Far East Flora: A blooming online business

DIGITAL readiness on both the front and back ends helped Far East Flora push through the difficult circuit-breaker period and pandemic pressures in 2020, said Ryan Chioh, managing director of Far East Flora’s e-commerce business FarEastFlora.com. 

Although the company’s various business units were impacted unevenly, the group got a welcome boost from 300 per cent year-on-year growth in online sales for the garden and wholesale businesses during the partial lockdown.

An upgrade to its call-centre phone system just before the pandemic hit ensured business continuity, in that it enabled call-centre staff to work from home. “We were able to continue to take customers’ calls, enquiries and orders alike, and I believe this helped us in our business performance too,” said Mr Chioh.

He noted that the circuit breaker and the shift to work-from-home mode sparked interest in growing plants and vegetables at home and sending gifts to loved ones. A new weekly flower subscription service grew more than 500 per cent during this period.

Mr Chioh said the group feels “very good and blessed” about its performance and believes it will continue to do well in 2021. 

“We believe that because Singaporeans cannot travel, they are diverting their money to improve their homes and surroundings,” he said, noting how Far East Flora’s Christmas trees were sold out by last November for the first time. “This money is now staying in Singapore and we hope that it continues to be spent in Singapore.”

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