Friday, March 16, 2012

Research Examines Longevity Guarantees on Floral Gifts

Holiday gift gadget won’t turn on? New coat already has a broken zipper? Thanks to guarantees on many types of products, consumers can take comfort in the fact that defective or sub-par items can be returned or refunded. A new AFE research study takes an in-depth look at consumer perceptions of longevity guarantees on floral gifts.
The concept of guarantees is especially pertinent to the floriculture industry as floral gifts can carry some risk for gift givers, due to their perishable nature and indirect way in which they are often given. This study explored the use of longevity guarantees to alleviate some of that perceived risk.
The following is a summary on the study that explored consumers’ receptiveness to longevity guarantees on cut flowers purchased for gifts. (Four other reports are available). This study included a questionnaire administered to 739 participants over the age of 18, followed by a focus group with 120 of the questionnaire participants.
As gift recipients, participants were asked to indicate their level of agreement with various statements concerning cut flower longevity guarantees. As illustrated in Figure 1, participants strongly agreed with the following statements:
  • “I would like directions on how to redeem the guarantee subtly included in the packaging”
  • “I would like contact information on how to redeem the guarantee subtly included in the packaging”
  • “I would want to contact the store directly and not even tell the giver”
  • “I wouldn’t want the giver to know (and feel bad) about their gift dying”
These results indicate that recipients do not want to inform the gift giver but prefer to contact the floral gift supplier directly. Focus group participants felt having a discreet card within the packaging was a good solution because it allowed the recipient to choose whether or not to use the guarantee. They also felt that the card should include a phone number or website address with an order code which would make it easier to confirm and replace the flowers. Participants did not think receivers should get money back because the flowers were a gift and many gift givers do not want the recipient to know the cost of the gift. They also felt it would be nice if the recipient could choose a different replacement arrangement or receive a coupon for future purchases. As the recipient, they did not want to inform the giver because they felt it was embarrassing for both givers and receivers.
Occasions influence consumers’ thoughts about cut flower guarantees. Participants were asked to rate the importance of cut flower guarantees at different occasions. Figure 2 illustrates which cut flower guarantees were the most important to participants.
To gain a deeper understanding of the importance of cut flower guarantees for different occasions – participants were asked if they were willing to pay more for guaranteed flower gifts for different occasions.
Figure 3 illustrates that 70% of participants are willing to pay more for guarantees on romantic floral gifts, and 68% are willing to pay more on mother-related occasions, followed by get well gifts (58%), and once-in-a lifetime occasions (53%).
Focus group participants felt longevity guarantees were more important for occasions that are important events, long-term events, special events, and once-in-a-lifetime events but not one day, specific events. However, for day-specific occasions such as funerals and weddings, having a delivery and quality guarantee is important since timing is essential for these events.
Recommendations for the Industry
  • The floral industry should establish cut flower longevity guarantees that impress and reassure consumers while further differentiating themselves from the competition.
  • Longevity guarantees should include clear, simple directions discreetly tucked in the packaging with a phone number/website address and re-order code to allow the recipient to redeem the guarantee without contacting the giver to reduce embarrassment.
  • Recipients should be offered replacements and coupons if the flowers do not meet longevity expectations.
  • Longevity guarantees should especially be considered for cut flowers for specific occasions including mother-related occasions, romantic occasions, get well occasions, and once-in-a-lifetime occasions.

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