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Merchandising Merit

Doggone good deal

Floral and wine departments work together to create a successful promotion.

You just never know where the next successful floral promotion will turn up—through a new product, an inspiring prop or maybe a nonfloral-related vendor who is looking to promote his or her own product.
Last fall, Floral Manager Jennifer Bower at the Hy-Vee in Muscatine, Iowa, was approached by the store’s Wine & Spirits manager, Kayleen Kight, regarding a proposal from its distributor of the Dog House wine collection. The wine company, Johnson Bros./Iowa Wine & Beverage, wanted to market this new vintage line by teaming with Ms. Bower’s floral department on a “Get Out of the Doghouse” promotion. The wine representative, Troy Gutlanecht, was convinced that most men go to the floral department for exactly this purpose.

Johnson Bros. proposed offering customers $2-off coupons for fresh floral bouquets whether they purchased one of the Dog House wines or not. By merchandising the products together, the consensus was that customers would better understand that they did not have to purchase the wine to use the coupons but might choose to do so anyway.

TEAM EFFORT Ms. Bower suggested that Ms. Kight bring the wine to her floral department, which is at the front of the store, because it has more traffic. There, Ms. Bower incorporated the wine into a fall display with the theme “Get Out of the Doghouse,” which she submitted to the 2006 “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super Floral Retailing and Borgen Systems.
The display stayed up in the floral department from the end of October into November. Ms. Bower says it was well received. Along with increasing fall floral bouquet sales, the promotion also sold several bottles of the uniquely named wine. After the promotion, the wine vendor reimbursed the floral department $2 for each coupon used by customers.
The promotion was fairly simple for all involved. The Wine & Spirits department supplied the wine for the display. The vendor provided the coupons. Ms. Bower combined the wine with fall-themed mixed consumer bunches and placed the coupons at the floral register and on the wine boxes. When customers spent a minimum of $5.99 on fresh flowers—including bouquets, arrangements, and wedding and funeral business, Ms. Bower allowed them to use the coupons.

TRADE-OFF Customers who brought coupons to Ms. Bower’s staff were shown the wine and told about the promotion. The floral staff also approached customers who were near the display to explain the promotion. Ms. Bower was amazed at how many customers said they weren’t really wine drinkers but purchased the wine anyway.
Ms. Bower also has cross-merchandised with the bakery, meat and produce departments. She says the keys to successfully cross-merchandising floral are to keep the promotion at the front of the store and make a big deal about it to customers.

You can reach “Merchandising Merit” writer Monica Humbard by e-mail at or by phone at (800) 355-8086.

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