The EU acts in many, many ways. For example:
VAT is probably the most important margin breaker for a flower shop if your price isn’t calculated right. Some countries have a reduced rate, others have a standard rate. The EU VAT directive is a directive that looks into the possibility of having similar tax rates throughout Europe. This includes the floristry sector as well.
The EU consumer rights directive aims to achieve a direct connection between consumers and businesses at the EU level. The directive strikes a (delicate) balance between protecting consumers but at the same time increasing business competitiveness. It does so by establishing the regulations that apply between you and your customer.
The consumer rights directive also incorporates distance selling measures. That is, it concerns goods and services sold between different countries, such as transmissions between florists by internet or phone.
Internet is the new retail and the EU is pushing hard to create a new digital agenda. Part of this agenda is to facilitate more electronic payments, invoicing and online consumer protection, especially on privacy. In other words, the complexity of the payment systems which now exist in the EU will be lessened, to allow more internet purchases through a florist’s webpage. How florists can engage with customers afterwards by using their information, will also be regulated.
Small and medium-sized businesses are an important part of industry for Europe, and the majority of professional florists fall within this business category. The European Union has many policies which affect SME’s and a main goal is to help address the administrative burden of SME’s in Europe. To improve this business environment, the EU has acted on start-up procedures, skills, training, and mobility for SME’s, as well as management skills, taxation and accounting issues.
Agriculture is a key issue for florists. Flowers and plants are cultivated and fall within the agricultural category. Hence, any policy dealing with agriculture – crops, pesticides, promotion of products, etcetera – will have an impact on the price, supply, and demand of certain flowers and plants.
Flowers and plants are grown everywhere in the world, and if you look at the flowers in your flower shop we’re sure that a lot of these come from Kenya, Colombia, Ecuador, The Netherlands, and many other important growing countries. To get to your shop they need to be imported and exported from country to country. At the moment, most of the EU has important trade agreements with key growing countries, which allows for a 0% import levy (tax). Hence, any changes to trade agreements and/or this levy will have very important consequences for the production, the supply and the price of flowers in your shop – and therefore the customer.