for your buck
How to best use the limited staffing resources in your floral
by Sandy Hering
merchandising your department, just how do you make the best use
of the limited labor hours you have?
expects you to:
• Create a
visual paradise in the limited hours allocated to you.
• Make sure
you change it for each season, holiday, occasion and event.
• Do it
without overtime and without outside expenses.
hefty challenges. However, in any business, what gets one
through the thick of a challenge is a creative approach to
managing a crisis. And what department is the master of
So, just how
do you do it? Take the “big bang for your buck” approach.
1. PRIORITIZE Setting priorities is
how you get a big impact, and your first priority is your
product. Watering plants, caring for flowers—you can’t take
shortcuts here. If shortcuts are taken, the buck stops here
because the loss to the department from disappointed customers
is measured in real dollars, and they might never come back.
2. MAKE "BANG" A REALITY Next on a
priority list is to bring a visual statement to your department.
Why is this important? Ask yourself, “Why do people buy
flowers?” The answer: “It’s the visual, the look.” This should
be our motto.
your visual statement and how often it needs to change. How
frequently do you see your best customers? If it’s every three
to four weeks, that’s how often you should make sure your focal
display is noticeably different. I’m not talking about the
entire department; I’m talking about your front display. Pick a
theme, a new line of merchandise or a color, and create
something special in a limited amount of time.
BRING IN THE BUCKS The reality of store management is
that the department that brings in the sales gets the labor
dollars. Your team members need to know that they have a role in
building sales, and that with success, the team will benefit
with more hours.
into the picture with good communication, including using notes
or messages. Give them achievable goals to complete during the
hours that you are not there. And find out just what your
staffers are doing when you are absent, especially what they do
to add sales and satisfy customers.
asking a friend to visit the store to see what is going on when
you are out of the department. Or consider this trick a district
manager I know used. He had his secretary call the floral
departments to see whether anyone answered. Such techniques can
tell you a lot about what is really happening in your department
when you are not there. You must use diplomacy to discuss the
situation with your store and district managers when your
results are not what you expected.
bang for your buck” approach sounds like a lot of work, but the
results can be worth it. Good luck, and let me know how you do!
consults with businesses in the horticultural industry through
her business, Floral Marketing Innovations. Her background
includes 25 years of experience managing supermarket floral
operations and garden centers and most recently as vice
president of floral procurement for Ahold, USA. Reach her at
(508) 758-3008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.