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  • Charles Lukasik

Valentine's Day Blues

Valentine's Day is approaching fast. We look forward to it every year, but we also dread it even more. Have you ordered enough red roses? Do you have enough staff? Do you have enough drivers? Is your pricing right? This is the Valentine's Day Blues. Are you ready for it? I am not talking about decorating your shop window, or getting boxes ready, or stocking up on extra ribbons, or ensuring that your helium tank is full etc, etc, those things are a given.

I am talking about being ready to use this occasion to get new customers. Yes, you have your old customers who will hopefully come back this year, but that is not guaranteed. You see, if new customers don't walk through the door, or call on the phone, or click on the website, then your business will suffer.

If you over-order the over-priced roses and employ too much staff, then you will lose your opportunity to make money. Average customer buys flowers 4 times per year, spends around $80 each time for a period of 3 years. That's $960 revenue per customer's life cycle. If you gain 100 new customers during Valentine's Day, that is worth $96,000.00 to you over the next 3 years. Valentine's Day may be the best time to "hook" these new customers, so they will come back to you again and again. These new customers will keep you in business year after year, as long as you keep gaining new customers, every year.

We are constantly faced with threats from order gatherers, supermarkets as well as "experience-based" gift companies. It is a never ending war against forces with larger arsenals to keep your customer base coming back to you. For this reason you need those new customers, relying on existing ones is a recipe for disaster. Our old, loyal customers are ageing, and young ones are very fickle. Younger consumers search the Internet (often from mobile devices) for best deals. They respond to clever advertising campaigns and perceived value for money. They have a short attention span and loyalty is a foreign concept to them. We need to understand this and evolve accordingly. We need to change and update, we need to go with the times, we wouldn't be using the same selling/advertising techniques they used in the 19th century, or even the 20th. Technological progress means that what worked even 10 years ago may not be the best strategy now, remember Yellow Pages?

Now, how do you go about "hooking" that elusive new customer? Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Is your website ready? Do you have Valentine's Day offering on your home page?

  • Do you have a special offer on social media? Have you promoted your Facebook/Instagram posts?

  • Have you invested in Google adwords?

  • Do you have a special offer for early orders? For example percentage discount, or bonus gift, or free delivery, free balloon, or prize draw.

  • Have you prepared a leaflet for distribution around the local area? Have you spoken to local restaurants, or gyms, or pubs and clubs to see if you can promote to their patrons?

  • This year Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday. This is both a good and bad. We will need to compete with romantic getaways more on this weekend than any other day, that's not so good, but it's good because we can spread deliveries from Friday to Sunday. Give your customers the option of early delivery to the office on Friday to ensure maximum surprise effect and bonus brownie points for public decleration of love.

  • It's no secret that Valentine's Day purchases at a florist shop, or on-line are made by men. Most of these purchases will be delivered to women, who in turn will be the predominant purchasers of flowers for.....Mothers Day. What a great opportunity to target those Valentine's Day recipients with a reason to buy from you again in 3 months time. Naturally, the married men with small children who bought flowers from you on Valentine's Day should return to you on Mothers Day due to your fantastic service and quality product. But remember about the fickle nature of your new customers, so include a little incentive with the message card to ensure that they will order again from you.

Good luck, be prepared and sell out!

May the flowers be with you!

Charles Lukasik

Australian Florist Network

Charles Lukasik

Australian Florist Network

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