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7 day countdown to making Christmas Special

TT-lead-shopIt’s not too late to make Christmas sales special – mainly because flowers and plants are the last thing people buy so it’s always a last minute scamper!  That said they need to know you’re going to have some seriously gorgeous things to buy so here are some of my top tips to help you make the most of Christmas 2015.

Choose your flowers of choice!

TT-FireplaceWe all know red and gold will always be the mainstay colour theme but check out what other trends are coming through to see if you can offer a taster collection.  This year we’re doing a lot more green and silver which is very on-trend and different.

Look at what the large retailers, like M&S, John Lewis, large garden centres etc will be offering.  I’ve had a look at their 2015 collections and don’t think there is anything in them that a good florist can’t match and indeed beat.  Add in your own unique design capabilities and you could be streets ahead.

TT-purple-and-Gold-hand-tiedObviously you’ll need to take into account your own customer base, key price points and last year’s shopping patterns but use all this information to create your own range of themes and looks and start having samples on display as soon as possible with a Made on card.  Not only does it show who made it and so personalises the gift but if you leave them on display shows how long they will last and what they will look like in the home.

When it comes to sundries and accessories, as a rule they shouldn’t make up more than 1/3 of the overall price because they are there to enhance the fresh product not overshadow it.  That said, there are times when it’s worth taking a smaller margin on the container, especially if selling trio’s of designs or creating a range of impulse buys for end of term Teachers Gifts. 

TT-checked-charactersDon’t go for the obvious.  Try to find interesting things that have more than one item in the range so you encourage add on sales.  For example I would make a ready to go design in a small bowl but have the matching jug beside it to encourage people to buy it as well.

And finally always look out for multi packs.  Just like food, multipacks can save a fortune and mean you get a higher margin, especially important when flower prices can take a hike.

Making sure they sell!

Always try to engage your customers in everything you do so you build up your own community.  I know out of area orders coming in are useful but your local customers are the key to your success and the more you can involve them the better.

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For example if there’s a late night shopping evening make sure you are part of it and use it to the full to gather opinion and information from everyone who comes in.  Give away a gift wrapped rose to everyone who signs up to your email list.  They may not buy anything on the day but you will have made a connection that can be turned into a sale in 2016. 

If you’ve the space and time host a Christmas Workshop and give discounts for group bookings or for booking multiple workshops – you could use this as the launch of a monthly event. Don’t be afraid to encourage this sort of involvement.   Far from giving away your secrets this is another way of encouraging customers into your business and will create a loyal following as they feel part of your flower family. It also gives you the opportunity to show just how skilled floristry is and how much thought and prep goes into each design!! 

Next week send out an email to your current customers and invite them in to have a sneak peek of your 2015 Christmas themes and designs.  I always used to add in an incentive; a discount card or voucher but make sure there are clear Terms & Conditions as to which lines are included and if there is a minimum purchase, say £20 and over.

TT-poinsettia-on-tableBy December 1st latest you should have your Christmas range on your website, ideally showing pictures of your own work as that shows you aren’t just a copycat florist, and make sure the link to your Christmas Collection is promoted on everything going out of the shop over the next four weeks, particularly on any delivered items.  You see the recipients may never have visited your shop so bring them into your business via your website and give them a taste of what you’re about.  I discovered another good way to convert these people is to offer a First Time Visit incentive – again a voucher works well and also means you can track how effective it is.

And finally don’t forget to post plenty of pictures of you and your staff to all social media channels – Facebook, Twitter etc so that people can see your personality and style.  The success of a local florist is all about being seen as part of the community, the go to place to buy flowers and plants for every occasion … Christmas is the perfect time to start the ball rolling!