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Critical Mass

 

Big bang

for your buck

 

How to best use the limited staffing resources in your floral department.

 

by Sandy Hering

 

When merchandising your department, just how do you make the best use of the limited labor hours you have?

 

Everyone expects you to:

• Create a visual paradise in the limited hours allocated to you.

• Make sure you change it for each season, holiday, occasion and event.

• Do it without overtime and without outside expenses.

 

These are hefty challenges. However, in any business, what gets one through the thick of a challenge is a creative approach to managing a crisis. And what department is the master of creativity? Floral!

 

So, just how do you do it? Take the “big bang for your buck” approach.

 

1. PRIORITIZE Setting priorities is how you get a big impact, and your first priority is your product. Watering plants, caring for flowers—you can’t take shortcuts here. If shortcuts are taken, the buck stops here because the loss to the department from disappointed customers is measured in real dollars, and they might never come back.

  

2. MAKE "BANG" A REALITY Next on a priority list is to bring a visual statement to your department. Why is this important? Ask yourself, “Why do people buy flowers?” The answer: “It’s the visual, the look.” This should be our motto.

Think about your visual statement and how often it needs to change. How frequently do you see your best customers? If it’s every three to four weeks, that’s how often you should make sure your focal display is noticeably different. I’m not talking about the entire department; I’m talking about your front display. Pick a theme, a new line of merchandise or a color, and create something special in a limited amount of time.

  

3. BRING IN THE BUCKS The reality of store management is that the department that brings in the sales gets the labor dollars. Your team members need to know that they have a role in building sales, and that with success, the team will benefit with more hours.

Bring them into the picture with good communication, including using notes or messages. Give them achievable goals to complete during the hours that you are not there. And find out just what your staffers are doing when you are absent, especially what they do to add sales and satisfy customers.

Consider asking a friend to visit the store to see what is going on when you are out of the department. Or consider this trick a district manager I know used. He had his secretary call the floral departments to see whether anyone answered. Such techniques can tell you a lot about what is really happening in your department when you are not there. You must use diplomacy to discuss the situation with your store and district managers when your results are not what you expected.

The “big bang for your buck” approach sounds like a lot of work, but the results can be worth it. Good luck, and let me know how you do!  sfr

 

 

Sandy Hering consults with businesses in the horticultural industry through her business, Floral Marketing Innovations. Her background includes 25 years of experience managing supermarket floral operations and garden centers and most recently as vice president of floral procurement for Ahold, USA.  Reach her at (508) 758-3008 or skhering@comcast.net.

 

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