Christmas P.R.E.P. (Plan, Review, Execute, Profit)
Current-World Marketing Strategies for your Floral Business
Christmas is almost upon us, and it’s a season unlike any other. While the worst may not be over regarding the pandemic, we know that customers will still want to create a wonderful holiday with their families and friends.
Supply chain turnaround times and staff shortages can add to the holiday season’s already crazy demands, but you can be prepared. With proper planning now, you can benefit from one of the busiest times of the year, despite COVID-19.
Your online presence has never been more critical. Online shopping has grown 94% since the pandemic started; more importantly, 66% of adults plan to continue their current online spending level even when restrictions are lifted, and 26% plan to increase their online spending.
If you’ve been reading past issues of LivRio, you’ve probably been working on your online promotion and sales. Here are a few reminders of what to have in place for the highest possible online sales:
- Make your website easy to navigate and ensure your branding is evident on every page.
- Conduct keyword research and optimize your website for search engines (SEO).
- Write compelling, engaging product descriptions for all your holiday offerings.
- Set up your shipping options for any last-minute floral gift delivery and make them clear on your website.
- Create a series of emails with your holiday offers, directing customers to your website.
- Make sure your online store offers customers the option to “click and collect”—purchase the item online and then pick it up at your front door without coming in. This can be a key way to increase your holiday sales this year.
Turn Browsers into Buyers
Since holiday shoppers typically have no real idea of what they’ll want before seeing it in your store, it’s essential to set things up to turn browsers into buyers. The traditional way to do this is by putting the best offers and promotions well inside the store, so customers have to look at all your products as they wander through.
You can also bring online browsers into your store to buy, with a tool called Pointy, from Google. It’s a simple unit that plugs into your POS system and lists your inventory online. Your inventory will show up on your shop’s Pointy site but also on your Google My Business listing.
Pointy can be an excellent addition to your online presence, as it gives browsers even more ways to find you and what you have to offer. More importantly, if you haven’t yet set up a website, Pointy is perfect for you to get online right now and showcase your products.
Set up your Signage
Having the correct signage throughout your shop can also help customers during the Christmas season. Signage can show them how to safely move through your store with all social distancing protocols in place. You can also create signage that shows customers where the holiday bargains are and promote specific holiday flowers and gifts. Whatever signage you choose, make sure it’s clear and that it has your branding all over it. Your personality should shine through in every sign.
Prepare your Inventory
Inventory is an entirely different holiday consideration this year. It’s hard to determine demand due to the general uneasiness and potential new lockdowns, and you can’t forecast based on last year’s holiday sales. However, you’ll need to have enough inventory in stock for the inevitably higher Christmas demand.
Based on your current financial situation, you may have to pay closer attention to the bottom line and may have to have less stock on hand to keep cash flowing. If this is the case for you, make sure you let online customers know the exact delivery window for their products, so they don’t expect to receive them on a rush basis. You may also want to offer your in-store customers the ability to purchase their floral arrangement in advance, then send it to them when you have the inventory in stock.
Hire and Train your Staff
This year, you may need extra staff for the holiday season. These temporary employees won’t just be dealing with the holiday rush; they’ll also be doing more tasks such as continually cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and preparing “click and collect” items to bring out to customers.
You’ll need to train your temporary staff not just on your usual holiday procedures, but all the critical hygiene processes that you must have in place. Consider bringing them on a week or so earlier than in past years so that you have time to train them correctly.
And think of this: With the high level of unemployment right now, you may just find temporary holiday staff who are “overqualified” for your needs. Don’t pass them up—they need the work, and you’ll have a quality team to handle the crazy rush of the holidays.
Prep for COVID Health and Safety
You may have many health and safety restrictions for in-store shoppers, and you’ll have to prepare for them all. Make your masking policy known with clear signage at the door, and provide a hand sanitizer station at the entrance. If you can use a dispenser that’s laser operated, that’s ideal—or have a staff member on hand to provide sanitizer to each customer.
Also, your shop may be in an area where there are regulations about the number of people you can have inside at any one time. If you’re lucky enough to have too many customers at one time, make sure you have ways for them to shop while standing in line outside your store.
Place large signs in your shop windows, showing all your holiday arrangements and gift ideas, so customers can shop while they’re waiting. This will reduce their already-high Christmas shopping anxiety—and can also encourage impulse buying!
Make it a Merry Christmas for All
When you look at all the challenges you’ve faced this year—and survived—prepping your floral business for the holidays should be easier in comparison. We wish you nothing but success and the merriest of Christmases for your business.