So Mother’s Day has been and gone and we are sinking slowly into a long, frosty winter. Listening to the conversations our sales staff are having with florists around the country, it sounds like quite a few florists are struggling to deal with the trade drop off that occurs at this time of year. It can be very depressing looking out at cold grey days and a shop with not much action.
But … NOW is the time to spring to life! Working hard now to get that customer base up (while you have the time and mental space), will both improve the winter turnover and flow into spring when the market comes back to life.
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This Is The Time To Get Creative
I spoke to Merrilyn from Clare Valley Flowers about this:
“You think ‘what have I done wrong?’ but it’s natural that it dies down at this time of year. And this is the one time where you can get creative! You can hash out new designs. You can implement everything you thought about for the last 8 months.
“You’ve got time to lay out your shop in a new way. You’ve got time to paint. You’ve got time to put the trap lights up that you could never get around to. You’ve got time to re-think, to re-group your mind.
“Sales-wise the natives start coming into their height, and they’re great, they don’t die. They are fabulous in the nursing homes where they have the heating turned up to 75 degrees!
“You see weddings dry up during winter but we go into funeral season now. And also flowers might be down but chocolate sales go up in winter. You’ve got to push the chocolates during winter to get the extra $20 per sale.
“In May we end up with baby flower sales because of the grand final in September. Hey! There’s a reason for everything! There’s a baby boom in May/June –because of the footy!”
Moving Into Winter Mode
At this time of year the trick is to move mentally into ‘Winter Mode’. (And this does not mean go on holiday and wait for spring!)
“It’s your creative time, you get to go play. It’s an exciting time because you can really look at stuff. I have a bundle of white sticks that I bought from Tesselaars prior to Christmas, which I will make into frames and they’ll sell quickly. It’s just not the time to stand around saying “oh woe is me!”
“You need to keep it in perspective. Average your sales out over the whole year – take your end of year turnover and divide it by 52. Use the downtime in winter to your advantage for when you are busy to take the pressure off yourself then.”
Chase The Grey From Their Homes With Lower Priced Flowers
All 20 million plus people that were there before Mothers Day are still there, now we just have to work a bit harder to trigger their interest. So put on your marketing hat!
At this time of year customers take a bit of enticing and they are more reluctant to part with the cash. So it might be a good idea to design your product offerings to get them in the shop. Even $10 is better than nothing and provides the chance to upsell.
When times are tough margins get squeezed, this is the time to be a bit creative and a bit more flexible with price points and margins.
- Think ‘$20 winter specials to brighten up your day!’
- Get the local mailer out
- Put some time into Facebook.
- Update the images on your website
- Get some ‘winter specials’ up online.
Effort and attitude will make all the difference, relieve the boredom and keep the cash register ringing.
Wow Them With Your Window
Adelaide florist Alice from Flowers by Alice agrees:
“I find that people are home more in winter so they are often looking at that ugly corner or the space by the TV going ‘wouldn’t it be nice to put some flowers there?’
I think that your shop-front window is the best marketing – we’re on a main road so we’ve almost caused a few accidents because of our windows! We’re always changing the displays with new season stock, interesting wedding bouquets, chalk boards and things to inspire.”
Get That Website Up To Scratch – Finally!
You might want to use the downtime to work indoors (warm!) exploring the opportunity the Internet provides you with to brighten people’s winter with your floral creations. Alice took the time have a decent florist website made because “advertising in magazines costs a lot and is only valid for a month or so unlike your website which is always there. My site attracts about 10,000 genuine visitors a year and we get a lot of jobs through that.”
Close Those Spring Wedding Sales Now
Winter is the time to work hard to book your spring solid with weddings which can provide some revenue. Alice says: “at this time wedding quotes tend to kick in, so the bridal deposits can take a bit of the (cash flow) pressure off.”
Randwick florist, Tania Waterhouse of Kavelle Flowers is finding social media site Pinterest works wonders for closing wedding sales. She sits with her brides and shows them examples of how she builds mood boards on Pinterest for her brides. “They think I walk on water when they see that”, says Tania, who attributes using this tech directly to clinching wedding jobs, “They pay their deposits on the spot and then I start building a personalized board for them.”
I am sure there are more ideas out there – what about you? As a florist, how do you feel about winter? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Written by Seamus – Tesselaar’s website manager and marketing nerd
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