Marketing a florist shop is a challenge. There is tons of competition from small boutiques, with a few corporate giants thrown in, crowding out many florists. Successful florist shops have active SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for global presence as well as print ads, coupon mailers and local association connections to create local interest. The question is: When everyone has access to the same flowers, candy, fruit, plants and gift baskets, how do you set yourself apart?
Expand your line, reduce waste and increase profits with silk flowers! In the first installment of this two part countdown, we explore using artificial flowers to improve your window displays and appeal to new audiences. Here is what we learned…
10. Window Display Optimization
Location is still the #1 way a florist shop is recognized and your window displays is the first, and often last, impression your store gets to make. Many florists spend months or years coming up with their featured designs; some even go as far as to hire specialized floral designers. This is an awful lot of work and expense for a product that withers in a matter of days. Try using artificial silk flowers for these displays and prototypes. Not only are the stems reusable if you don’t like the design, but customers will be able to see a physical sample of the arrangement you spent so much to produce, months or years after the live floral version would have been trashed.
Less talked about, but every bit as important, is how much silk flowers and plants can add to a window display. When flowers last months or years, spending time designing off-the-wall, eye-catching displays is less daunting and more affordable. Even if you do not plan on selling artificial flowers or arrangements to your clients, faux silks have a huge upside for front window displays and bouquet design samples.
9. Expand your shipping area
Appealing to a local audience is extremely important, but at the same time there is no reason to limit yourself to customers in driving distance of your shop. The larger e-florist chains contract out to local florists for most jobs because it is easier to pay someone else to put together arrangements than to work out how to get fresh flowers to long distance customers.
Artificial flowers are a great way to push your local business to a national or international stage. Marketing avenues that were previously closed to you now become a major income stream. Websites like Etsy, Ebay, Amazon and Overstock are geared toward smaller vendors with items that keep and ship well. The more artistic and unique an item is, the better it generally sells. Plus, the photos you upload are only design templates, you can easily arrange more as orders arrive.
Being in the floral industry, we have all seen clients try to put together bouquets on their own. While customers may know what they like, they have no idea how to make it. You have the expertise, design eye and market knowledge to know what is attractive to your clients. Why waste skills you have developed over the years by limiting yourself to fresh cut flowers?
8. Silk Flower Sprays
In the same way that you accompany cut flower bouquets with individual flowers or flower bunches, silk flowers are a great adder product to artificial arrangements. There can be a significantly higher perceived value to individual flowers. The stems are generally longer, with retail pricing usually around $4-$10 each and dozens retailing for $25-$60. Using vertical racks to show the silk sprays helps to improve the perception that your shop stocks high volumes of flowers and improves the perception of freshness.
Silk stems and sprays attract a DIY clientele that often lacks the design sense to put together items they are happy with. The most popular styles are Gerber Daisies, Roses, Iris and Lilies; All items where a bunch of 12 can be thrown into a vase and still look attractive. Because of the lower individual price points of stems and sprays, you will find customers have a tendency to over purchase to ensure they have enough to finish the job.
7. “How To” Videos and Clinics
Getting involved in community and being recognized is a critical factor in local marketing. Community Centers, Big Box Stores and Trade Associations are always looking for exciting new products to feature, drawing attention to their own organization. Faux Silk Flower “How To” videos and seminars are a great way to get your foot in the door and your face in the community, teaching potential clients about your company and your products while avoiding the negativity and cost of sales driven trade show booths.
Watching the creation and design of a silk flower arrangement is very popular, especially with the higher end demographics florists’ target market. These shows and videos also have the positive impact of getting your clients interested in purchasing components instead of completed arrangements. While television and print continue to shrink, free online resources like youtube gain clout. With creativity and a little personality, “how to” videos put a name and face on your floral shop.
6. Overcoming the Silk Stigma
No matter the quality of the silk flower stems and arrangements, the terms “silk flowers” or “artificial plants” have a black eye that shuts down sales before the client gets a chance to look at your designs. When marketing silk florals, it is better to use terms like “Replica Flowers” or “Fabricated Arrangements”, emphasizing the extreme realism, longevity and care free nature of the silks.
The stigma behind silk flowers disappears almost immediately when clients set eyes on a good design. The manufacturing materials and techniques available today allow the creation of faux flowers that don’t just mimic real stems, but replicate them. Many of the currently available silks seem real to the eye and even to the touch. The key here is to get the product in front of the customer and let the flowers sell themselves.
Keep an eye out for the second half of our list, coming soon!
-Hooks and Lattice has been a family owned and operated silk flower manufacturer and importer since 1969. If you have any questions or are interested in getting an estimate for your project, give us a call at 888-320-0626, visit us online at www.artificialplantsunlimited.com or visit our showroom space at 6056 Corte Del Cedro, carlsbad, CA 92011