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  • How can we get customers to accept early deliveries for Mother's Day?

    Rocky Pollitz, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, CMG

    Rocky PollitzOne way is to make sure that when a customer calls, the salesperson says, "Many people are requesting that Mother's Day flowers be delivered during the week to their mother's place of work. Would you like that, or do you want to wait until the weekend and send them to her home?" Many people will pick up on the suggestion to have flowers delivered to the workplace.

    And that's appropriate, because so many mothers do work. Of course they like their coworkers to see that they have been remembered with flowers on Mother's Day. There's another benefit too: They can enjoy the flowers all week and then bring them home for the weekend, instead of getting them on Saturday or Sunday, then leaving them at home.

    Most customers will resist the idea of having the flowers delivered any earlier than Thursday or Friday, because they want to be absolutely sure the flowers will still be at their peak on Mother's Day itself. But sometimes, if you find out that the customer is giving another type of gift as well - or perhaps there are two or more floral gifts, from different children or from the grandchildren - then you can encourage delivery of at least one bouquet earlier in the week.

    One Day at a Time

    Customers may be more ready to think in terms of a Mother's Day Week than some florists are. We florists are very strongly accustomed to thinking of Mother's Day as just one day, a Sunday, and maybe that's the heritage of our industry. Mother's Day started in the early 1900s and gained strength during the '40s and '50s, an era when most mothers did not work. The tradition of that era was to honor Mother with a beautiful corsage, so that she could wear it to church and it would tell everyone in the community that her family dearly loved this mother.

    Because of women working today, we look at mothers differently and don't honor them in exactly the same way. Where florists used to make hundreds of corsages for Mother's Day, today we make very few, and often those are for families in particular ethnic groups where church plays a very important role in the community. But other customers, likewise, may want to honor their mothers in a public way, to let her fellow workers know how much their mother means to them.

    This trend of sending flowers to Mother at work is one that florists should encourage. Besides early delivery, it means that everyone in the workplace sees how beautiful the flowers are and what a wonderful gift they make.

    Fashionably Fresh

    Of course, that also means it's extra important for us to make sure the arrangement is as fresh and long-lasting as possible. Many florists are suggesting flowers arranged in water in glass vases, so that it's easier for Mother to keep the flowers fresh by changing the water daily. That's also in tune with what customers are seeing in the shelter magazines that dictate flower fashions - and the ones who order flowers sent to the workplace also tend to be those who are younger and most sensitive to design trends.

    There are a couple of other ways that florists can appeal to these fashion-conscious customers and also give them what all customers want most - longer-lasting bouquets. One is to include buds that are ready to open, especially on multi-flowered stems. Some florists want so much to send out nothing but "perfect" flowers that I have actually seen designers break off and throw away the closed buds on such a stem, not realizing that they are throwing away tomorrow's crop of open blossoms.

    Of course, don't forget to include care and handling instructions with Mom's bouquet and a packet of preservative. Remember, customers who buy for the big flower holidays are often the ones who buy flowers only once or twice a year. It's our chance to make a good impression and show them that when flowers are beautifully arranged and beautifully cared for, they are a gift as precious as jewels - just like Mom.



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