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  • Mayhem? Madness? Must be Mother's Day!

    Mother's Day inspires love-hate feelings in even the most optimistic florist.

    After all, who doesn't love ringing up those extra holiday sales? And who doesn't dread the hard work, hustle, and bustle that are packed into several frantic pre-holiday days?

    If you think frantic is the way it has to be, think again. Make a few preparations now, and this Mother's Day can be more successful - and less stressful - than ever before.

    The Countdown

    When do you advertise for Mother's Day? If you said "the week before," you'll be getting started a little late.

    Business may boom as a result of last minute ads. However, all the work will hit during the day or two immediately before the holiday. You may find yourself short-staffed and under-supplied as you deal with the onslaught.

    While a last-minute promotion never hurts, you will miss potential customers who have already made their purchases by the time your ad runs.

    Spend some of your advertising dollars a week or two earlier, and you should be looking at a very different picture - especially if you provide some incentives.

    Offer something extra for the first 50 customers who return a coupon to your store. Or offer a percentage off orders placed before a certain date. Many customers will order early to get a bargain.

    Spread the Word

    Advertising needn't take place only in the newspaper or on the airwaves. Promote the idea of placing Mother's Day orders early to every walk-in and call-in customer.

    Don't be shy about encouraging a "sale on top of a sale." By mentioning the upcoming holiday, you'll be doing your customers - and yourself - a big favor. Remember to look for other methods of promotion, too. You may be able to grab some free coverage of your Mother's Day promotions from local newspapers and television stations.

    A quick call to the appropriate editor about your mother-child look-alike contest, early bird sale, or other unusual event may be all it takes to get some positive free press. Schedule your event far enough in advance so you can reap the benefits of early orders.

    Worth a Call

    Your best sources for Mother's Day orders are people who have purchased from you before. Look in last year's records to see who bought for Mother's Day. Have one or two of your employees call these customers.

    Make the sales calls a month before the holiday to give yourself the greatest lead-time. Adopt the attitude of providing a "friendly reminder" rather than pushing hard for the sale.

    One for the History Books

    While you've got the record books out, review last year's sales patterns to ensure this year's staffing and supplies will be sufficient.

    If this year's sales are ahead of last year's, plan on greater Mother's Day sales, too. If sales have been down, Mother's Day will probably end up being a little slower as well. Use historical data to schedule part-time designers and additional delivery drivers.

    Review last year's product and supply orders to help you estimate how much more or less to buy this holiday.

    The earlier you can encourage customers to order, the earlier you'll be able to finalize your own holiday plans and begin filling your Mother's Day orders.

    Not Just a Day

    Promoting Mother's Day as a week, rather than a one-day occasion, is another way to avoid some of the holiday pressure. When done correctly, it can even lead to greater Mother's Day sales.

    Why not, for example, encourage a weekday office delivery and a companion arrangement delivery to Mom's house? Or a small vase arrangement delivered each day for an entire week or one each month for a year? How about a corsage for your customer to bring when she meets Mom for lunch that Wednesday?

    Customers are always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to surprise and delight their mothers. Use your creativity to help them do so.

    Plan specials during Mother's Day Week to capture the business of last-minute (and too-late) customers.

    Keep your late-blooming ideas lighthearted. Design a post-Mother's Day special and dub it the "Oops Bouquet." Promote it in the papers the day of the holiday and on your store's exterior sign in the days following.

    All You Need Is…

    Mother's Day ought to be a time to focus on appreciating mothers instead of on hectic, last minute shopping for gifts.

    Take the pressure off your customers with reminders and incentives to order early. You'll get their goodwill, their orders, and the opportunity to serve them in a less-stressful manner.

    With a good plan of action, you might even find yourself loving Mother's Day again - for more than just the money it brings in.



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