Flower Costs

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How much is that worth?

It is an interesting question about a product, “how much is it worth”, as the answer will vary greatly amongst consumers. When a client walks into a florist store or views a web site the pricing they can see indicates the worth of the product. All retailers price to make a profit and consumers are aware of this but many want the ‘best deal’. What they see as a minimum price to the top price indicates the worth of the product. If a florist prices their ‘top’ item at $90.00 the consumer may feel they do not need to spent more. But what if items are not priced?

Most retailers have a system of pricing where the client can look at a product and identify what it is and its price. Some need guidance in the selection or suitability of the purchase to suit their need/s. A seller can guide a buyer but consider a hesitant buyer who wants to browse weighing up whether to buy chocolates, shampoo, flowers or a silver picture frame for example. Supplying a label or brief description can assist this potential buyer. Many Melbourne based hairdressing salons and beauty clinics have their retail stock well labelled. Most florists do not label items to indicate suitability and many do not price products and this makes our industry unique compared to most retailers.

Consider a male walking into a butcher shop with little knowledge of meat cuts and prices. The client can read and see what Fillet or Porterhouse steak is and how much it is, as it is clearly labelled and priced. As a further comparison imagine walking into a supermarket and finding there are no prices to be seen. You would find this ridiculously odd yet many clients enter a florist shop and there are no prices to be seen. You will often hear a florist ask a client, how much do you want to spend? Sometimes a client does not know what they need to spend to obtain the product they want.

A client can enter a florist or ring and actually have no idea of what they need to spend or what the most suitable product is. Consider a male who decides he wants flowers for “a special person” and the only flower he knows is a rose. The florist who serves him informs him they have orchids, gerberas, lisianthus, tulips, iris and a lovely range of flowers that can be made into a box or a front facing arrangement. To this client this information may have been spoken in another language as they really do not understand. This client will feel uncomfortable and then the cruncher comes – the florist asks “how much do you want to spend”? This client may have no idea.

Most florists across Europe and Scandinavia have their workroom in the store so that all floristry items are made on view of the buying public. One florist in Oslo has florists making items in their shop windows. There is always someone watching the items constructed. This assists a client to value the worth of a floristry product. Consider a client who requires a corsage. If it is made in the backroom and then produced there is little appreciation of the time and skill involved for such a small product. However, if the client watches the corsage being constructed in an open workroom/shop their appreciation of the skill and therefore its worth, is accelerated.

How many florists know the botanical names of flowers? Not many in reality. If a florist labelled all cut flowers by their botanical name and common name not only would the florist learn the names but so would a percentage of the clients. A label should inform the consumer about the product such as its colour range, life span or seasonal availability. The public likes to be informed. For example, by labelling boronia, thryptomene or violets with an explanation to assist the flower to last longer. For example the client should mist the flowers every two or three hours as these flowers drink through their heads. Some clients may find this too much trouble and others would want this flower and thank you for the advice.

Many florists are poor communicators when it comes to product knowledge. The excuse is that as flower prices fluctuate it is too difficult to price daily. Consider this remark in this age of advanced technology? It does seem ridiculous, doesn’t it?

All items should be priced with a brief description of what the product is and what it is best suited for. This information assists the consumer. Many florists are labelling and pricing on their web site, often due to external advice, but not labelling within their store.

A good displays should:

  • Demonstrate the features and benefits of your products and services
  • Highlight to your customers the variety available
  • Generate interest and questions
  • Encourage customers to increase their purchases. e.g. a gift or vase to complement the flowers purchased
  • Promote your business
  • Show clients how additional items can enhance an item

Consider your shop or work environment. Have you created an environment that, through displays, shows the range and benefit of your store stock, merchandise and services? Stock well displayed encourages questions and comments from customers giving you the opportunity to demonstrate any features and / or benefits about the identified product or services.

Features of products and services may include the use of products, range of colours, cost and availability. Benefits should be considered by the seller to convey to the buyer such as long vase life, greater variety of colours to choose from, value for money and it is a popular gift. This information can be verbal or by signage.

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When a new range is introduced segregate the display into a specific area and promote the product. Several flowering potted plants placed into a ceramic container, sometimes with a small fresh arrangement of flowers included has been a popular gift in Europe for decades. To promote this product use the label to  explain it is a European inspired design and the container can be used again. Refer to the life span of this gift.

Clothing stores label a ‘new range’, ‘the new season’s lines’ or the ‘new seasons colour’. Floristry should consider similar promotions. Laminators are inexpensive and if you generate computer labels and laminate them you are presenting a professional price tag with a percentage of water resilience. Some florists colour code the labels to identify internally the day of the stock. This is a great task for a floristry apprentice or a floristry school-based apprentice.

Display of stock challenges some florists. If items are labelled there will be interest but an uncluttered, well planned display represents a standard. Displays do not happen, they are planned and created. A good display is the shape of a triangle with a focal near eye level. Many florists display shop items at floor level. The cheapest space on supermarket shelves is the lowest level. Eye level is the prime space. Good floristry should be displayed and a florist can create panels with little effort. Make a fine wooden frame, either square or rectangular and stretch fabric across the frame and staple neatly behind. Suspend the frame from hooks or a bar, like a towel rail, from the ceiling. You can make one or several of these and it they are neutral, such as black, white or green and these create a background to a floral item. Another idea for a backdrop is three or four suspended blinds in a row at the rear the display. Pull down the colour you want as a background. This method is also effective for access into the display.

Do not clutter a display and remember the reason for a display is to sell products. The same applies to your web site. Consumers want to see more in the store, therefore internal displays should complement the window display. Supermarkets price floristry items but there is no promotion of the item. Inform a client with labelling why the floristry item will suit them. Such as “great for a birthday” or “ideal for that special person”. Always remember a client wants to see a product. The florist knows exactly what flowers look in a finished item but many consumers do not know if they cannot see the finished product and there is hesitancy in purchase. A final incentive to increase sales by display, labelling and pricing is the rise in superannuation. July 1st saw an increase of .25 per cent and this will increase again by another .25 per cent on January 1st 2014. This money must come from somewhere! Retail is highly competitive so do everything you can to entice clients to buy your products.

Australian Flower Industry Article written by Gregory Milner
Gregory Milner Teaches Floristry Apprentices at Marjorie Milner College.

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