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industry talk

merchandising balloons

Supermarkets display balloons for both planned purchases and impulse buys.

     Few retailers would dispute that balloons have multiple attributes. They are the perfect add-on sale for flowers and plush because of their universal appeal. They can stand alone or in groups as impulse buys, and they dress up displays for all occasions while capturing customers’ attention. To find out how retailers make the most of these customer favorites, Contributing Editor Monica Humbard asked four floral managers this question: How do you merchandise balloons?

We incorporate birthday balloons into our bakery department. To show customers we carry different party themes, we display, on every other check stand, Quickflate balloons, which come with a string and weight attached for a quick grab and go. We have a balloon corral above the greeting cards and a balloon rack and balloon pole for more impulse sales. We decorate our ad items of the week with occasion balloons to remind our customers of upcoming holidays and special days. We display balloons in our meat and produce departments to remind customers to pick up snacks for unexpected guests or parties. We have a theme each week to show we carry everything from Disney characters to Hannah Montana. During our busiest times—Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and graduations, Produce Manager Jon Piotrowski helps make sure we start our ordering for balloons a month ahead, and we carry double the amount of helium throughout those months.
Evelyn Ivory, floral designer
Stater Bros.; Perris, Calif.

In addition to a spinner rack for Mylars, we display balloons at the checkout lanes in multiples in a pyramid style. Each grouping has a color scheme. We also have helium and stick balloons in our bakery department, the inner aisles of the store, the card aisle and the frozen section with birthday cakes. I keep bouquets of Mylar and latex balloons with HI-FLOAT® made up for quick pick-ups. We add balloons to slow-moving giftware or plush and adjust the pricing. Balloons are an inexpensive way to add movement to a display, too. They also can fill negative space and add more interest, but they should not overpower the display. I use balloons to fill in a display that is selling down, and if I don’t have time for a reset to keep a display fresh, balloons are a quick fix to change the look.
Dianne Kozel, floral manager
Logli Supermarkets (Schnuck Markets); Rockford, Ill.

The floral department doesn’t have room to display balloons, so we direct shoppers to the customer service desk for them. An associate there loves to work with balloons and has the latex in glass cookie jars in a rainbowlike display. The Mylar balloons are in alphabetical order per occasion in a folder box under the counter. The sales associate finds out the occasion and then shows the customer one or two that best fit. This has been successful and leaves me time to work on other things. When the seasons change, I meet with the customer service associate to plan a display. An Easter bunny [a 71⁄2-foot-tall design made from latex balloons] we did last year attracted so much attention that we sold out of lilies and had to get more. I have attended several balloon training seminars and enjoy creating fun balloon designs, including balloon arches for birthday parties.
Juan M. Tracy ll, floral corporate manager
Broulims; Rexburg, Idaho

I use balloons every chance I get, especially with theme displays. They are like frosting on a cake—the finishing touch. We are fortunate to have designers/manufacturers who supply us with a large variety from which to choose to complete our displays. We have our balloon displays in the front of the store, close to the floral coolers, with some blown up. They help make a double sale with flowers that say “I Care” or “I Love You.” We just did an event in our store for our founders and used the sale Mylars grouped with latex balloons to match all of our signs. We also used latex balloons for a fun giveaway. We put numbers on them and spread them throughout the store. We called out numbers during the event, and customers standing at the numbered balloons won prizes. Balloons make people happy no matter what age they are.
Sandi Probst, floral manager/events coordinator
Lin’s Marketplace; St. George, Utah

Reach Contributing Editor Monica Humbard at (800) 355-8086.


Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.