The floral industry seems to be in a constant state of change. Many small to medium flower shop owners find themselves struggling to make a profit. At the same time, a number of large order gatherers appear to be flourishing. Even with all the turbulence, florists we serve are all experiencing strong, steady growth. The week of Mother’s Day was no exception. Each shop in our floral group achieved solid growth in sales and revenues. Several reported the strongest Mother’s Day sales in their firms histories!
The two largest flower occasions of the year are Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day. Both are extremely challenging for flower shop owners. For example, our florists all buy farm-direct. Buying direct has some huge benefits in terms of the quality and variety of flowers they can offer. It also comes with risk during a week like Mother’s Day. Most of the flower farms require a partial payment for each flower order at the time the order is placed. With final payment being due at the time the flowers are actually cut, wrapped and shipped. Meaning, florists who buy direct from the growers spend huge sums of money before the first Mother’s Day order has ever been taken.
Once the flowers arrive, the next big issue becomes inventory management. How do you store thousands and thousands of fresh cut flowers, and not loose them to spoilage before the Mother’s Day orders begin to flow. Our shop owners are incredibly bright folks. All have installed massive cooler systems, capable of maintaining the precise temperatures needed to effectively store fresh cut flowers. The secret is to ensure the blooms stay closed while in storage. The goal is the design the arrangement and have the blooms open precisely when the arrangement is delivered to the recipient. During Mother’s Day, flower storage capacity is always an issue. The sheer volume of product needed to fulfill all the orders that come through during the holiday is staggering. Solving that problem requires creativity on the part of each shop owner. For most, the answer lies in positioning huge refrigerated trailers on-site. These refrigerated units provide the additional temporary storage space required to handle the massive influx of product.
The challenges don’t end there. In fact, the difficulty factor just seems to keep ramping up for the flower shop owners during Mother’s Day. The next major issue the face is manpower. Most flower shops maintain staffing levels designed to get them through the everyday business of designing and delivering fresh cut flowers. Mother’s Day requires a far different strategy. Our shop owners are extremely busy year round. When Mother’s Day rolls around, they are always under pressure to find a way to effectively increase staffing levels, while maximizing the available floor space in their shops. That isn’t an easy task.
For our shop owners, holiday hiring begins well in advance of Mother’s Day week. The call center has to be beefed up. These sales people have to be trained and field tested before the holiday arrives. Floral design staff schedules have to be tweaked. Holiday production runs have to be completed, while still fulfilling other commitments, such as; weddings and events that may also be on the May calendar. Most of the shop owners we support maintain a staff of part time designers. During Mother’s Day, full time and part time designers all come together in concert to handle the spike in work loads. Staffing challenges are also something shop owners have to deal with in other parts of the operation. Delivery is a mission critical component of every flower shop. This is a task that often keeps many a flower shop owner up late at night. During holidays like Mother’s Day, it not unusual to see one of our florists personally work 80 or more hour during the week. We would know that because our staff is also at it day and night working to ensure our marketing program is delivering optimal results. We routinely trade emails with our shop owners in the middle of the night during Mother’s Day week. Really!!
The flower shop owners we support all enjoy a steady stream of business each day. We focus much of our energy teaching them how to successfully make money year round. Keeping the shops busy during normal months is mission critical to having them ready for peak periods. The busy daily schedules have lead to the development of some pretty sophisticated delivery operations in most of the shops. All of our shop owners provide nationwide same day delivery. Most offer local rush delivery, and several offer express local delivery. The express delivery option enables customers to select the actual time of day they want the arrangement to be delivered.
Flower delivery is to say the least a very challenging piece of the business. You are dealing with a perishable product. That perishable product has been expertly designed into a magnificent floral arrangement. Then that gorgeous flower arrangement must be carefully loaded into a delivery vehicle, with no damage to the flowers. It must be kept stable during transport to the recipient. The flowers must not get too hot, nor too cold during this transportation process. Delivery routes must be constructed to ensure the drivers can get the arrangements to the intended recipient within the agreed to time frames. During Mother’s Day, drivers are expected to handle multiple delivery runs each day. That requires the delivery management team to build delivery routes that maximize the value and effectiveness of each drivers available hours.
Holidays like Mother’s Day challenge every single department within a flower shop. If all departments aren’t properly managed, the end result can be disastrous for the shop owner. If you are a flower shop owner, the last thing you want is to have hundreds of unhappy customers who either didn’t receive their Mother’s Day flowers on time, or received an arrangement that wasn’t in top condition. The thing I love most about the shop owners we support is this. For them, Mother’s Day isn’t just about trying to make money. There vision of Mother’s Day is much more than that. It’s about keeping a commitment to customers they value. That commitment is to ensure that each Mom they serve receives a masterfully crafted fresh cut flower arrangement. Each arrangement is crafted with love and designed to exceed the expectations of the sender and recipient. Our shop owners focus on quality, luxury and customer satisfaction. They steer clear of the tactics and strategies used by the large order gatherers and drop ship florists. Mother’s Day is special. It’s about celebrating relationships with the special people in our lives that make this world a better place. It’s awesome to be working with florists who have such lofty ideals.
In truth, we are extremely blessed to serve such a distinguished group of flower shop owners. Our firm is fortunate to work with companies like Carithers Flowers, Veldkamp’s Flowers, Allen’s Flowers, Flowerama and a number of others. Every single florist in our group is currently experiencing strong growth. They all enjoyed nice increases in sales and revenues during Mother’s Day. These increases weren’t just from online sales efforts. Our marketing program also delivered significant growth in their call-in’s, walk-in’s, wire outs and credit card sales as well. How do we know that our shop owners are out performing their peer group? Each shop owner we support participates in various floral industry user groups. These user groups all share high level financial and operational results data. Our shop owners indicate to us that their Mother’s Day sales performance far outpaced other shop owners in their user groups.
It is our mission to be the very best marketing firm in the floral industry. We won’t stop until we achieve that mission. When you work with our team, it won’t take you long to see just how relentless we are in pursuing success for your firm. Don’t take our word for it. Just ask the shop owners we support. Every flower shop owner we currently support is extremely happy with our performance. Most of them are now opting for multi-year service agreements with us. They have seen the value we deliver and know first hand how dedicated our team is to generating results for them. We aspire to be a true strategic partner to all those we serve. Nothing is more gratifying than when one of our flower shop owners decides to tell others about the great work we are doing for them.