Monday, April 5, 2010

April President's Message

Utah Professional Florist Association
April 2010 President Message
Tracy Barlow AIFD, UPFA President


Over the past years professional florists have seen more avenues open up for people to purchase flowers.  The times have gone from only arranged flowers given as gifts to a more European approach of unarranged and hand-tied bouquets as floral gifts.  The venues that have opened up to floral sales have made it known often that they sell flowers too.  What have you done to let people know you sell flowers and can compete with these other venues?

More often than not I hear florists mention that they can’t compete with price.  We are under the impression that several hundreds of bouquets are being sold to these vendors and that is how they get such a good price.  My experience is that these vendors do price bouquets a very small profit margin.  There are multiple reasons for each company choosing the price structure that they do.  Some do a modest flower business so they simply can say that they offer that service.  Others have developed a branded look.  Some do them as a loss leader, just to get people in the door and spend money on their higher ticket items.  All of these reasons can be turned around and applied in a floral shop.

How many additional sales could you get by starting to offer pre-wrapped bouquets for a minimal price point.  With little labor required it makes it possible to lower the standard mark -up of 3.5 and provide an additional service.  I would display them near my cooler so that guests would see our higher end designs and styles to educate them to all the services you offer.  You could offer a value price point in a unique decorative wrap that reflects your branded image.  Simple up-grades like extra filler, ribbon trims or balloons are just another way to increase sales. 

With social net working web sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise your new lower price points, you can get your word out with no expense.  You can also use these media forms to develop your brand.  There are several web sites that help to teach ways to maximize your Facebook and Twitter use.  As you build your number of contacts your message will be in front of more people, and you can’t beat the price.  Many areas have networking groups such as BNI or local Chamber meetings, which can be another inexpensive way to get the word out.  I can see taking 10 or so bouquets and quizzing members of the groups about “the best place to purchase fresh flowers and arranged flowers in town”.  Those that answer favorably would get a small bouquet with your information attached to it.  People would remember your commercial and experience your fresh product.