Keep Your Customers Shopping Local this Mother’s Day

April 24, 2012

Still not convinced APPS are the future? Click here and be prepared to be blown away.


Mother’s Day Tips to Help Manage Sales and Increase Profit

April 23, 2012

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and for aggressive florists, it’s your chance to protect your business and get new customers. The questions are, “Who will shop with you?” and “Why should they?”

What makes you the best choice for a customer to use when sending flowers?  The days of assuming the orders will come are gone. The only thing you can count on is incoming wire orders, and who do they come from? Aggressive marketers!

It’s time for everyone to “gather up orders.” If someone is out looking to send flowers, as far as you are concerned, they should be sending from you. But why?

Because you…

1) Have marketed using print and online advertising to be where customers are looking.  Places like your local newspaper, TV, radio and/or email campaigns.

2) Have the most pleasant, trained staff answering the phones and taking orders. This is because you took the time to outline your operations and develop a plan with benchmarks, and listing realistic expectations which you have discussed and reviewed with your sales staff.

3) Reviewed all your coupons and special offers with your staff. They need to know what your company is offering before your customer calls. Also, be sure to add the Teleflora and FTD codes to your website, so if a customer tries using them with you, they can.

4) Met with your designers and limited your offerings. If you want to make your holiday profitable, you need to offer less and mass produce more.

5) Have a brochure not only for your customers to order from, but also for your staff to use when suggesting bouquets to customers. Our brochure is still available if you would like a few. Fully customizable, it is your menu for Mother’s day. It is not product driven, but focuses on flowers not containers.

Here are some other important factors to keep in mind:

1) Calculate (based on last Mother’s Day) how many phone calls and staff are needed to answer calls. The general rule of thumb is 4 calls per hour. This includes walk-ins. So in an 8 hour day, you should see your employee take 30 -34 orders for the day. This is just for sales. If you took 70 orders a day, you need 2 people on phones, one on phone outs and one handling customer service. With this plan, if you go over and get 80 orders, one of the other two can jump in and help. By not knowing this equation, how do you plan your staff?  For design and driver formulas, give me a call (941-308-3117). I would be glad to help you with your individual challenges. The production numbers are just about the same.

2)  Be sure you have an expandable system for incoming telephone lines. I have some contacts you  can use for an expandable system. If you are paying for individual lines at your shop, I have a few contacts that can get you approximately 10 phone lines expandable to 23 for around $325.00 a month. Now you will have the expandability to take on the holiday volume, have enough lines to use for calling out orders while receiving orders and not having to show a busy signal. You can also forward your lines when busy to your after hours service in the middle of the day. You can’t afford to miss another incoming call or order.

3) Only have one website for customers to shop. If you have more than that, you have a staff answering phones who cringe when a customer says they are looking at your website. They not only don’t know which website the customer is on, the employee has no clue what is even on that website. Don’t believe me? Ask any one of your staff. You should only have one website. It is like your logo, and it is your brand. Don’t complicate it.

4)  If you don’t have an after-hours service, you need to reconsider. It’s 2012, everyone. The days of not answering phone calls are no longer acceptable. The internet and your website are available 24/7, and your ability to answer calls should be a priority.

5) Review and set up your Facebook strategy for visitors. Keep your Facebook page fun and full of  interesting facts and information. Be careful not to use Facebook for advertising only. It will turn your customers off and they will most likely leave. Show off your flowers and explain what makes them special. Engage your customersKeep it simple and informative.  Check out other major companies’ Facebook pages for content ideas, and to see how they engage their customers.

6)  Be sure to maximize the experience to engage your customer and/or get that 2nd order. With the thousands of visitors and the hundreds of orders being placed on your website, customers need to have the ability to download your free floralapp® from your home page and your online receipt page… especially mobile receipts.

Q: If your customer places an order on your Mobile Website, what will keep them exclusively with you?

A: Your app.  Let them download your floralapp® after the order and lock them down. Here is line of copy you should put at the top of your receipt page:

Download our FREE smartphone app and SAVE $10 on your first order! It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s FREE. Just click here…

Being like everyone else is not enough. floralapp® costs less to operate than a phone line. Once you start sending push notifications of special offers to your captive audience and seeing orders, you will now understand the excitement of mobile technology and the advantage your app has over mobile websites. It is important you have it all. The website leads to mobile computing, the app secures the customer and the relationship. Don’t give the national gatherers a chance to get your customer. If there is a way to send flowers out there, you need to offer the option.

At Beneva Solutions, our name is our mission… to help you create solutions to our challenging industry and market environment. At Beneva Solutions, you do have a friend in the business.

If you do not secure your business and get new customers, your competition will. The choice is really yours

Best wishes,

Art

www.benevasolutions.com


What a Night! Syracuse – April 17,2012

April 18, 2012

What a pleasure it was meeting florists in the Syracuse area, and others who drove almost 2 hours to attend. I think what made it best was to hear them say, “It was well worth it”.

You know, for years the number 1 attraction to wholesale presenters was floral tips and design. They just pack the house. I believe that the flowers today have never looked better and the design standards are raised to the highest level. Florists know how to design a beautiful bouquet, it’s getting the order for that design, the delivery, and the profitability that needs to be improved. While that may be challenging, I hope I made it fun for all. The footballs were used throughout the presentation and a gift was received by all who attended.

The very first step was simply plugging the holes of profit and the marketing, followed by tracking your results. It is interactive, and one of the best times I had presenting. What was surprising was after an hour and a half, when I was done, NO ONE LEFT! It was like the audience was paralyzed. People were thinking. The questions they asked were great ones. They realized that they could take control. Maybe they also realized the wire services are not necessarily the bad guys. Maybe they will all watch the video here where my guest at the shop, Paul from Jacques Flower Shop, stated it best: “Change and success starts in the mirror”. Check out the quick video. Success is not for everyone. It doesn’t come without a plan. We must all develop a plan!

Today, these florists are hopefully a little better prepared to tackle the future of retailing and take back the industry. It cannot be done alone.

Check out Billy form Kittelberger Florist who drive from Rochester to visit with his Ford Transit displaying a QR CODE on the back door! That was a first, way to go Billy! Remember the first time you saw a www. (URL) on a florist ad or business card? Welcome to the world of apps. For once, all florists will not be left behind and play catch up.

See the screen below of the projected app usage in the next four years, are you ready?

Thanks again Cathy for having me…It was a pleasure!


Is Your Staff Prepared for Prom and Secretary’s Day?

April 16, 2012

By now, your marketing plans for Secretaries Day and Proms should be complete. But I ask you this, how much effort have you put into training your staff to make the most of your orders?

For example, Prom requests can take as much time as booking a small wedding. By having the offerings on your webpage (see how we do it), or printed for your sales team to order off of, it simplifies the process and enables you to sell what you planned for.

Secretaries Day orders are probably the trickiest to process in your POS system. We have continued training and had a formal gathering this morning to ensure the team was up to date on all of our processes. I can’t stress enough how much better florists could do with ongoing training and tracking of the orders they receive. Secretaries Day is like a mini Valentine’s Day. Plan for prompt service and be sure to make the most of the experience. That list of people ordering for businesses is a very valuable active list of leads too!

Don’t wait and take orders, sell the products you plan for and create an experience that sets you apart from you competition!


Floral Marketing Talk with Paul Godbout of Jacques Flower Shop

April 4, 2012

Arthur Conforti is joined by Paul Godbout of Jacques Flower Shop as they discuss Easter, marketing, advertising and the floral industry.

Also there is still time order our Mother’s Day Brochure. Click here for details.


The week before Easter and all through your shop!

April 1, 2012

Friday and Sat (Yesterday) I called most of the shops who are new to Easter advertising and I asked them…”How do you feel going into this weekend with you ads all lined up for Easter Sunday, here is what I heard.

* Excited, I feel like we are going to boost sales.

* I got my first order this morning since my inserts are delivered on Saturday

* Looking forward to it. I haven’t advertised Easter in over 10 years, Thanks for the encouragement

Then there are those who have done it before, they just know what to expect.

I will promise one thing, those who marketed will see more orders. Those who don’t are hoping for their customers to order. (AND that is why you will see wire services and pro Flower advertising. That is the customer they go after)

I am still excited. This morning morning we are seeing calls come in from the postcard and by Monday or Tuesday we will see even more. Business will not come back to you. It will come back to those who are out there going after it. I can’t stress enough the value of marketing for every holiday. We are in an industry that is full of creative beautiful designs and the ability to hand deliver the same day across the USA. That is so powerful and yet we don’t want the world to know. We keep it a secret.

Mother’s day is just around the corner. We are customizing the mother’s Day brochures fro shops this week and they will all be ready to go in a few weeks.

For anyone thinking they will be busy enough and don’t need to market for Mother’s Day…Think again….

for those investing in Mother’s day will see new customers and with new customers come new birthday’s anniversaries and more future orders. It is not just the Mother’s Day order you get. There are customers wanting to order on phones, using apps and on your website. Are you ready for all of the above? If you are not, we can help.

All I am stressing is, if you marketed for Easter, congratulations. The proof will be in your numbers and the results. Numbers don’t lie.

If you advertised for Mother’s Day CONGRATULATIONS. You too are securing your local market.

IF you HAVEN’T….If you haven’t marketed Mother’s Day and you feel that strongly about it…..call me. Maybe I am missing something. I would like to save money too. BUT I re invest in the future of local floral retailing at Beneva Flowers. If you want to save money, improve your bottom line and take the extra and sock it away. Cutting advertising or not advertising is like having a car and refusing to buy fuel. You need to fuel the engine.

I am glad to say we saw a record amount of brochure purchases this Mother’s day. I am thrilled. It is because I see people starting to “GET IT” that I am writing. I want at least one shop in each city marketing with either inserts or mailing to local zip codes. I have brought the cost of brochures to a price that is the LOWEST in the industry. The advice of our staff at Beneva Solutions is FREE. The only think you need to do is develop a strategy. We are glad to help. It will be a LONG summer for some florists and others will see increases and not know why. It is because of the new customers they acquired at Mother’s Day.

I will be travelling the country this summer with my GETTING OUT OF THE BOX presentation. Please come out and visit. Say hello. I love meeting shop owners and holding open discussion. I LOVE sharing the numbers of stats that clearly show you how much business is left on the table. See it for yourself. Then make your decision. If the answer, a brochure? Is it the Floralapp? Think about this…Those who have been working hard to get downloads have seen more and more orders start coming in. Now, the next step is PUSH notification. Go ahead, pull the trigger. I went from 2-3% of my downlaoded customers ordering to 14% over the last few months. It is increasing fast. I have achieved 70% of my total Floralapp order over the last 6 months. I can hardly wait till the Mother’s day PUSH!

My next presentation will be in Syracuse on April 17th at Cleveland Plant.

You have proms coming up….Go ahead and send an incentive to the schools to have the students order on your app for an additional discount. Maybe $2.00 an order or more. They select from your flowers to wear and now the kids can use smartphones to place an order with you. You have will call, go ahead and use it.

You know, so many florists tell me they want to get after the younger shopper because they are the future. HELLO? FLORALAPP. Kids LOVE and understand apps better than anyone. this is it, go for it!

Yes I am excited and NO I am not worried about what everyone else is doing because we are busy doing not talking.

So don’t waste another second….here are some quick tips for you. Please call me if you would like to review…

1) Have your staff trained for the Easter orders from your postcard.

2) Use Turn 2 with every Easter order you take. You will be amazed how many MOther’s Day orders you will get

3) Update your Message on Hold. It is the next best up sell generator after your paid employees!

4) Keep a lost order log at every station. ANYONE who can’t close an order needs to write down what happened and you as an owner need to review it.

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what we think people think of us, what matters is what we know why anyone doesn’t.

If anyone tries to convince you that if you don’t need an app if you have a mobile website, ask them if they offer custom floral app. Now you get it? Almost every florist has a mobile version of their website. this is not new. FLORALAPP and the technology we use and are adding is. From allowing people to click recipients on their CELL phone books an complete forms to PUSH NOTIFICATION and much more. APPs are fast and easy to use. Best of all they are FREE to customers!

Good luck next week and if you haven’t ordered Mother’s Day and you can customize this week, we can most likely get you in. Don’t be a spectator, be a player!

All my best,

Art


Making the most of your Mother’s Day Traffic

March 25, 2012

I remember it was around 1996 when I first started adding .com to all my ads and even to my business card. Believe it or not, it looked awkward to many and especially our fellow florists. They acted as if I was being extreme including a .com or that many people would not understand what that meant so why do it. Back in those days maybe 1 in every 6 homes had a computer.

In 1996 most people used dialup and the common connection speed was 14.4. While many felt this .com stuff would be a flash in the pan, others thought differently. Since many retail florists did not understand what was transitioning those who did got out ahead and built a solid .com presence and captured the opportunity and customers looking to shop online. It was a small crowd back then but so was the amount of shops ready to earn the online business.

Google was once an impression based search engine. You paid for impressions and clicks were optional. Yes that was then…

Last night I saw this transportation vehicle promoting rides and just chuckled when I saw just how prominent the .com was on the limited marketing area they had on the backlit sign. Surely they had a choice of a larger ad or adding a .com. Today that makes perfect sense, I wonder what many would have thought back in 1996. I wonder if they would have even added a .com to the sign back then.

So as we fast forward to 2012…there is a HUGE transformation again. Technology has evolved and cell phones have become the new portable computer. It is happening before our eyes.

Here is why…

1) Apps use the cell technology to process information and expedite transactions on the go and on Smartphones.

2) Apps development is growing and the amount of apps is so great APPLE has been denying apps being submitted that are similar to apps that already exist.

Apps allow you to create just about anything you can imagine when it comes to innovation and using the information on a cell phone. (Example, when someone places an order they can look up the recipient in the address book ON THE PHONE, click the name and the fields auto fill! There is much more to come as well.

MOBILE versions of your website are just that. It is only a reformatted portion of your website that people can use to order. There are no unique features like the recipient info migration or PUSH notification to alert app customers or reminders that pull from the cell phone (coming soon) to remind people of special occasion on their phones.

Many florists have taken the steps to licensing an app that is customized to their flower shops. By simply adding a link to your website, you can get your customer LOCKED in when they download YOUR app. The best part is, they can ONLY shop with you. You are building a captive audience. In time this will be priceless.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. It is clear now that those shops who worked to get customers to download their apps are all seeing orders. The more the downloads, the more the orders. We are also seeing that many people who order once on the app are ordering again. It is just so easy. That makes a big difference.

The week of Mother’s Day you will see record number of visitors to your website. This is your opportunity to lock them in with your app. A simple promotion or just having the banner on your home page (which we will make for you) will be all you need. It’s a long summer ahead……make the most of your Mother’s Day traffic and promote FLORALAPP before your competition does. It is only a matter of time. For just $70.00 a month, how can you afford not to use this technology in your business?

Don’t let this holiday go by without doing all you can to capture your customer. using a QR code on your Mother’s Day brochure makes it easy to get them to download. We offer the solutions, all you have to do is call us and discuss your strategy this Mother’s Day. There business is out there for those who want it.

Call me anytime and remember, “You must be willing to do what others don’t, to achieve the goals they can’t because they won’t”.

View our video here.


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