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Rethinking supermarket rose promotion options

When a consumer thinks about buying flowers, the first thing that usually pops into their head are roses — the queen of all flowers. Roses are the blooms that make our Valentine holidays so profitable and roses are also responsible for making our everyday floral business thrive.

How do we promote the flower that consumers believe we hike up the prices on for Valentine’s Day, just because we can? We should provide our customers with quality roses and value whenever the opportunity arises, especially during the flush periods (the return crop that follows a holiday harvest).

Everyone knows that June is National Rose Month, but there aren’t enough roses grown for everyone to promote during June, so we should consider moving the promotion into the flush of July. Consumers want great deals, especially on quality product, and promoting during a flush benefits everyone. Growers are able to move their larger cut, retailers can offer better value and increase sales, and consumers get more bang for their buck.

We shouldn’t devalue roses by always promoting 40-centimeter or 50-centimeter (15-inch or 20-inch) lengths. The supermarket floral industry got a bad rap for having lesser quality flowers, so we need to do things differently in order to change consumer perception. Customers always want bigger and better product and rose growers offer many premium lengths, diverse colors and multiple varieties. Let’s take advantage of those beautiful, larger flowers and promote 60-centimeter or 70-centiimeter (24-inch or 27-inch) roses for the people who shop our stores. Perceived value, sheer size and beauty are reasons enough to promote a bigger rose.

Promotions are how we drive floral sales and attract customers. Hy-Vee has “The Million Stem Rose Sale” every year and it has tremendous success because its stores get behind it and giving 110 percent on sell through and creating consumer excitement. It has become one of their customers’ favorite promotions.

Marketing, social media, store décor, store sales contests and great products are how you promote, with the end result of selling more flowers. Quality, premium lengths and unusual colors are things consumers desire when they envision roses in their home or given as a gift. If we always strive to give the best to our customers, we will become their primary, trusted flower destination.

Bradley Gaines is director of floral for United Supermarkets/

Market Street in Lubbock, TX. He can be contacted at or 806/472-5844.