Tet flower sales move online amid COVID fears

Monday, Jan 24, 2022 07:43

Sau Hai Orchid Farm in HCM City’s Thu Duc City advertises flowers for Tet on its Facebook page. Flower sellers this year are focusing on online sales. — Screenshot Photo by Viet Dung

Florists are paying more attention to selling online for Tet (Lunar New Year) festival this year since the COVID-19 pandemic means customers are unwilling to visit shops.

Huynh Van Hai, owner of Sau Hai Orchid Farm in HCM City’s Thu Duc City, usually sells at a local flower market, but this year he is focusing on online sales to limit close contact, he told Viet Nam News.

“Last year, I took my flowers to the market, but I could not sell much since people were reluctant to come and buy due to COVID. It was a waste of rent.

“This year the number of people visiting my farm to look up flowers, or even just take pictures, is down by half from normal years. Only customers who actually want to buy flowers come.”

Buyers can visit Hai’s Facebook page or call him to place orders, and he offers advice and sends videos to help them choose.

Oanh, who owns a flower shop in HCM City’s Hoc Mon District, told VnExpress online newspaper that she plans to sell all 200 flower pots this year through e-commerce platforms instead of at popular flower-selling streets as she usually does.

So her flowers are cheaper this year since she does not have to rent space.

People buy flowers for Tet, especially the yellow apricot blossom, either to decorate their house or use as offerings in their ancestral altars.

While it is a Tet tradition for families to visit shops to carefully handpick the best flowers to bring home, this year many are reluctant to go out.

Nguyen An Phuong of HCM City’s District 2, told Viet Nam News that she would not visit flower shops this year.

“I have an elderly mother at home, so even though I am fully vaccinated, I am worried about accidentally infecting her. Every year I would go out and handpick flowers myself, but this year I think I will just buy them online.”

A HCM City woman looks for Tet flowers to buy online. Many customers this year are reluctant to visit florists’ due to COVID. – VNS Photo Viet Dung

Nguyen Hung, a florist in Hoc Mon District, told Tuoi Tre newspaper, “Everything is sold online, not just Tet flowers, because of the ongoing pandemic.”

Flower shops in other provinces are also focusing more on online selling.

Nguyen Van Thu, owner of a flower shop in Binh Duong Province, told Viet Nam News that customers have been visiting the shop’s social media pages to browse for long-lasting flowers such as moth orchids and pigeon orchids.

“Due to the strong development of social media, our flower buyers are gradually switching to online shopping. Our number of direct customers is falling, and they are mostly new, infrequent visitors.”

But he said that the number of customers is still lower than last year due to COVID limiting businesses’ budgets and events, which reduces demand for flowers.

Selling regional speciality foods online

Businesses selling foodstuffs for Tet are also moving online this year.

Nguyen Binh Khiem, who runs a chain of store in Can Tho City selling Mekong Delta specialties such as dried shrimp and sausages, said around 70 per cent of his orders are through social media and telephone, and so he plans to focus on them.

Nguyen Kim Thuy, director of Ky Nhu Co-operative Group in Hau Giang Province, which hopes to sell around 30 tonnes of processed foodstuffs for Tet, said that the group is running advertisements on Zalo and selling its goods on e-commerce platforms.

“Our direct sales this year are lower than other years, but online sales are rising.”

Huynh Thanh Phong, director of the Hau Giang Department of Industry and Trade, said his agency has been helping businesses and co-operative groups sell online. — VNS

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