Have exclusive instore offers
Use your social media and website to tempt people into the shop with some exclusive in store offers because chances are they'll buy something else plus it gives you a chance to engage with them. Might be the first and last time you physically see them but a fab opportunity to keep them as a customer for life!!
Save the stuffing for Turkeys
With prices up across the board ducking and diving on buying has never been so important. But it’s just as crucial to make sure you don’t overstuff the designs either.
Get it wrong and you could end up losing a fortune. Because even one stem too many can make a huge difference - 100 orders with £1 too much content is suddenly £100 down the drain.
Make sure you and the team know exactly what is supposed to go in each design and avoid rounding up or being tempted to use the last stem on the bench ... those last stems are collectively a design in themselves!!
Don’t just offer red ...
OK red and gold are THE colours of Christmas and in tough times people tend to go back to tradition but that said there is a whole new generation of flower buyers out there who crave something different.
With Pantone going magenta for 2023 and the prediction that Barbie Pink is going to be big too, it shows that the odd Pink Poinsettia or turquoise green is not to be ignored.
Never forget the power of the gonk
We firm believers in the power of bling .. be it baubles, glittered or sprayed foliage. We also firmly believe in the power of gonks and can absolutely promise that Grinch trees are BIG!! You'll have to hurry to get conifers plants but you can fabricate them from cut branches.
Set realistic limits and expectations
You can either be so busy you fall asleep in your Christmas lunch or you can set realistic goals and aspirations and enjoy the day.
If you haven’t already done it work out how much can you and, if you have one, your team can realistically do without pulling all-nighters or damaging your health?
If it’s 100 orders a day great … if it’s 50 that’s OK too and if it’s only 10/20 then as long as it’s making you money then that’s perfectly fine as well. Do not be influenced by what other people are doing or saying. Set the target YOU can achieve and only move it upwards if you are 100% confident you can cope.
In terms of estimating, given the economic climate we would suggest a degree of caution and suggest you look at your 2018 figures if you have them. The reason? Covid made 20/21 a weird period and the economic climate was much stronger in 2019 so none of them can really be used as a fair comparison.
If you weren’t trading then then we would suggest you look at 20% reduction ... may sound harsh but we’d rather you sold out than over estimated. If push comes to shove and your pre orders peak you can order more up to 22nd December.
Making your OOOF work for you and your customers
A gentle reminder to make sure your out of office messages (known as OOOF's at The Florist HQ) are up to date.
We know its easily forgotten but if it is still saying you are on holiday, dealing with weddings or – as we saw the other day - references Mother’s Day ... it really doesn’t send out a particularly professional vibe.
Ideally you’d be answering them instantly but that isn’t always possible plus a good OOOF can manage customer expectations on possible reply times, and show that you are totally professional.
Better still if you embed a link redirect to your website - the place you ideally want them to be and order from! – it can be a valuable sales tool as well.
Takes nanno seconds to do but it's really important ... and not just on emails, across all your messaging channels.
Keep monitoring the prices
We know we keep banging on about it but DO NOT BE AFRAID to put your prices up or put less in the design. We are noticing some online players and supermarkets are doing both because they can’t absorb the flower price hikes either and they buy HUGE volumes.
Never feel pressurised to match their prices. You are not a mass market player and can't. You can offer a similar price point but with a design concept that shows you a profit like a mini grinch tree or a trio of bottles with single flowers.
No is a sentence on its own
If your customers won’t pay what you NEED to make a living then they are not the right customers. We know only too well that saying no is easier said than done but do not go for sales at any cost. Remember Turnover is vanity, Profit is sanity.
Protect your back
When money is tight people get a bit more ansty and start looking for reasons to complain or worse still get money back.
Disclaimers are tedious but it’s worth covering your back – especially if you are using coloured/dyed or sprayed material or, in the case of door wreaths, there is even the tiniest chance of a wire poking through and scratching the door.
The same applies to deliveries of bouquets – make it clear that the care instructions need to be followed to ensure the best vase life and that any concerns have to be notified within 24 hours or the next working day after any Bank Holiday.
Be green – introduce an eco-collection
Whilst we know there is an increasingly eco conscious consumer we also know it’s hugely tough to change everything in a commercial florist – especially at Christmas.
So rather than aim for utopia or end up with a muddled message why not create and promote an eco-collection that ticks all the boxes be it no foam/locally grown/bi-degradable and then your normal range.
Not only does it clearly define what you are doing ... and avoids the whole greenwashing problem but allows your customers to choose.
Check your website again and again
We’re going to assume you’ve cleaned up your website and made sure it is totally up to date but you need to keep on top of it and take things off the website if they are sold out as it will save you time and irritation to the customer.
Because whilst it may look good to have ‘Sold Out’ on something to show you/it are popular but from the customer’s perspective it can actually be really annoying to see something you like but it’s not available.
Our advice is to remove them and instead use the fact you are selling out fast as a PR exercise in your social media. The whole Order Early message is not only powerful but self-preserving as well! You do not want last minute rushes.
Turn Waste into PR – give in order to get
Last year sales were dampened by the risk of more shut downs in the UK and we know many florists had left overs. This year the sales pattern may be challenged again because after two years of not being able to visit we think a lot of people will be aiming to be with their families for the whole 24/25 weekend so trade could fall away.
Obviously will depend on your store if you get to the evening of Thursday 22nd and know for sure you won’t be able to sell everything and the stock won’t last till the 28th (Monday and Tuesday are Bank Holidays) rather than bin anything why not convert it into a positive which may not bring in hard cash but could generate free publicity.
Because giving them away can be turned into a genuinely nice press story (just pen a few words from the heart or use our idea below as a starter for 10) and be a lot nicer than simply dumping them.
Another alternative is to run a Facebook competition (make sure you listen to the special Floristry Trade Club vid here – on how to run them properly) for the 5 (or however many you can do) most deserving people.
You wouldn’t have to implement it until the morning of Friday 23rd but you should have a plan in place just in case plus –like all insurances - if you plan for the worse you could actually end up not needed it because you suddenly get a rush!
Letting sleeping blooms talk
One of the main reasons customers feel let down with a delivery is because the flowers are in bud when they arrive rather than full and open like the pic.
Truth is a lot of people just don’t understand how flowers work so explain why flowers are sent tight and that it is for their greater enjoyment. Online players like Bloom & Wild/Flying Flowers actually turn the whole sleeping Beauty concept into a positive ... have a shifty at their websites to see how they do it and learn.
With the need to constantly review buying sometimes you’ll need to sub but again you should turn it into a positive rather than a negative … which means not only calling it something else (research shows customers view the term substitution as a negative) but rather than hiding it in teeny tiny print explain with confidence that substitutions are in the customer’s interests not yours!
If you have to use something different say that it is because either the product isn’t available due to global supply issues or because it simply wasn’t good enough so you have swapped it for something that will give a better experience for the customer based on your professional experience and knowledge. Unless it is a really specific flower – like a memory flower for a funeral tribute – the majority of customers will be fine.
Never assume how much money they have
You may be feeling hard up or the gloomy news has just got to you but don’t project your feelings on your customers. They could look a complete tramp but be a millionaire, they may have saved a lot to go mad at Christmas or they might have just won the Lottery.
NEVER EVER assume what a person can spend based on your situation ... let them decide by suggesting options. A brilliant phrase to start with is “our most popular bouquets are £52 and £63 pounds or we can do bigger” ... pause and see what they say. If they say no you can instantly reply saying “no problem ... what sort of budget were you think about?" NEVER EVER say our bouquets start at £££ ... that way madness lies as it’s almost impossible to sell up from a pre-established start point!!