What’s the ROI of the Society of American Florists’ 1-Day Profit Blast? Instant money in the register back home, according to one shop in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
“The first thing we did after Profit Blast was raise delivery charges,” said Lisa Greene, AAF, AIFD, PFCI. “That was instant money in our till. No one has questioned the new rates.”
Greene was one of more than 120 floral industry members from 17 states and Canada to attend SAF’s recent event in Boston. Sponsored by Jacobson Floral Supply, the daylong conference featured educational sessions on design tips and trends, financial management and customer service, along with a Supplier Showcase and plenty of time for networking.
“Dollar for dollar, this was the best bargain,” said Charlie Hardy of Hillside Florist in Woburn, Massachusetts. “The speakers were energetic and knowledgeable and would respond to any topics. The one-day format fits our busy schedules and energizes us to make improvements in all areas of our businesses.”
“This one-day event was packed with information and it touched on many areas that florists struggle with,” said Judy Pyszka of Chalifour’s Flowers in Manchester, New Hampshire. “It really gives us the insight that we need to make positive changes in our business.”
Highlights from the packed day of information and education include:
Millennial Messaging. Designer Laura Daluga, AIFD, wowed the audience with easy-to-implement design ideas (including a hand-tied design, created from the outside in) and also shared ideas on how to get younger shoppers into stores and buying more during her program sponsored by Smithers-Oasis. “We millennials know exactly what we’re looking for,” she said, and that means visual merchandising needs to pop and make sense to the customer. “We do a quick sweep around the store and if you don’t have what we want, we’re gone.” What is it that millennials want? According to Daluga: environmentally friendly products and messages centered on sustainability, local and American-made merchandise, items that create feelings of nostalgia and, perhaps most important, in-store experiences, including terrarium bars and design-your-own bouquet areas. “If you can get people in your store for more than five minutes, you’re going to double the sale,” she said. “Stay on top of what’s popular, and that means stalking some of these crazy florists on Instagram. Yes, they do $100,000 weddings, but find out what they’re doing and scale it back for your store.”
Holiday Delivery Tune-Up. Floral Management contributor Paul Goodman, MBA, CPA, PFCI, sent a strong message to attendees: Don’t leave money on the table when it comes to delivery. Unfortunately, he argued, lots of shops are doing just that. The message is especially timely given the coming holiday season. “If you’re not charging more on holiday delivery, you are leaving a lot of money on the table,” he said. Goodman also suggested florists should take advantage of relative slow periods to do some proactive delivery planning. “Take a map of your city, put it up on the wall, and for next 100 deliveries or more, every time you make a delivery, put a dot on the map,” he said. “Look at total average mileage for a delivery to that zone and multiply it by $1.25 to see if it’s profitable. Don’t offer delivery where it’s not profitable, and that includes wire orders.”
Fast Service With a Smile. Tim Huckabee of FloralStrategies delivered advice and insight with characteristic candor, suggesting that too many shops are afraid to steer customers toward higher-priced designs, even when the occasion clearly calls for it. He also said many shops pepper customers with questions (“What’s the occasion?” “How much do you want to spend?”) when they should be making swift, expert suggestions. “If your staff is taking more than 3 minutes on orders on average, something is wrong,” he said. “They’re working inefficiently and they’re asking far too many questions.” A mantra he suggests for all shops: “Ask fewer questions. Give more advice.” Other mottos worth embracing: Don’t be afraid to hear the customer say no (you can always offer a lower-priced option) and never apologize for price.
Engage Online. Crystal Vilkaitis, founder of the Social Edge and another Floral Management contributor, reminded audience members that social media success requires more than simply posting updates. You also have to be savvy about how the different platforms present information. For instance, “Don’t just ‘like’ a comment, but also reply back to the commenter,” she said. “That way, the commenter comes back to the thread to see your response and you’ll appear higher up in their news feed.” Remember that social media users love to see people, so highlight your staff through interviews and make timely videos. A few ideas to try out: shoot footage of new seasonal arrivals or tag along with a delivery driver. In other words, use these mediums to tell stories about your business.
Save the Date: SAF’s 1-Day Profit Blast in Louisville, Kentucky, is scheduled for Saturday, November 4, and is underwritten by the Bill Doran Company.