Back to Retailing Basics

September 8, 2009

Blog-StoreJust stopping by to say hello to everyone and hope you are hanging in during this challenging business environment.

Our industry is changing so fast and while general economics seem to be hard enough to face, the infrastructure of our industry is changing too.

The days of waiting for the phone to ring are fading fast. It is now up to us to make the phones ring.

How about buying containers to get orders? Remember when you would purchase containers so you would get business from other florists. Today, most of the orders are coming from national .com’s and wire services. Can you afford to keep this model alive considering the 30% it costs to fill a wire order?

Don’t get me wrong, wire orders are fine, as long as it is no more than 15-20% of your business. If you are going to send, then you should fill.

The problem today is not wire services. It is the lack of retail florists marketing to attract attention. It is shops with tight delivery cut offs; shops that don’t have the “Yes We Can” attitude.

After all, we all want people to think it is our flowers that are the most important thing, but the truth is that timeliness of delivery and the card message that are most important. Beautiful flowers delivered after someone has gone home from work are no longer of value.

I was doing an install of my website at a florist 2 weeks ago where the owner wanted to call out for pizza since we were busy working on a strategy together and did not want to break away. He told me about 2 places that were not far away. One was very good and the other, just ok.

What we were looking for was DELIVERY. So if the very good one was not going to deliver, then the not so good was definitely going to be the place for us. They wanted to provide a service we needed and we chose them because of it.

So, the next time someone wants to place an order that requires us to go out of our way as retail florists, we should think about what the customer really needs and that is a delivery. The product should compliment the prompt service and last! But without delivery, we have no sale.

This is where national companies are winning. They will take the orders and push florists in the network to deliver. In many cases, it’s OR ELSE. (Made famous at 1800 Flowers)

What is the answer? Call me. People can say I am always selling something, but the truth is, I am always sharing something I am already doing. In many of these cases I’m doing it with shops across the country.

So, we can sit on the sidelines or get in the game. I am in it and welcome a call from anyone who wants to build their own brand and attract local business.

Here is a link about marketing in a recession. Check it out and call if you would like to chat. There is never a charge for talking or coaching. We all need to help each other and share the many tools and ideas to help get us where we all need to be.

Every great idea is only successful upon execution.

Art-Signature

Arthur Conforti – 941.308.3147

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Stay Out of the Bunker

September 4, 2009

Kellogg's vs Post

Companies that adopt a bunker mentality—cutting marketing and public relations activities in an attempt to save money—will ultimately damage their position in the market. This will afford competitors an opportunity to seize market share. Don’t believe me? Google “Kellogg’s Vs. Post“–breakfast cereal was never the same after the Great Depression. Kellogg continued marketing during the great depression while Post pulled back.

Re-evaluate Your Marketing Strategy. Refusing to cut your marketing/PR activity doesn’t mean you continue business as usual. Make certain your advertising and overall marketing/PR strategies are effective. Are you reaching your target market through the channels you currently use? Should that newspaper dollar go to radio or TV? Are you using social marketing tools? Mass emailing with interesting content? Sales should not be all you use your email marketing for.

Tell Your Story! Public Relations is not a wholly reactive discipline—it’s not just there to serve as a buffer for bad news. A good public relations professional constantly works to identify the most compelling (interesting, sexy, exciting, timely) elements of your organization and packaging it for the news media. Through established relationships with the media gatekeepers and correctly-packaged (newsworthy) information, your Public Relations professional can potentially get your company that great feature on the front page of the business section or a sound bite on the 5 o’clock news. This brand-centric strategy improves visibility and credibility. There are local agencies that can assist you with this. However, you can do this yourself as well. Just send meaningful content about something you are doing that is special. Remember, it is all about the reader. It is not so much about what you want to announce, but more so what the reader is interested in learning about your story. How does it affect them?

A good example is Good Neighbor Day. If you are doing this, it is a story. This program is more about attracting news and media than giving away flowers. Take advantage and send press releases out. Start the morning with flowers at all the news and media stations announcing your big day. This is a story worth talking about. After all, who doesn’t want to talk about receiving flowers?

CFF932What separates your shop from your competition? Wire services sell containers, you have a numbered collectable with our Conforti Collection Fitz and Floyd Holly Berry Bowl. Numbered and hand painted it is a numbered collectible that completed a beautiful series of gifts. Wouldn’t you want a limited edition gift if you had a choice?

Marketing brochure. While our prices are the lowest in the industry, it is still costly to distribute. I will tell you this, it is not 30% of sales. That is what we give up on incoming orders. Filling a wire in order costs over 30%. We do this to be able to send out orders. They are break even at best and ok to do, as long as it is not more than 15% of your total business. So, where does the other 85% come from? This is up to you!

Designing flowers and waiting for the phone to ring simply isn’t enough. We need to make people look. We need to attract attention at our stores and on our websites. This last quarter of the year is the biggest in our industry. Will you be in the bunker? Will you take the conservative roll like Post did in the great depression? Or will you take your market share like Kellogg’s.

We have no intention at Beneva Flowers of leaving anything on the table. We not only want every transaction, we are watching to insure we protect our database with enough options to keep customers thinking Beneva when sending flowers or gifts. We do this by insuring we have as many choices and options for a consumer as any national competitor and we back those with exceptional service.

If you have not yet ordered marketing brochures for the holidays, call us, we can help you with creative ways to get these materials into the hands of your customers and your potential customers! Call us Today at 866.768.2420.

Happy Labor Day Weekend,

Art-Signature

Arthur Conforti