The seven big floral holidays—Valentine’s Day, Easter, Administrative Professionals Day/Week, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas—require careful planning and well-executed merchandising strategies for sales success. We asked four floral managers who all have excelled in the “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super Floral Retailing and Börgen Systems, to share some of the approaches they take when promoting these major holidays. Take a look at their ideas, and get some inspiration for your 2012 promotions.
the planning process
• Start your planning early. Decide your themes and colors early, even as far as a year in advance. Throughout the year, you can gather props and supplies and have everything ready when the holiday arrives.
• Make a sketch. Plot out where everything in your promotion will go. Sketching will help you see how it will all fit together.
• Keep good records. Write what sold well and what didn’t, and refer back to those notes when you’re planning for the holiday the next year.
• Plan your advertisements. Deciding what you are going to feature in your ads, whether they are newspaper, radio or in-store promotions, will help you focus on the core products you plan to push for
• Rely on your vendors. Work with your trusted suppliers to help you choose products for your promotions. In addition to knowing consumer trends, they should have the products available to meet your needs.
• Keep updated on trends. In addition to your vendors, consult trade and consumer magazines, websites and catalogs for trend information. Trade shows and local retailers also are a source for color and product trends. If you need a theme idea, check out balloon suppliers’ catalogs for inspiration.
• Know your customers. Rely on past history for product choices. Don’t be afraid to try new items, but be sure to offer the tried-and-true that you know will appeal to your core demographics.
• Cross-merchandise. Get together with other store department managers to discuss ways your products can work together in holiday displays. Have on hand a selection of greeting cards appropriate for the occasion.
• Engage with themes. Get your customers excited about your products with themed promotions. Encourage your whole store to participate in the theme.
• Reset your department. At the start of your promotion, move your fixtures around and change the traffic flow. You’ll increase the attention your department receives and encourage customers to stop in.
• Have signage with every display. Signage is your silent seller. Tell customers what the items are and the prices.
• Make your signage noticeable. Coordinate your signage to your display’s colors and theme. Be sure the type is large and easy to read.
• Point out the value. If items are specially priced, use signage to tell customers the savings they are receiving.
• Use color. Choose attention-getting colors for your displays. Make sure products coordinate with your color theme. Color block your products for added impact.
• Add interest, impact and movement. Display products at different heights, group smaller products together and use different types of fabrics. Have some props hanging from the ceiling to add movement and attract attention from across the store.
getting the word out
• Be specific in your ads. Tell customers what you are promoting for the holidays. Your ad space and budget likely are limited, so make the most of those resources and ensure customers know what they’ll find in your department.
• Put it on a flier. List upcoming special events and promotions on fliers, and post them throughout the store, especially on entrances and exits. Hand them out at the registers, too. If your catering department offers holiday meal packages, ask if you can include your flier with their promotional materials.
• Use Facebook and Twitter. These are free ways to get the word out about your promotions. You will need to designate someone to update your feeds and respond to customer feedback.
• Draw in customers with events. Holiday open houses and other events will help create excitement about your seasonal items.
• Design in front of your customers. When preparing for holiday open houses, create your designs where customers can watch. Talk to them about the products you’re working on, and invite them to the upcoming event.
• Announce yourself. Use your in-store public-address system to tell customers about special promotions.
• Wear badges. Create badges for floral staff and cashiers that remind customers to purchase for the holiday. You can make them with laminated poster board and safety pins. A heart-shaped one for Valentine’s Day could say, “Don’t forget your valentine.” sfr
Special thanks to Dianne Kozel, floral manager, Logli Supermarkets (Schnuck Markets), Rockford, Ill.; Patty Malloy, AIFD, CFD, floral manager/buyer, Gordy’s County Market, Eau Claire, Wis.; Lisa Tapp, floral manager, Albertsons No. 4176, Weatherford, Texas; and Lori Trotter, IMF, floral manager, Hy-Vee, West Des Moines, Iowa, for these holiday marketing ideas.