Wow, What a Holiday

December 24, 2011

Wow, what a holiday it was. Came and went fast. I heard many shops say one of two things:

1) It came early and died off

 OR

2) It was so quiet then it came on late

That concerns me as those who marketed with ads, radio/TV, and with at least 2 drops using inserts in the paper said it was overall the best holiday in years! I have to agree with that. This isn’t about bragging, it is about sharing the truth. The truth is MANY florists did very well and won’t toot their own horn. I say, TOOT! Share the good news. I am glad to hear others did well too. Of all the shops I spoke to other than us, Allen’s Flowers in San Diego will also be open Christmas Day. That’s dedication. This doesn’t mean everyone has to do it. I open because it is a day I reflect on 25 years that started right here in a 1,000 square foot store. We started being open 365 days a year and today, 25 years later, I will be in. Even if just for a few hours, I will never forget where I came from.

This year was the inaugural year of the floralapp® which enabled us to share industry leading technology with florists across the nation. Florists got into their customer’s cell phones before the competition did. The day I heard that Phoebe Floral had developed an app for $8900.00 for iPhone only, I realized we can do this if we get enough people together. Today at just $995.oo we made it affordable for florists to have this technology available to their customers at a price everyone can afford. Thanks to all the florists who joined, you helped make it happen.

The first quarter of 2012 we have some great upgrades in store for all. From reminder programs to a gallery feature that is totally interactive with your shop, the best is yet to come. Even better there is NO additional cost. You all get it for FREE! Some florists really saw an abundance of orders. It seemed that those who marketed it saw lots of downloads and orders. If you ever called Trias in Miami, you will see why it is no wonder she is one of the most active in orders as the floralapp® value and convenience is being reminded to her customers consistently on her phone. It is just one more reason for someone to shop local, what was your reason? We all need to be sure customers have every reason to shop local that makes you unique!

The other was the 1st edition Spode. The sales for this item came on strong at the end. I will agree the picture did not do it justice as the actual piece was so big and beautiful many shops had people come in for just the train itself. We codified everyone on http://www.localflowershop.com so it was easy for everyone to find each other. Anyone who got the train agreed it was a big difference in value when you actually saw it. It wasn’t a container. It was clearly a beautiful gift complimented with flowers. Even better it was numbered.

Next, we will have the 2nd edition coming next year. We will also give you copy to mail to everyone who purchased this year to reserve their train for next year. People love to collect. I had one customer order 3 in Long Beach. Since we did not have a shop there, she said to mail them to her in California and SHE would take it to her shop to design. Then, she took 4 more to give away as gifts, AND a deposit for next year. She wants the collection.

The shops we send 1 and 2 to as well to fill orders ended up ordering 6 and 12. Let’s face it, with minimum order amounts of just 12, how can you afford NOT to have this on hand? Check if it is available in your area, the exclusives are growing fast. Several shops were turned away as the markets were taken. Shops like Riverdale were sold-out early, as well as Mancusos and others across the USA. Markets like Atlanta, Phoenix, Seattle, Wilmington, Miami, St Louis and so many more are already exclusive. If you have the opportunity to secure this line and get listed on http://www.conforticollection.com please let us know.

A trusted source and friend at UPS said that a year ago Pro Flowers was their #3 customer and not on the radar this year. People have been burned and it looks like local has a greater chance than ever if we can all adapt the YES WE CAN attitude and make it happen. Customers are why we are here, let’s never forget that.

As we close out 2011, I find we have more opportunity than ever in 2012!

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday season and good health for the New Year,

Arthur F. Conforti

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Teleflora & The Today Show and what that means for florists.

December 13, 2011

This is from Teleflora: BREAKING NEWS! We have just learned that Teleflora has been selected to participate in an exclusive feature on the Today Show – one of America’s most watched television programs. What is it? On December 16th, Teleflora will appear in a holiday gifting segment that will include a Today Show special offer on three specific bouquets on www.teleflora.com, all at $50+ price points.  This special offer will be 100% covered by Teleflora.  Regardless of the Today Show special pricing, the orders you receive will be at the full fulfillment price including delivery.

What does this mean to retail florists?

UNMARKETED consumers will be driven to Teleflora.com to see more value in sending flowers using Teleflora. Teleflora has not revealed the discount they will be offering, and are going to ENSURE retail florists they will get full value as they will make up the difference. So the shopping experience will be with Teleflora as the best value when sending flowers, but using local flower shops. What I found interesting was the items they are promoting were not codified containers. I would like to see this effort directed to drive consumers to local Teleflora florists with an offer. But they would need you, the local florist, to commit to the effort and discounts.

MARKETED customers have placed, and will continue to place orders with their local flower shops as YOU the local florist has EARNED their trust and business.

Florists that have been marketing this holiday season seem to all be doing well. Those waiting for incoming orders are wanting marketers to do the work as they fill the orders. Whatever you feel is best for your shop is YOUR choice.

Beneva Solutions has been helping florists capture customers and build a brand locally. There is NO excuse for your customer to shop anywhere but with you if you do your homework. For example, I will share some retailing tips that you can consider or choose to ignore. It is clear that Teleflora is not ignoring the obvious…

LTV. If you are still looking to just get orders and don’t understand LIFETIME VALUE, I hope this link is a life changer for you. View now.

By Teleflora capturing the customer, they will market them to keep ordering with them. You can do the same. When you get that incoming order, your opportunity is with the recipient. Don’t let your paid advertisement go out without a call to action from YOUR shop with the recipient.

4.2 Million unique visitors ended up on 4 major websites, where did they come from? See them here.

* Customers are discount driven today. Do you offer specials? If you do, are they clear? (Ex: do they have to spend $40.00 to get 10% off? Isn’t 10% off the same with $1.00 as it is at $40? It is scaled, leave out the small print and get the order)

* The Sunday newspapers are STUFFED with offers to make purchases. Almost every offer has an incentive. Are your ads there too?

Teleflora, FTD, 1-800-Flowers, and Pro Flowers are all out there driving consumers to purchase flowers. They use every possible tool to make it easy. They advertise in statements, in magazines, and even in Home Depot. What is your strategy?

If you are shaking your head by now, YOU HAVE SOLUTIONS.

a) floralapp®. If you don’t have it, you can. It is the new and upcoming way to send flowers. 1-800-Flowers has an app, why don’t you. We can set you up in 48 hours and you never pay an order fee!

b) YES WE CAN. Take out all the stops. Forget about delivery cutoffs. Get the YES WE CAN attitude and simply charge for services requested.

c) Little margin is better than no margin. Price adjustments? Got a wire in for $47.50 and need an additional $2.50? Think about what your time is worth and then think about what you are really netting after the effort. You will spend more time trying to get $2.50 than if you just fill the order. Little margin is better than NO margin.

d) SPODE is your local flower shop way of building a brand without competition. Although we are almost sold out of our limited edition Spode collector train, it is a unique gift that is NOTHING like an industry container. It is special and will have another design released next year driving customers back to YOU, the local retail florist. Best of all, you won’t see it nationally advertised for less later. Think about it… the minimum purchase amount was just 12. Wasn’t it worth it to be exclusive? Even if you made 100% margin on each sale, it would not make or break your holiday sales figures, but you would have developed brand recognition and a REASON to shop local.

Thomas Kinkade doesn’t sell as well as Teleflora promotes! You will find more successful selling when you create more successful promotions. We are happy to help you with that.

Wire services need orders to survive. They have all been helpful in giving us the opportunities to get the orders ourselves. If we don’t get them, who will? Keeping orders in the industry is paramount. So far, it is something I am glad to see Teleflora continuing to stand by. FTD continues to provide webinars to help florists retail better, and is the only wire service to offer FLORALAPP® at a discount through the end of Decemeber. So look for the value that is offered to go take back your local business. YOU and only YOU can, and will, need to make the move and do it.


Over 200 Florists Were Ready to Take Control of Their Business

December 9, 2011

Over 200 florists registered and logged into the Dec 6th webinar presented by FTD. If you missed it, or to hear the presentation again, visit www.FTDUniversity.com

It was amazing to see the interest from florists who were ready to hear ideas on “Taking Control of Your Business.”

It was very clear that retailing has become more complicated than ever before if you don’t understand the changing environment. It’s not just marketing, it’s retention and focusing on LTV (Lifetime Value).

We reviewed sample marketing stats and strategies as I stressed the importance of capturing not only the first order, but the 2nd one as well. After sharing stats with everyone, we turned to a slide which defined INSANITY by Albert Einstein. He said insanity is “The art of doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results.” It seemed I got a lot of people thinking when I asked, “This holiday season, think about what you are doing different that will most likely be the difference in your end results.” While some shops will be ready to fill incoming orders, others are concentrating on capturing their own orders. Look at my previous posting about the compete.com results showing that last May, over 4.2 MILLION unique visitors visited the top for websites.

Where do those people come from? OUR BACK YARDS! They come from all our local markets. Besides having a listing on http://www.localflowershop.com or even a FREE verified listing at http://www.localflowershop.com/florists/getListed.cfm there was the stat showing the amount of time people spent on websites and APPS. What an increase! We illustrated the increased purchases of smartphones, and how they increased while the purchase of computers and laptops have almost flattened.

With that being said, I was able to explain my passion for the mobile floralapp®. It is not just now, it is the future and is just around the corner. While I see the florists getting dozens of orders every day, I also am overly pleased as I knew it may take a little time to get people to download, but WOW, some shops are getting orders DAILY! These people are locking down their customers as the app is IN THEIR PHONE. That icon brings up YOUR shop every time they click it! Little chance they will shop anywhere else since they can only see your shop, your offerings, your coupons and in store specials. They can also use their PRIVATE contact list to look up an address, and then with one click, the form is completed! It just takes one order and we have found most shoppers have been very pleased.

Do you know the most common question a customer asks when downloading the app is, “So I can use this to send flowers anywhere through you?” Isn’t that the goal? Try asking your customer if they know you can deliver anywhere and watch what they say.

floralapp® is one way to lock down your customer before someone else does in your town.

App technology, some tips on securing future orders on the phone, and the lost order logs were only a few of the things discussed and shared. There were also some great questions asked by the florists. Please visit  www.FTDUniversity.com to view the webinar.