Fewer Americans will be traveling for the holidays this year, and nearly all Americans are tired of being cooped up at home staring at the same renovation and refresh projects they started but didn’t quite finish early in the pandemic. Those realities bode well for holiday decorating opportunities, say experienced florists with traditionally strong Christmas sales.
“I’m feeling pretty optimistic, really,” Michael Trogdon, AAF, of Burge Flower Shop in Asheboro, North Carolina, shared in the October issue of Floral Management. “This holiday season may be one where people do more to decorate their homes and give gifts to friends and family.”
James McArdle of Mcardle’s Florist and Garden Center in Greenwich, Connecticut agreed. “Consumers will be home more this year for the holiday,” he said. “Because of that, they will be decorating more. I also think there will be more holiday parties this year, although smaller in size, and more gift-giving.”
Still, the loss of income from corporate parties, large events and church services looms, and florists say they’re scrambling to come up with ideas to help fill the holes.
Decorating has typically represented about 35 percent of holiday income for Justin DeGonia, AIFD, CFD, of New Leaf Flower & Plant Shop in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. This year, he worried that some homeowners might be hesitant to have his team come into their houses and that longtime corporate customers won’t see the value in décor services, especially if the virus forces them to shut down again. So, he and the New Leaf team are rethinking their approach and planning to offer online home décor demos and decorating lessons.
“For those customers that would rather isolate at home, we will also be going live on social media several times before and throughout our Holiday Housewarming party,” he said. “This will allow customers to see the product and be able to call in for curbside pickup,” a contact-free strategy they, like so many florists, introduced, fine-tuned and then mastered during the spring and summer months.
Put these ideas into practice: Looking to go after décor dollars this month? Consider offering virtual consultations and online classes. Make sure your product mix and marketing reflect the new realities of smaller gatherings. If you’re offering in-home installations, ensure your staff’s safety protocols (masks, distance, etc.) are part of your messaging to put customers’ fears to rest.
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management magazine.