When the economy slows down, people don't buy as many luxury items such as flowers. The best flower shops will be flexible enough to change with the times, think outside the box and offer people affordable options. Flower shops must stay creative and offer customers a pleasant experience to be the best.
The best flower shops keep their customers happy. When customers call or come in, the best flower shops remember them and their order history - at least the basic information, such as how much they usually spend. In smaller shops, the staff may be able to keep this information in their heads, but in larger shops, a point-of-sale computer system will help. Also, the best florists make sure their customers feel like the florist is going out of her way to give them what they want. For example, if the customer calls late in the day, do your best to get her delivery out the same day.
Although customers develop strong loyalties to their favorite flower shops, that loyalty will only last as long as the prices remain competitive. Although you don't have to offer the lowest price on every item, the customer must feel he got value for his money. Periodically check your nearby competitors' prices on flowers and delivery services. Keep your minimum price for a delivered arrangement low enough to be affordable, but high enough that you can send a quality design that doesn't look cheap. Also, offer more affordable alternatives for people who can come pick up arrangements.
The best flower shops keep their inventory fresh by diversifying the stock. They change their flower orders by season, but they also look for new items to offer. Many deliver food and gift baskets as well as stuffed animals. Think out of the box. Sell necklaces and bracelets that can be included with the flowers for Valentine's Day or anniversaries, offer a greeting-card selection, use household items such as pitchers or coffee mugs instead of vases for interesting keepsakes, and create reciprocal relationships with such vendors as wedding planners, event centers and funeral homes.
The best flower shops seek creative ways to get their names out into the communities. Join local clubs and chambers of commerce. Offer a reasonable amount of free flowers to decorate club events in return for recognition. Purchase booth space at bridal shows, and place inexpensive ads in the local paper, especially near holidays. For a more memorable idea, try writing articles for the local paper focusing on flower choices, design ideas or taking care of house plants. This option is free and lends credibility to your shop.
The best florists make ordering simple. Design an engaging website filled with photos. Break these down by categories such as birthdays or sympathy for easy searching. Then offer convenient payment options. Accept online checks and Paypal as well as credit cards. Use Web browser tools to make sure your site is one of the first listed when people search for flower delivery in your area. This will help you receive orders from out-of-town customers as well as locals.