When your department looks good, people notice. Impulse sales in supermarket floral departments relate directly to how well the displays and department are merchandised and maintained. But everybody knows that in the real world there are days that the floral department just doesn’t get the attention it should. As a result, the quality presentation that should attract customers is not there on a consistent basis. Such inconsistencies have a negative impact not only on impulse sales but on planned purchases, and they certainly contribute to the image problem facing supermarket floral departments.
Mass-market strategy may be part of the problem. Mass-marketers have worked hard to establish an image that includes not only freshness and quality, but also low prices, large selection, convenience and self-service. This may be working against them. Some customers may associate low price with inferior quality. Likewise, some customers may think a large selection only means more wilted and dried up plants, and more dead flowers in the cooler. As for self-service, if a customer does have a question, it’s not too impressive if the only person on hand is the produce clerk trimming lettuce.
Even though basically these are misconceptions, supermarkets need to correct them. Supermarkets can provide the same and sometimes better quality as retail florists and customers should be told that.
Supermarket floral buyers use the same suppliers available to the retail florist. In many instances, they buy directly from the source, so their product should be as fresh as anything available. In fact, many of the leading suppliers in the country, known for quality and consistency, supply only the mass-market. This means that in some cases, the quality of product sold to supermarkets is actually superior to that available to retail flower shops. Supermarkets all over the country are working harder to improve the image of their floral departments. Supermarket chains are increasing floral budgets to allow for more field supervision and store-level training. The industry finally has reached the level of sophistication necessary to capture the majority of floral purchases made in this country, but the big changes and improvements will not happen overnight.
Until the supermarket floral industry achieves these goals, putting on a “better face” for customers can sometimes be as simple as using schedules and checklists, and sticking to maintenance schedules. Establishing simple criteria that are strictly adhered to can make a tremendous difference in the day-to-day presentation of your floral department. A department with fresh product that is attractively merchandised on a consistent basis will draw more and more business, and will become known as the place to go for all floral purchases. Regular maintenance makes a big difference in the way your department looks and in your sales volume.