Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Oregon Flowers, Inc. has released a mobile application for Apple and Android devices to give customers an up-to-date report of what’s available to buy.
“Over the past few years, we have a noticed a challenge in informing customers of what is growing inside our greenhouses and what’s coming down the pipeline,” said Tyler Meskers, operations manager for the Aurora, Oregon company, which specializes in lilies, tulips and callas. (Oregon Flowers also grows seasonal cut flowers, such as bearded iris, hyacinth and peonies.)
Last spring, Meskers traveled to China with a group of American flower farmers to better understand the Asian country’s floral industry. While there, he noticed people worked almost exclusively with mobile apps.
“The Chinese are much more advanced with technology than people in the United States,” he told Florist 2.0. “They do everything on a smartphone. Some buyers told us they don’t even carry a wallet anymore. With flowers, each vendor has a QR code—even the guy whose stand was just a bucket—that you scan on a phone and hit ‘pay.’ And everyone uses an app called WeChat that’s basically like Amazon and Facebook rolled into one.”
The company spent three months developing the app, which does not display quantities or prices—only pictures of product. Since rolling out the app earlier this month, Oregon Flowers has received very positive feedback from wholesalers. “Many of them have been sharing the information with their sales people, as well as with event planners and retailers,” Meskers said, adding that he’s confident this will improve communication between industry segments.
“It has often been the grower’s challenge to forecast what and when product is coming. The even bigger challenge has been to then inform the customer what and when it is ready to sell,” he said. “We feel that our app can bridge the communication gap from inside our greenhouse to our customer’s mobile device.”