Small business owners from all walks of life face the same challenges in competing with larger global-scale companies in some form or another. Further, in a world where brands can reach virtually anyone with just the swipe of a finger, markets are becoming more crowded by the day. These fast-moving times makes it important for businesses of all sizes to keep their eyes on the ball or miss out on opportunities to grab their customer’s attention. This includes florist brands hoping to make their mark in their industry.
With an industry that has undergone massive disruption in recent years, it’s fair to say that the business of flowers will never be the same again. The romantic idea of paying your local a visit and have your personalized bouquet handmade over a long chat is, sadly, turning into a dying art.
Today, florists need to contend with a digital customer who could be as far away as the next county or state and often never meet their best clients in person. Moreover, with products and services just a mobile device away, florists need to find ways to establish their brands in an ecosystem of competitors who often have more resources at their disposal. Alas, there is much an independent florists can do to stay relevant in a bustling and highly competitive market.
Make sure your customers can easily find you
Today, hyper-localization has become a powerful way for small businesses to compete with big brands. A simple Google search for florists in your location will provide you with a detailed list of flower shops in your area along with loads of information about them. Investing in an online business listing can go a long way to make your florist shop stand out from others. Research shows that businesses with listings that include reviews, contact details, images and website details on average receive three times more inquiries than those who don’t.
Make sure your business is registered on all major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) with all the required (and more, preferably) details customers would typically look for. Business listings are a quick way for customers to check out your store and get some feedback from others who have done business with you. Accurate information, positive customer reviews and quick access to the right contact details can mean the difference between getting, or losing out, on that next big order.
Actively use social media
In a recent blog we discussed the importance of social media (Instagram in particular) as a crucial marketing tool for florists. With billions of people accessing the web for anything from entertainment to personal advice to business services everyday, the Internet is creating an even playing field on which small businesses can compete with the big players.
According to Adweek, over 80% of customer do thorough online research on brands and products before considering a purchase nowadays. That’s a far cry from the days when people actually went out on window shopping trips – remember those? People spend an incredible amount of time online checking out brands, products and pricing so be sure you’re putting the best foot forward in the social sphere.
A social presence is an opportunity for the savvy florist to create a positive awareness around his or her business. Using platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest is an opportunity to compete with big brand marketing budgets and getting your name noticed amongst the competition. Make sure you invest adequate amounts of time on your social media profiles to boost your brand and be the first to get that phone call from a potential customer.
Use customer feedback constructively and pro-actively
What’s better than a new customer? A returning one. Many small business owners tend to worry about getting their names off the ground and start pushing out as much of their product as possible. While this is important, it certainly isn’t the endgame. As a florist, you’re selling a product with a comparatively short lifespan. This means people will return, or not, to your business periodically for some fresh blooms to keep their offices, bedrooms or living spaces beautiful.
The problem for florists is that once their bouquets are loaded onto the delivery van, they have no control over what unfolds next. Did the customer receive their order on time? Was the delivery staff courteous and friendly? Were there any mix ups that could have been avoided?
These questions can all be answered through simple follow up emails, a phone call or quick survey. Make it known that you’re the kind of business owner who cares about your customers and their experience with your brand. Make time for follow up calls and monitor your social feeds for any kind of communications from customers.
Whether good or bad, respond to customer comments, queries and complaints and be transparent about things when they don’t go smoothly. People are always watching these engagements unfold and will get a good feeling for your brand if you show them that it goes far beyond just the sale for you.
Think quality, not quantity
While this might sound counterintuitive, it’s important to know that consumers today are bombarded with generic marketing, products and services. Unfortunately, the same goes for the florists industry. A quick look at some of the florist websites today will reveal a standardized look and feel, along with arrangements that hardly stand out from each other. Big brand florist companies are pumping out countless generic websites that are virtually flooding the Internet, resulting in an overload of uninteresting websites and look-alike flower arrangements.
As an independent florist, this is a major opportunity to stand out and stand apart. Let customers know that your arrangements are handpicked and handcrafted by yours truly. Don’t get suck into the idea that skimping on a few flowers here and there will mean more money in the till.
We constantly see this happen with big flower brands who advertise beautiful, lush and generously arranged bouquets, but when it comes to the final product, much is left wanting. Taking the high road can be tough if you’re looking to turn a profit, but in the business of flowers, you’ll only succeed if your heart goes into every bouquet – and your customers will know that.
Give yourself the competitive edge with Hana Florist POS
Hana Florist POS is designed to give independent flower shop owners an all-round solution that helps them focus their energies on running a successful business. Not only do we offer florists a complete back office solution that streamlines behind-the-scenes overheads, but we offer our customers beautifully designed, interactive and branded websites to give your business a stunning online presence.
Our one-of-a-kind mobile app gives florists even more convenience and functionality by allowing them to check on the progress of orders on-the-fly and have drivers electronically sign off on deliveries to happy customers. Our platform is fast becoming the go-to POS solution for florists across the USA and very soon, Canada also! For more information on how we can help your florist business thrive, contact us today.