Written by Gay Smith
The floral industry has a history of surviving dramatic economic downturns. We will survive this time around, too, but survival is not about a duck and cover response—it requires implementing smart procedures and daily protocols. According to Jack Welsh, the power of a brand perception is huge, but a good reputation and brand image can be lost in a minute by someone screwing things up with a stupid move. Let’s analyze habits are needed to avoid stupid moves and shortsighted actions.
Who doesn’t agree that flower sales are impulse-driven. Quality aesthetics and display count! The best program can be trashed in a minute when daily activities like culling old products and filling display shelves are not well-prioritized.
Avoid shortsighted move #1: Gaping holes, wilting plants and empty display buckets
Consumers are looking for real or perceived value to cajole them into spending precious dollars. One way to amp-up perceived value is to get consumers involved.–think sample stations offering a risk-free trial of a product. Develop a birthday bloom give away. Let signage identify, tell about origin, color significance, folklore, history, how long a bloom will last and how to maximize vase life. Provide visual ideas on DYI display tips. Solve a problem the customer hasn’t articulated as a way to coax them to buy.
Avoid shortsighted move #2: Making customers ask the name, origin, or color significance of a flower
Another smart implementation is to simplify handling. Arm your staff with tools to verify that certain actions are performed correctly. pH strips are a good example–simple to use and inexpensive. Taking the pH of any bucket solution gives an immediate indication if the flower food is there and if it’s been used correctly. If the pH is level 5 or lower (regardless of the brand), the solution is well mixed. Flowers displayed in poorly dosed flower food wastes money and results in high shrink.
Avoid shortsighted move #3: Guessing at the dose when prepping buckets with flower food
How about sanitation? Want to decrease shrink and maximize vase life? Establish a protocol for daily cleaning. Keep a spray bottle of ready to use Chrysal cleaner at each work station to sanitize design surfaces, tools and choppers throughout the day.
Avoid shortsighted move #4: Losing vase life potential by processing in dirty buckets, cutting with dull tools and infrequently sanitizing work surfaces.
Value and vase life! Value is the buzz-word in 2009. When it comes to flowers, there is a straight-line connection between value and vase life. The simple steps using flower foods correctly, consolidating displays and culling out tired products keeps the value quotient high and customers happy!