most was the one with the flower designer Donna Stain, a professional Aussie who has been living in Barcelona for 15 years with 30 years of experience in the industry. She has worked in Melbourne, London, and New York, doing all kind of jobs with flowers. She enlightened us with her day-to-day, gave us information about the contact with wholesalers, the Dutch trade, and some personal experiences. We get some essential insights to continue with the project.

I think people feel intimidated or overwhelmed when they buy flowers in a flower store.
  • In Australia, UK or USA most people buy flowers for themselves or to decorate their home, in Spain flowers are considered a luxury or a loss of money because they die.
  • “Unfortunately, the flowers that I reject I throw 'em away. I personally do things at home to recycle, like crafts, but generally, they end up in the garbage”
  • “There are local florists who have invested a lot of energy and enthusiasm into having a successful shopping experience”

She told us that she’d like to be more sustainable in her work, but she doesn’t have many resources, dealing with intermediaries it’s the “normal” way to get the product because local flower supplies are very limited. Also, she is worried about the carbon footprint and feels guilty about not knowing how to resolve this problem.

According to Donna and her experience, the contact between product and user is necessary, because feedback plays a vital role in the purchasing process.

2. DEFINE

In this second phase and with the information so far obtained and synthesized, we are beginning to establish our User Persona.

Maps

We’ve built the User Persona of Carolina, 34. A stressful mother who buys flowers to give to her family and friends. We’ve made a really thorough Customer Journey that has helped us even more to know the difficulties of buying flowers in a conventional shop.

Carolina’s User map & Customer journey

We create the User Persona of Patricia, 41. An experienced florist who needs to turn her company on and attract more customers.

Patricia’s User map & Customer journey

Insights

  • Flowers are present in celebrations and important events.
  • The user is interested in consuming a sustainable product.
  • The need to give more information about the product.

Opportunities

  • Enhance the experience of buying flowers
  • A green philosophy business
  • Give the chance to customize the product.

After collecting insights, we start using suggestions that will allow us to synthesize all the pain points that need to be solved.
We were quite anchored and undecided when generating and choosing ideas, the questionnaires led us to want to satisfy the buying trend of the user and their wishes, but at the same time we wanted to implement the idea of something sustainable, which led us to an analogous idea.

Here are some categorized brainstorming ideas that we dropped:

Cluster ideas

All the research led us to an analog solution. If we create a physical store we would alleviate all the collected insights.

Our average user prefers to buy in a physical store because it increases the importance to feel the product.

The Value Proposition let us see what qualities our idea would have:

Value Proposal

Here ends the first part of this case study, the second part is where you can find the solution, conclusions and possible future plans of this project, here it’s the link:

Crisis in the flower market, a case study. Pt. II

Remind you this project has been created together with Marta Sánchez Cavadas, Diego Mirón , César Yepes and executed remotely at the Neoland Bootcamp.

Thanks to our teachers Raúl Marín and Olga Muñoz for being there and clear our doubts.

And also, thanks for reading, if there is any doubt about this project, do not hesitate to contact me: natalianinou@gmail.com


Crisis in the flower market, a case study. Pt I was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.