9 Tips Learned from European Flower Shop Visits

I recently had the opportunity to visit some European flower shops. It was fun to see how flowers and plants are sold, displayed, and enjoyed on the other side of the world.

I saw some interesting designs, including Drainpipe Decor!

It’s inspiring to glean ideas from those with a different approach. Interesting to see how flowers are used in the daily life of another culture. Which tips should we take home? 🤔

Photo: Sharon McGukin

How European vendors connect with their floral customers? The merchandising techniques they use?

As I visited a few cities in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic these nine sales techniques caught my eye.

1. Bikes and blooms

Along with the healthy concept of using vividly hued bicycles for transportation, Europeans often brighten the urban landscape with colorful flowers.

Fresh flowers and plants are the natural décor of streets, homes and business exteriors, interior living spaces and cathedrals.

Petals and Pedal Bikes | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

This combination of petals and pedals represents a deeper desire to for health and natural beauty in our everyday lives. Both are considered a great antidote for stress.

Trends reflect the short and long-term needs of your customers. Observe the things and experiences your consumers long for and you can predict (and supply) their future buying preferences.

2. Carefully curated spaces

In Budapest, I dropped into the first pretty little Hungarian flower shop I saw.

Carefully Curated Spaces | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

I explained to The Royal Flower salesperson that I was a floral blogger from the US and collecting flower photos for an Oasis IDEA Weekly blog.

She smiled and pulled two bottles from under the counter. “OASIS!” she sang as the Floralife Flower Food and Finishing Touch bottles danced in her hands. We laughed together.

Most European flower shops are small by American standards so they have to carefully curate the products that win shelf space. Attention to detail is required to produce the right product mix to drive repeat sales.

The old rule of thumb – 60/20/20 still applies. 60% what you know you can sell. 20% of staple materials you’ll always sell. 20% of the “latest-greatest” new looks you hope to sell to keep abreast floral trends.

How can we use these products to attract new customers?

3. Color-blocking

Color is the most eye-catching element. Choose one color for a display, mix a blend of materials in varied size, form and texture to create greater visual impact. 

Color Blocking | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

These vignettes – lifestyle displays showing how to use specific products in the home, are a good example of how color-blocking – a massed quantity of color creating a dramatic effect can bring focus to your displays.

Often, complementary or contrasting colors are used in vignettes to catch the eye of the customer.

4. Small wreaths and impulse items

I saw many small spring wreaths hanging on doors and as the wall décor of houses, businesses or memorials.

Seasonal Wreathes | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

Hanging seasonal wreaths on the door was once more popular in the US. In recent years, wreaths are relegated to holiday décor.

Offer a collection of small wreaths throughout the year to entice your customers to enjoy using a wreath on their door in all seasons.

Use odds-and-ends of dried and fresh flower materials to create small, low-cost ‘Grab & Go’ designs that encourage impulse buys.

European Floral Wreathes | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

Offer designs and materials needed for the celebration of popular traditions in your area.

The Maypole (or Maibaum) is a relic of a 16th century. A Germanic pagan tradition still popular in Eastern Europe today.

On May Day (May 1), popular Maypole Trees are still erected in some villages as a part of European folk festivals. The long-pole is decorated with a tree shape at the top, wreaths, garlands, and ribbons.

5. Sidewalk sales

In the heart of Vienna, I discovered an open-air flower shop on the bustling streets of the city’s famed shopping district.

Sidewalk Flowers Shops | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

The Austrian bloom shop was filled with a beautiful blend of fresh cut flowers and blooming plants with easy access for passers-by. Convenience is key to growing high traffic sales.

The repetition of like varieties and colors staged together make these products hard to resist.

6. Open doorways and fresh flower displays

The first time I visited Europe and discovered that flower shops leave their doors open, display flowers outside the cooler, and sell their flowers right on the sidewalk – I was amazed. Now, I’m entranced.

Outdoor living Display | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

Delightfully fresh flowers and plants spilled onto the sidewalk from the lovely flower shop Orchidea Kvetinarstvo in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Customers are magnetically drawn into the natural shop pathway created by outdoor displays of plants and flowers.

Inside the shop, color-blocked flowers sit in the open air of the shop. Texture, color, and fragrance all unite to create each delectable sale.  

7. Popular plants

A resurgence in the popularity of plants and plant material are the result of a current on-trend 70’s vibe.

Popular Plants | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

Taking an eco-conscious approach to your floral business can help to attract new customers influenced by this 70’s revival.

Once again plants and flowers are the ‘must-haves’ of those seeking quality of life.

outdoors flowers in daily life | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

Plants on the windowsill are welcoming. Plants in the home help to purify the air.

Herbs and greens are healthy additions to our diets. Flowers in the environment have been proven to lower stress.

daily plants | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

Position your plants as the first step in creating a healthy and calming oasis in the home.

8. Flower pot art

Desiring to be re-connected and grounded, we’re making space in our lives for the use of more natural materials. That includes the daily use of plants and flowers.

Recycle, repurpose, reuse continue to top the natural trend charts. Consumers are more mindful than ever of how their use of material things impacts the environment.

Photo: Sharon McGukin

Upcycling – reusing discarded items or materials to create new products of higher quality or value is in high gear. Children’s furniture made from discarded toys for example.

Interesting materials like old metal soup pots are reused as flower pots. Colorful creatures and cute clothing containers make plants more eye-catching to passersby. Some items are repurposed and others just reimagined.

If you offer reused materials, be sure to communicate that benefit to your clientele. It’s a popular selling point.

9. Drainpipe décor and Pop-up flowers

As I wandered through the cities, I was delighted to find flowers tucked in the most interesting places.

Arrangements atop garbage cans, décor for wine barrels, flower faces poking out of crooks and crannies.

What a fun way to share our love of flowers with the masses. Take the time to place visual delight where others won’t expect to find it!

drainpipe and wine barrel | OASIS Floral Products
Photo: Sharon McGukin

Pop-up Flowers. Take the challenge. Look for unlikely places to brighten your world with flowers.

Remember, it can be as simple as decorating the nearest drain pipe!

Please post your ideas for pop-up flowers unique spaces in the comments below!


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Tara Campbell September 25, 2020

Thanks, Theresa Colucci. I love discovering how people celebrate life with flowers in other countries, too! I hope to see you at AIFD in Vegas.

Sharon McGukin December 18, 2019

SUPER INFORMATION AND PICS from European Flower Shops!! So Enthralled, I may convert mine!!! Thanks For “European Tour!”

Molly Drayer December 18, 2019

Thanks, Molly! It’s always interesting to see how flower businesses operate in other areas and other countries. That’s one of our main goals here – to bring our readers fresh, new ideas! So glad you enjoyed the blog.

Sharon McGukin December 18, 2019

Thanks for your patience while I took photos in every city, Georgia G. Evans.

Sharon McGukin December 18, 2019

Thank you, Kelly Vanderstel. I’m glad you enjoyed this topic. What other topics would you like to read about?

Sharon McGukin December 18, 2019

Awesome pictures and capturing of the techniques.

Georgia G. Evans December 18, 2019

I really enjoyed this rticle. Thank you

kelley vanderstel December 18, 2019

Love this article! I’m a big fan of European shops and love to visit them when I am abroad!

Theresa Colucci December 18, 2019

Great article Sharon.

Colleen Hemmingway December 18, 2019

Thank you, Colleen Hemmingway!

Sharon McGukin December 18, 2019

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