Feedback regarding our industry messaging during holidays

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    My recent article regarding our messaging during Valentine’s day, hit a nerve.
    Here are just a few of the comments I received from my floral blog regarding my recent Floral News.
    ‘We had a good valentines week sales were slightly higher but nothing crazy because the weather around the country did not cause the damages we had the year before it was a great Valentines . We heard from customers that has sales 3 tines larger etc but they spread the buying risks
    I have been saying sell color palettes instead of named varieties and there are plenty of flowers as long as your customers is flexible etc you need the educate the buyer when you can”
    “As far as I am concerned you have a good and valid point there my friend. As an industry we have been messaging our caution (and fear) to our clients and the public, while in the past, we never did this and “just always made it happen no matter the obstacles”. I feel the pandemic is being misused as an excuse in almost every industry, even if I call my dentist office, they use the pandemic as an excuse on the telephone recording tape for why the waiting time is longer on the phone…in any regards, we should do the EXACT opposite, don’t plant fear, don’t tell our clients through what hoops we had to jump to make it happen, just make it happen, period. Like old times pre pandemic.
    However, I am guilty too, I told our clients to order early, expect delays etc, etc, now I do feel we need to inform our clients, who are also industry professionals, properly, but the general message should be positive, and not filled with fear and excuses.
    Lesson learned, and I agree fully.”
    “I 100% agree with you! It’s unfortunate that at the beginning of the chain it’s always seems to be a big problem but then when it really comes down to it everyone always seems to have an over abundance of flowers so if they would just stop doing that then everything would be fine. Thank you for your wisdom!”
    “I always discourage people about talking bad about the floral industry and especially during holidays. The Miami Herald used to call me every year to find out why roses are so expensive. They wanted to interview me and I would always say, “if you are going to write something bad about the flower business, I don’t want to talk to you.” There is just too much negative talk about too many things these days. I would like to see this stopped. There has to be some good things happening.”
    “I just read your post and I personally believe you are spot on concerning this. Yes, we have issues with supply (fresh product, hard goods) and transportation. But we have had that for almost 2 or more years with COVID.
    I went back and read my notes from 2021 Valentines and it basically said, Don’t use these notes from 2021 as a planning tool, use previous years. 2021 Shipping was horrible, product was late, and it was the most stressful holiday of all.
    Personally I can tell you that 2022 flower supply and trucking was as good as I have seen in years. I stocked up on hard goods to hold us over 6-8 months (which I have never done before). Employee issues was the main headache of 2022. My staff told me about a local TV station that was pounding the
    Flower shortage issue. I read what they posted and watched the spots. I made the decision to leave it alone. I didn’t want my name associated with anything negative about Flowers. We had flowers, so lets sell them!”
    “You have a very great perception of why the Valentine’s season was good or bad. From the farms to the cargo agencies, the transportation, the wholesalers, the retails, and to the end consumer.
    I believe your statement totally that being positive, and I would add — about planning ahead, about ordering early, shipping early, and communicating with your shippers!
    Be positive by bringing in more that you sold last year, and telling your staff and customers that you will have what they need; Just be positive about everything leading up to the holiday.
    Assure your customers and people in general that everything will work out, it always does, disruptions always happen—and I quote you, “but in the end, there are always flowers to be had and most will be happy.”
    I believe as you do that our positive or negative comments and actions affect how people see the flower world.  I love this. You said, “I believe that the messaging that we give as an industry can make a difference in our overall sales.”
    We make or break our own success! “
    “I really enjoy your emails. They are always very informative and helpful. I think you are spot on with your analysis of what is going on in our industry.
    We truck 300-400 boxes on a weekly basis and around 1,000 boxes on the holidays, which I know is a drop in the bucket in comparison to others in the biz but it gives us a good feel on what is available and when.
    Even with all the doom and gloom from the farms. from the wholesalers, and on the news….. there really was plenty of product around for Valentine’s Day. I heeded your warning and also heard David Kaplan whispering in my ear to order early and order big – which I did.
    Our farms came through in a big way and we had a tremendous holiday. It seems every major holiday brings its own set of challenges, whether it be logistics, certain items not being available or labor shortages, but we have all been doing this for a LONG TIME and we really should be able to handle whatever gets thrown our way. “
    “Always appreciate your information and prospective. Have been a retailer for about
    45 years having had 2 successful retail shops in 2 different areas of CA.
    Having been through the ups and downs of our industry along with the general economy and it’s effects on our business, my solution, ( I was a Girl Scout- that was our motto) number one, is be prepared. Have found through the years, that MondayValentine’s Day are the least busy and least profitable.
    If roses are an issue, sell mix arrangements with a few roses. Educate your customers. They will understand when the my are continually barraged by all the inflation news.
    Keep records from year to year and buy accordingly. Listen to your gut, not everyone else.”
    “It’s the year of “what will the market bear”. Consumers are having to make difficult purchasing choices now when high inflation is the primary reason. Seeing this in houseplants and bedding plants/flowers also. Some of my customers saw sales decline as early with Christmas sales in 2021. Messaging is important but in this case it is expected that this economic climate will induce sluggish or lower sales compared to prior years, particularly when those years included a pandemic with government subsidies. “
    “You raise a valid point here. Most of the overall feedback I heard from retailers here in the northeast was that they were only selling to their capabilities; i.e. many had staffing shortages and decided they could only handle so much business. A LOT of retailer turned of the less profitable wire service orders days (in some cases a week) prior to Valentine’s Day, and focused their sales on the local, more profitable, customer.”
    “About this last email I could not agree more, I saw how most of my clients waited to the very end to decide what to buy which made it very difficult for us as growers to fulfill the demand and at the very last minute.
    I certainly don’t know the answer but I do believe that we have to be more positive about the coming holidays.”
    “About this last email I could not agree more, I saw how most of my clients waited to the very end to decide what to buy which made it very difficult for us as growers to fulfill the demand and at the very last minute.
    I certainly don’t know the answer but I do believe that we have to be more positive about the coming holidays.”
    “I have been a florist for 45 years, I tell people I started when I was in diapers……haha. Anyways from the early days I remember…..shortages, prices, enough help to process the orders, deliver the orders(in a timely manor) and handle what in the big box stores (the Christmas Rush) in February. When Ftd had 22,000 members we were in the top 1,000. You have to understand we are not in a Urban setting, but a “crossroads” of Rural, township, Light Suburban. This year we started getting orders for deliveries Feb 7 th and rolled with it all the way thru Feb 14. I truly think the awareness of shortages told people they needed to prepare a little earl y “for their Sweetheart”. Our numbers were up about 20%. Preparedness is always a big plus.I have been truly thankful that over the years lifes journey has brought me in contact with many ” Veterans ” in our industry. From designers and staff of 20 years experience ,to my hands on working for the ” Congressional Days ” displays for the White House. So “All in All ” it was a successful holiday.”
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