How to maximise sales when things are quiet
All florists have their busy times of the year. Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas and other holidays are the times when you know you'll be inundated with orders of all shapes and sizes. These rushes, however, can lead to things feeling a bit quiet at other times of the year.
You don't have to sit back in those quiet periods and hope that the busy times make up for them. With a bit of clever marketing, you can make the most of the slow days. Here are a few tips to boost sales.
Flowers are a luxury
In your marketing material (be it a newsletter, flyer or on your website) remind people that a beautiful bouquet of flowers can be so much more than a gift for a loved one during a special occasion.
Pioneer the idea of flowers to brighten a home, as a treat to oneself or simply as a gift for someone 'just because'.
In order to entice customers in for an impulse buy, advertise a special offer. Perhaps buy one get one free on bouquets or maybe something as simple as 20% off on Fridays so people can bring colour to their homes over the weekend.
Don't over do it on the special offers as you can devalue your business but promote the odd one to entice customers to buy even when there's no special occasion to take into account.
If you're experienced in your craft then you'll know when the quiet periods are coming up. The trick here is to plan ahead ready for that time. Before you start to get busy, put measures in place to ensure that you're good to go on a new promotion as soon as the busy period is over.
This saves you from any downtime you might have while you recover from big rushes around the time of Valentine's or Mother's Day.
If you can, plan your marketing activities for the year. Create a marketing plan that looks at your activity month on month. You can focus on the busy times but make sure you know what you'll be doing to maximise sales during those quieter periods too.
Use your time wisely
Instead of sitting around during the quiet times in your shop, use that time wisely. If all your orders are prepared in the morning, the afternoon can be spent working on marketing activities. Spend some time tending to your social media or planning sales promotions.
This is very important if you're going to start making more money outside of the busy times. Firstly, review your sales from the previous year. Other than sales during holidays and special events, what sort of products were you selling the most of?
If you sell birthday bouquets steadily throughout the year, this can be an indication that you need to focus on this. Every month has its own flower, you could promote bouquets of these different flowers on a month-by-month basis.
Perhaps create blog posts about the birth flowers for each month (include birthstones and colours too if you like) and direct readers to where they can buy your relevant products.
You could also conduct some official market research and ask customers what sort of flowers they buy during the quieter times. If they say they don't buy any flowers that's the time to ask why not. Their answers will give you an idea of what you can do to get people buying.
Are flowers too expensive and that's what stops people buying regularly? Or do people simply not thinking about buying flowers outside of special occasions? Take these answers on board and work out how you can change your price points, marketing strategy and promotional material to improve your sales.
Master the upsell
If you could make more money off the orders you sell during the quiet times then your profits are going to be larger. Sometimes, boosting profits isn't about having more customers through the door. Find some low-cost extras with large profit margins that could be added to bouquets. These might be diamanté pins, special cards, chocolates or ever soft toys.
When someone comes in for a bouquet, offer them something extra. Upselling in this way can really help you to boost the profits from each sale.
Create a loyalty card system for your customers and give them an incentive to keep buying. This can be as simple as a card that you stamp every time they spend a certain amount or buy a bouquet. Once they receive 10 stamps they can get a free bouquet or a voucher to spend with you.
You can hook customers when they buy for a special occasion but the thought of being able to get a free bouquet will keep them coming back. Even during those quieter times.
Increase your networking
As a florist, it's fairly safe to say you will get loads of custom during Valentine's, Mother's Day and so on. It's the times in between that you need an extra push to keep customers coming through the door.
During these quiet times, get yourself out there and get to events. This might be by providing flowers to fairs and festivals, having a stand at country shows or even going to business networking events. The contacts you make and the more people you expose your brand to will help you grow your sales.
If you don't already, consider selling bouquets for delivery via your website. This makes buying flowers so easy and it means you can use it in your marketing push. It'll also help to increase sales overall, not just during the quiet times.
Let's say you're using social media, you could post a beautiful picture of a home brightened by flowers and then link to your website. Someone might be inspired by that and buy some flowers for their home. By allowing them to buy online you make it much easier for them to make an impulse buy.
The key to increasing sales during the quiet times is to be proactive. Adequate planning and a bit of effort can make all the difference.
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