- March 07, 2017
Masses of red roses now feels like a distant memory, you’ve had a few days of relative peace (well other than the mountain of funeral work that seems to have happened) and hopefully the finger cuts have healed. You're now totally ready for the final haul before Mother’s Day - the last big cash day before Christmas arrives, and we’re here to help you milk it for all it’s worth.
ADVERTISE, ADVERTISE, and ADVERTISE!!
If you haven’t already got a plan in place do it now. It’s not too late but women, the biggest buyers at Mother’s Day are not so last minute so you need to get a wiggle on. That said it’s a fun flower giving occasion and people like to celebrate it with flowers so take every opportunity to remind them the big day is on the way and you’ve got the perfect product. Decorate your window with bright eye catching spring flowers and clearly display that that you’ll be delivering either on March 25 or 26 … and if you are opening on the Sunday make sure people know that too.
Diversify your advertising strategy by taking a leaf from Roxanne, owner of LilyBloom florist, who built up a mix of marketing techniques including promoted social media posts, email campaigns, and SMS messages all designed to drive customers to her website. When communicating with consumers keep it light and professional but address the reader.
Social media is personal; a consumer wants to connect with you. Don’t be shy, if you’re proud of your business and what you’re planning for Mother’s Day let your customer base know. Try interacting with your audience, post photos and ask questions like, “What flowers would you LOVE to receive this mother’s day?”, your goal is to drive up your brand recognition and the best way to do that is to just get out there.
And don’t delay, find out what works for you and your area because social media might not be for everyone, Roxanne found SMS* worked best for her: “It’s been a great way of communicating with my customers. The instant nature of SMS makes it absolutely ideal for sharing time-sensitive offers and messages with my customers as well as reminding them of special dates. Everybody opens a text as it feels more personal.
“Not only does it enable me to put the personality of the business into my communications, it doesn’t get caught in a spam filter or deleted straight away.”
*If you’re interested in text message marketing companies like Textlocal offer a free trial including 10 text credits.
DO IT DIFFERENTLY
Do you know what designs you’re going to be offering this springtime? If you haven’t put a collection together then use this week to get it sorted.
Not every mum is made the same, so don’t offer the same design in different sizes – that’s what supermarkets do! It’s your job as a bespoke florist to be different so try original textures, styles and shapes..
If they’re only offering lots of pre-made hand-tieds maybe you should re-discover the joys (and benefits) of foam and containers because not only do arrangements make flowers go further – important when prices are high – but look just as big and a whole lot more special.
As a florist, you have hundreds of options in sundries and finishing touches so there’s no stopping you building spectacular designs that don’t have to be expensive.
Websites like Bloomtube offer a huge variety of design inspiration ideas you could adapt for big and small arrangements using sundries that you can find at your favourite wholesalers. How about adapting Joan Stam’s ‘gift wrap wreath’ into mix and match floral arrangements or even planters. By paying attention to flower shape and price you could create an attractive shop interior which could be sold as easy-care single pots or preferably upsold to be a take-away set.
Don’t just experiment with shape, think about colour too. You can bet that supermarkets will be stocking a classic Mother’s Day hand-tied in pinks and whites. There’s nothing wrong with that, but chances are if a customer’s coming to you it’s because they want something different and authentically you. Why not experiment with a range of zingy oranges and pinks for an energetic modern take, or peppermint greens, purples and yellows for a bold bohemian feel amongst some sturdy traditional styles.
Other sources of inspiration could be as simple as 2017 colour and style trends, we've already listed our predictions for flower trends in 2017. But don’t just stick to flowers, how about general fashion? This year our spring catwalks are bringing back 80’s ruffles and shops are stocking puffball sleeves. Host your own 80s flower revival by stocking sweet peas and frilly old-fashioned pinks to offer something new to younger shoppers and classically stylish to your slightly older customers.
Now you’ve got your design ideas cooking at the back of your mind, it’s time to start planning your ordering. Saving money is key for you and your customers, so think seasonal. Mother’s Day is falling late this year, so supplies of British grown should be good and will hopefully counter the price rises on imported products.
Most women love scented flower and spring flowering plants are often scented. Market your bouquets as the best time to get a particularly special scented mix, options include wax flower, lily of the valley, florists’ broom, lilac and narcissus.
Know what your game plan is. If you’re not already, consider staying open on Mother’s Day. If you use your chosen marketing strategy to advertise your opening hours your sales could skyrocket. Back in 2014 Worldpay saw florists sales soar during the week of Mothering Sunday; on Monday customer spending was 55 per cent above the yearly average, by mid-week it had risen to 112 per cent. And on Mother’s Day itself, spending was a staggering 815 per cent higher than average Sunday sales. Of course, you know your customers and it’s your choice whether to host special Sunday opening hours; but Worldpay’s data suggests that many last minute dashers will be keen to spend if your shop’s open to spend in.
And on that note, even though your customer’s leaving Mother’s Day to the last minute that doesn’t mean you should. Make the Sunday shopper process as easy as possible by showing off a selection of pre-made bouquets and arrangements in store as a taster range or to take away, clearly display ranged prices and incentives like: “Have me now!” or “Have one like me in half an hour!” Floral sundries companies offer decorative blackboards or you can buy cheap flat slate online to write on as an attractive way to post your offers and prices.
Potting it out there!
Mums will appreciate long-lasting gifts like potted bulbs, houseplants, orchids and potted arrangements. Just don’t forget to lavish care, attention and decorative detail into each one; they’ve got to look just as good as your cut flower designs. And what’s more, you could make a few up in early March for show in store to point out to customers as a perfect Mummy’s day gift.
BRING ‘EM BACK
Make a first-time customer into a long-time customer by offering a range of goodies that gets them invested in your business throughout the year. Think extra, extra! And we’re not just talking about choccies and teddy bears. How about offering floral gift cards to an indecisive customer, or even better a fixed-term or repeating monthly flower subscription?
If you feel like sharing the knowledge, why not offer ‘experience’ packages. If you already offer floristry classes and courses then make a strong effort to market them as a great Spring-time challenge, or offer a class voucher alongside a bouquet as a “Love this? Learn how to do it yourself!” class. You can tailor classes to make use of the sundries you sent out with the flowers as part of a “Bring this back and learn to use it again!” course. And if you’ve never offered classes before, this could be an ideal time to test the water. Just be prepared to offer a choice of dates and times, else customers might be reluctant to commit their mum without knowing their availability.
Consider collaborating with local salons or spas to offer mutually-beneficial special offers such as a bouquet and beauty treatment gift card, or rewarding customer loyalty by offering shopping incentives. Think ahead of what you can afford to offer, whether it’s a discount on a next shop or a returning customer loyalty card, and make it part of your sales technique. Use a loyalty card promotion as an opportunity to get new customers onto your database, and market to them next time you have an exciting deal on offer! Speaking of… when is Easter this year?
TAKE A GREAT PHOTO
So you’re getting your name out there every way you can driving customers to your website and social media. What are they going to see when they get there?
If the answer is dark photos of your shop, blurry bouquets or stock photos, then we’re sorry to say we’re shaking our heads. But that’s only because in a creative industry like ours, good photography is a great way to market yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to be Annie Leibovitz; just be equipped with a decent smartphone or digital camera and a willingness to learn.
- Ditch the flash. To avoid blurry photos, try taking photos in natural light. If that’s not practical use a tripod to stop camera shake, or consider shooting at a local beauty spot
- When shooting indoors, dig out your camera manual and find which options will work best in ambient light
- Avoid busy backgrounds, they’ll distract from your focal point
- Never, ever use the digital zoom. It’ll only make for a blurry grainy photo. If necessary, zoom in with your feet and just
get closer to it!
- Mix up your angles. We get it. It’s easiest to see all the flowers in a HT if you’re shooting from above. But for a customer, scrolling through 20 identically positioned photos can be a little monotonous. There’s no rule saying you can’t upload more than one photo, mix it up, show off your arrangements from every angle so the eye is always interested.
- If you’re using a phone, check out some photo apps. Instagram is easy to get to grips with and share to your social media
pages. But if you’re feeling adventurous the app store has a whole host of creative apps that can jazz up any photo. But maybe hold on the Snapchat dog filter!