The temporary closure of some distributors, due to the restrictions of the authorities at the beginning of the pandemic, made Colombian flower growers to accelerate their sales process via e-commerce in the Western Hemisphere. This is the case of the exporting companies Ayurá / Eclipse Flowers and Flores Cattleya which, thanks to their learning in 2020, have high sales expectations for this year's Valentine's season.
“We have good prospects for exports through electronic commerce, with the orders that have already been arriving. We export about 30 million carnations and 10 million roses to different markets. Of that total, 35% of sales are related to Valentine's Day. We hope that this year around 20% or 25% of those purchases by this date will be through e-commerce”, said José Antonio Restrepo, general manager of Ayurá / Eclipse Flowers.
He described that, thanks to e-commerce, they have been able to delve into new export opportunities. “Usually the summer in America is not so good for us. However, through e-commerce, we received several orders, given that people were more at home, they want to better arrange their household and flowers are a great element of decoration, ”said Mr. Restrepo, who added that this marketing channel also has allowed a better positioning in a markets like South Korea.
Fernando Sandoval, general manager of Flores Cattleya, concluded that “the pandemic has finished accelerating our process and growth of exports, through electronic commerce. For Valentine's Day this year we are going to export nearly 700,000 stems of roses, chrysanthemums, lilies and carnations, through this marketing channel, to the United States and Canada. We see that some of the main centers of consumption are in Texas, Pennsylvania, California, New York and Illinois”.
On the other hand, Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia, said that “we must continue to identify the international sales opportunities that Colombian flowers have, through a channel such as e-commerce that has been growing at double digits in the midst of the pandemic, and that we have prioritized in our economic reactivation plan for exports. We are going to accompany the sector in this task of accelerating its insertion in international marketplaces, with our One Click Colombia service line”.
Through “Colombia a un Click”, more than 2,000 entrepreneurs from 10 departments of the country have been trained with sessions on how to export through digital platforms, consultancy in closing gaps, design of the digital strategy to generate traffic, and follow up on business.
Likewise, since the One Click Colombia service line began in April 2019, 100 Colombian companies have a seller account within Amazon and / or eBay, of which 65 have already managed to make sales. Among them are fashion companies such as Agua Bendita, Off Corss, Cueros Velez, Didetexco, specialty coffee companies such as Café San Alberto, Café Quindío, Juan Valdez, Café Hacienda Venecia, Café Mesa de los Santos, among others.
President Santoro added that “the flowers of our country, which are one of the main products of the agro-export basket, will continue to position the country's name abroad, thanks to their quality, variety and sustainability, especially in this very relevant date for the national floriculture sector ”.
According to an analysis by Asocolflores, an export of 700 million Colombian flower stems is expected for Valentine's Day 2021, which would represent around 15% of the total exports of this sector for the year.
The president of Asocolflores, Augusto Solano, said that “for this Valentine's Day, e-commerce will play a very important role in the sales of large chains and florists. We know that this is a channel that is gaining strength every day and we have worked hand in hand with our international allies to promote it, which also allows us to get closer to the new generations in a very important way ”.
Between January and November 2020, Colombian fresh flower exports reached US $ 1,291, according to Dane figures, with analysis by ProColombia. The main buyers in this period were the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. While the most exporting departments were Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Antioquia, Caldas, Magdalena, Boyacá and Atlántico. Likewise, roses, carnations, pompoms and alstroemerias were the types of flowers most demanded by international markets.
Similarly, worldwide, Colombia ranks as the second exporter of flowers, the first exporter of carnations, the main supplier to the United States and one of the countries with the greatest diversity of flowers in the world by exporting 1,400 varieties. It is a sector with high social impact: it generates more than 140,000 direct and indirect jobs in 60 municipalities and links about 25% of the formal rural female workforce in the country.
Additionally, 40% of the flowers exported in Colombia have the Florverde® certification seal. This allows them to homologate with worldwide known certifications such as Global G.A.P and Rainforest Alliance, among other international standards.