Adapting to Change

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Promoting Australian Made:

The slogan, “Made in Australia” has great support from the public as many products are no longer made or produced in Australia. This is often due to cost and overseas competition. Most florists buy Australian grown flowers and foliages and our products are made in Australia putting money back into Australians pockets. Florists should promote their use of “Australian Made” products. It is often just used as a talking point however it is a valid marketing feature that our industry does little to promote.

Embracing Change:

It is healthy for an industry to embrace change. Some florists really dislike change yet look at the constant changes in marketing and product from many competitors. If you do not change methods to entice clients the business will deteriorate rapidly. Consider “M-Commerce” as users are making transactions on their mobile phones. There are more than 22 million mobile devices in Australia and research has shown that 40% of Smart phone users have made at least one purchase using their mobile phone. It is predicted that the phone will replace credit cards. Appeal to a buyer that wants to buy either on line or off line for a successful balance of trade.

There are numerous new sundry products on the market today to offer change in presentation. If you resist change consider briefly floristry changes through the last one hundred years as a reference showing the need for change.

Floristry through Time:

A history of floristry shows how much change has taken place. My maternal grandparents were originally flower growers who adapted to retail selling nearly one hundred years ago. Most florists sold seedlings as well as flowers. Many continued this form of selling up to the 1950’s. Tributes were made on wire frames and in Victoria moss was the filler (some states used straw). Flowers were wired and pegged (also known as picking) and attached into the moss. Often these tributes stood, such as a cross, as they were on wire support bases. Printed ribbons were promoted as an “add on sale” and these were often up to fifteen centimetres in width in quality printed stiffened satin. Porcelain flowers were also sold in glass domed bases to place on graves. These were available in a wide range of sizes. These were replaced by artificial flowers. All florists displayed funeral tributes in their store or in their window displays.
The next innovation in funeral work was the polystyrene frames and then water absorbent bases. Vase arrangements were usually in tall containers with a base of foliage and flowers were fed through the foliage. The “hour glass” shape was the most practical. Oasis was first introduced to Australia in 1948 and with it came the ‘new’ papier mache’ vases. These were tar lined to hold water. Baskets were very popular in the first and second world wars. During the winter months berries such as Cotoneaster, Irish strawberries and many coloured leaves were wired and placed into moss filled basket bases. Corsages were immensely popular in the 1940’s and the majority of bridal bouquets were fully wired. Flowered baby cradles, complete with gathered tulle and even a dressed doll, were replaced with ranges of soft toys.
Marketing was through window display or with “Pink Pages” followed by “Yellow Pages”. Location was paramount. How things have changed! Your web marketing opens your store to the world.
Continue to meet challenges.

Change is positive:

After reading the brief history you can see how much has changed in the floristry industry. Change is positive. Embrace change. A good business is a driven business. If the employer has enthusiasm and excitement it should engender this enthusiasm to its staff for the benefit of the client who should return their business. Enthusiasm breeds ambition and any business that wants to maximize its potential market share must be competitive and inventive. You can see from the brief history that floristry has undergone major changes over time. A good business will be inventive and try new ideas and products. You will not win every time but keep trying new products. Consult with your staff and share the experiences. Florists should anticipate what a client might need based on where, when and how they may want to purchase. Many clients can easily research themselves to make an informed decision and to quantify the amount they need to spend.
If you see the advantage of a great position consider partnering with another firm. You may only need a percentage of the overall space available yet you can operate in a top spot. Google has reported that clients using a tablet spend more time and make more purchases then a client shopping via a desktop.

Clients love variety:

Clients love variety. Some florists have diversified into a range of gifts, cafe, large ranges of artificial/synthetic plants and flowers as well as their fresh lines. Try displaying bouquets with vases that may be purchased with the item both in-store and on line. Make your store a buying experience for your clients. You should be proud of your store on and off line and upkeep should be continually reviewed. Always look at your store through your clients eyes. Would you be satisfied with the selection of the product lines? If your answer is genuinely ‘yes’ you are on the right track.

Floristry products are Hand made:

Promote the skill level of a hand produced item that is made in Australia. A solid business will always strive to improve and gain more market share. Embrace the enthusiasm and satisfaction of a successful business. The florists who are running strong stores take pride in what they do and their positivity is what business is made of. Strive for success. Remember with social networks and You Tube, consumers are sharing their opinions on products with millions of people. Use technology to advance your business and the challenge is exciting.

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