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Critical Mass


Take advantage of birthday celebrations for supplemental sales.

by Pam Smith, AAF, PFCI

    It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything positive about our economy, gasoline prices, mortgages or politics. There is so much doom and gloom about how bad things are that I think we forget to look for opportunities that are right in front of our faces.
    Birthdays are one such opportunity. “Happy Birthday to You” is the most popular song in the English language, according to Guinness World Records. This song, written by the Hill sisters of Louisville, Ky., in 1893, has been translated into more than 18 languages. Everyone reading this column has sung “Happy Birthday” to friends and family members, and has had “Happy Birthday” sung to him or her. My mother still calls me on my birthday to sing to me. My point is that birthdays are important, and hundreds of thousands of birthday celebrations take place every day.

balloons’ appeal
    The balloon industry has long been taken for granted in our floral departments. I remember when I thought the balloon craze was a fad and that balloons had no retail staying power. Was I wrong! Twenty-five years later, I am keenly aware of balloons and their value proposition to retail customers. Balloons are big, they are shiny, they are designed to appeal to many different demographics and they provide a big bang for the buck. So, when floral sales may be slower than usual, your balloon sales should be brisk.
    Birthday sentiments should make up 65 percent of your overall balloon sales. It seems obvious that your stores should be displaying birthday balloons and birthday balloon bouquets all the time. Mom might not be having Tommy’s birthday party at a fancy location this year, but she will buy the balloons, the cake and the party goods to make his birthday special. Does Mom know she can buy those things from your store?

birthday sales tips
     1. Coordinate with your bakery department to determine how many birthday cakes have been ordered on any given day. If cakes have themes, inflate balloons with those themes, and display them in the bakery so customers can see them when they pick up their cakes.
     2. Motivate your bakery associates to always ask customers whether they want to add balloons to their orders. Then have the balloons ready when customers pick up their orders.
     3. Work closely with your deli department and be aware of party platters and special orders.
     4. Include check-off sheets for customers so they can see how convenient it is to take care of all their needs in one place.
     5. Not all birthday celebrations are for children. Office celebrations usually mean impulse pickups on the way to work. Are you ready for those customers?
     6. Let your customers know you have balloons by using easily readable signage and balloon displays that are fully inflated.

Pam Smith, AAF, PFCI, is director of marketing for Nature’s Flowers. Her background includes five years as a supermarket floral director, 10 years with Teleflora and eight years as a traditional florist. Reach her at (314) 966-5763.

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