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Administrative Professionals Day: Stealth holiday for floral trade

While Administrative Professionals Day is not classified as a public holiday, there are 4 million administrative professionals in the United States alone, with a projected growth rate of 16 percent over the next eight years. As we in the floral industry are striving to add incremental sales growth to our organizations, Administrative Professionals Day may just be a sleeping giant.

Admittedly, this holiday comes with its set of challenges. As we’re all re-establishing our financial models and re-merchandising our stores from the twin cyclones of Valentine’s Day and Easter, Administrative Professionals Day seems to sneak up on us each year with unrealized sales and profits when we need them most.

Here are my tips for a successful Administrative Professionals Day.

Preemptive advertising

This is one holiday where a four-week-in-advance and repetitive advertising program is imperative, with the specific holiday date published in all ad materials.

• Starburst or block in your weekly circular.

• Advertising tile on your website.

• Store signage in your entrance, floral shop, card aisle, checkout lanes, etc.

• Balloon clusters in strategic locations, making sure there is a sign with the date nested into each cluster.

• Social media — use it to your sales advantage. Promote Administrative Professionals Day on your company’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

• Date, date, date — always post the date of April 23 on every ad publication.

Customer service

The floral team should be visible to the consumer and armed with a salesmanship attitude especially during inbound morning, lunch hour and outbound evening traffic. Since purchasing for Administrative Professionals Day is usually done in multiple gifts, personal service is the difference between a customer walking in or walking by.

Visual merchandising

You will likely experience an equal ratio of men and women purchasers who are buying for multiple assistants of either gender. The displays in your stores should reflect this specific mission.

• Have all displays locked and loaded by Friday, April 18. With this year’s calendar, you will be selling for Easter during this weekend as well, so there is little risk in making very large and full displays.

• Build display vignettes in key areas of traffic: floral shop, card aisle, check-lane entrance, wine section and deli-bakery.

• Include cross-merchandising elements in the display for one-stop shopping: mini card rack, balloons, vases, baked goods, gift cards and wine.

• Incorporate usable, value-added gifts in plants and floral arrangements: travel mugs, coffee mugs, books, magazines, pen sets, key chains and sticky notes.

• Offer a wide variety of price-points, with an assortment of low- to medium- priced items for the multi-purchasers.

• Load up the displays, remembering that many purchasers will be looking for multiple gifts at the same price point and the same visual value.  

Quality products

Unlike during other holidays, there is no need to limit yourself to a few main color combinations, so the product assortment is limitless. As an extra bonus, any unsold product can be easily converted to everyday selling after the holiday. Here are a few of my favorite product lines.

• Snack baskets, fruit baskets and spa baskets.

• Balloon clusters weighted with a usable gift — greeting card, keychain, cookies and cupcakes, soda and wine, pens, book, gift baskets and, of course, plants and flower arrangements.

• Desktop dish gardens, foliage plants, blooming plants, bonsai, orchids and miniature plants.

• Mix-and-match consumer bunches.

• Premade individually wrapped flowers.

• Multi price-point bouquets.

• Cut bulbs — tulips, daffodils and iris.

• Plenty of enclosure cards or a stack of pre-printed “Certificates of Appreciation” that the purchaser can fill out and add to the assistant’s gift.

With strategic planning, diligent service and a broad selection, this year’s sleeping giant can be awakened to an enormous sales increase and gigantic profits.

Cindy Hanauer, founder of Grand Central Floral, can be reached at cindy@grandcentralfloral.com or 1-844/MYFLORAL (693-5672), ext. 700.