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Critical Mass

setting a

Creating a cohesive look across departments takes planning, organization.

by Pam Smith, AAF, PFCI

Supermarket chains, both large and small, have made enormous strides in standardizing their offerings to their customers. Indeed, the established look and feel of a chain gives each supermarket operator its unique presence in the marketplace. Today, more than ever before, grocery stores are creating uniform looks in all of their floral departments.

setting the tone
Just as a high-quality produce department can set the tone for the entire shopping experience, a well-presented floral department will give the store’s customers confidence that all their grocery selections will have the same quality and attention. Setting the tone in your company’s floral departments will mean creating some guidelines. You may want to ask yourself, “Who do we want to be?” Do you want to be a full-service flower shop with all the bells and whistles like weddings, custom work and delivery? Or do you want to focus on a tighter floral sale that revolves less around custom work and more on cash-and-carry offerings? Once you answer these questions, the first step may be eliminating items from the sales floor. This means using a keen eye and specific sales data to limit and trim a large order guide down to a manageable core list of key items that have proved popular with your customers.

coordinated look
As the floral decision-maker, it is up to you to create a coordinated look for each sales period in your company’s floral departments. You should make the ordering decisions for each store easy. Plants can be ordered in straight cases and in specific varieties rather than assorted. Plants, bouquets and other high-velocity items should be planned with an overall department look in mind. If pink is your main color for Mother’s Day selling, then use it in hues that will make your department look coordinated when the products emerge from the boxes. Know the capacity of your fixtures, including how much inventory a specific fixture can hold and how much that inventory translates into gross sales and profits. Give your fixtures names or numerical designations that all of your floral managers can relate to. This will make following your instructions much easier at the store level. Review your chain’s internal grocery manual, and adopt words and phrases to communicate your message to your floral departments in the same terms that are used throughout your organization. Give your store managers an opportunity to support your floral program without having to learn a new language. Streamlining your floral operation with the correct inventory and offering organized instructions will go a long way to standardizing your look across all of your departments.

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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