What can you say but “Thank You” to FTD. They are giving you free kits if you purchase codified products or if you don’t, just pay $19.95. If you still don’t want it, you can just tell them NO. FTD has mailed every member a letter stating this for you to act now. I just wanted this to also be clear to shops that continue to point fingers at wire services for damaging their business.
Remember, this all started with 1-800 Flowers. They secured the orders first and built Bloomnet later. Once 1-800 Flowers secured the volume, they saw the needy florists and started their own wire service Bloomnet, whom I still have not seen do anything for florists. It seems they have built fulfillment centers. I see shops losing their identity as they fill orders for 1-800 Flowers, put 1-800 Flowers marketing material on their designs, and even letter their vans with 1-800 Flowers all over it! Really? What sense does this make? Florists, you really can get your own orders.
I hope you can see why FTD and Teleflora are fighting this national battle since very few florist have the ability to do so. Let’s imagine that FTD and Teleflora didn’t listen to shops and stopped the national marketing. What would happen? Would the orders go to you? Just look. Take out FTD and Teleflora and what do you have?
Just Flowers, Pro Flowers, Wesley Berry and other DECEPTIVE gatherers. Just to clarify, I am not saying Pro Flowers or Just Flowers are deceptive.
My point is that I see FTD trying to help florists. They send signage to your shop to bring more awareness of sending flowers locally, they give your shop a competitive credit card processing program, and provide a mid-range POS system to help you operate your shop after hours and continue education programs. Teleflora is also doing all they can to help you, the florist, learn more about how to get more orders, lead (in my opinion) in tech solutions with RTI, and provide a mid-range solution Dove POS, a competitive credit card processing, and an after-hours solution. The biggest advantage in Teleflora is technology. This includes their websites, a user’s conference for RTI members, and a top member rewards trip that rewards florists sending orders through the system. Like it or not, they want orders to be transmitted through their network to their florists! Best of all, Teleflora does not SHIP FLOWERS IN A BOX; every order is filled by a member florist.
It is nice to see FTD step up local florists with marketing material and ads. FTD and Teleflora are the ONLY 2 services who have the deep pockets it takes to fight that national battle to secure orders. I believe in supporting anyone who helps make our industry stronger.
Be the Change You Wish to See
With a variety of options such as John Henry, it is important to know that there are also opportunities to stay within the floral industry for your marketing needs with Teleflora and FTD (as mentioned above) or Beneva Solutions. Are you a florist who wants change? Then be the change you wish to see. Here are some ideas to initiate this change:
- Throw out the order cut off. Be available for delivery and charge for it. I promise you will have staff to help deliver if the price is right. I am not asking to work for free. Here is our 24 hour delivery program.
- If you have a website, have after hours. FTD and Teleflora both do a fine job here. Don’t kid yourself; you are losing orders if you have an answering machine. You are only fooling yourself if you don’t see this.
- Join a florist group with shops OUTSIDE YOUR AREA. Get a different perspective. If all of the shops around you have the same problem, they are less likely to share solutions. By reaching out to others in different markets, you will find that they are more willing to share solutions since you are not a competitor.
- DON’T look to your wholesaler for confirmation that everyone else’s business is slow too. You know exactly what I mean. If you are slow, call me. I will point you to someone who isn’t. (Right after I call him/her too)
- If you don’t have a group you are comfortable with, contact Team Floral or Crockett Myers and make sure your finances and strategies are in orders. Pouring water into a bucket with holes is not the best use of your time.
We are Always Here to Help
After implementing these ideas, call us at Beneva Solutions for even more marketing strategies. You know by now that we recently created our very first everyday wall calendar for florists. We took on the extra expense of having YOUR name in the center with a special cut out so people can’t tear off your name. Best of all, we created it with just YOUR logo on it. Everything you have ever wanted. Next? We created custom floral designs for every month. AND, we give them to our florists for their websites for FREE. More? How about CUSTOMIZABLE coupons for every shop. YES, your own CALL to ACTION coupons. Now your beautiful calendars have coupons for year round savings custom to YOUR shop. When we talk to other florists who have not done calendars in the past, you know what they say? “We haven’t done calendars for years, they never worked for us”. WHAT? How were they supposed to work for you? There is no answer when I ask this, but the truth is that they never had coupons in them!!! Cost? Just .99 cents.
Another important aspect of your business is social media, don’t take it lightly. If you don’t understand it or it seems like it is too much, we can help. Check out SCOOPBENEVA and let us help you with your social presence.
To conclude, if you are a florist who wants change, then seek to improve your business. Lean on some industry friends and know what the competition is doing around you. Lastly, let’s stop focusing on the wire services and target local customers, our business operations, and becoming a YES WE CAN florist. The rest will be easy. We are here for the florists with solutions by a florist. Call me anytime, I would love to hear your challenges and share some ideas together.
–Art Conforti, PFCI