Five Fun Ways to Mingle With Your Customers This Fall
It’s easy to forget about the importance of networking when you’re busy managing the daily operations of a shop. Things get busy! Orders need to be placed, shipments need to be tracked, and staying one step ahead of the next holiday is a must. It’s no wonder shops neglect to rub elbows with their customers. But these are the people who support you regularly, so it’s important to show them a little love.
Successful businesses know that a customer might come for a product, but they’ll return for a positive, personal experience. This is especially true for the flower industry, where emotional celebrations and milestones are your bread and butter. There’s always room in your business to strengthen your connection with customers, so why not have some fun with them? Here are a few ways you can mingle with your customers this fall.
1. Host a customer appreciation day.
Everyone’s favourite flowers are “just because” flowers, so why not follow this thinking with a “just because” party? Promote the event a few weeks in advance, and pick a day (a Friday or Saturday, perhaps) to let your customers know you truly appreciate them! Order a cake, invite long-time customers¬ (even customers you haven’t heard from in a while), highlight a new variety of flower or a new workshop you’re offering, and share some memories of your favourite customer experiences on postcards or presentation boards around the shop. Serve small snacks, coffee, and tea and consider giving away a few prizes, small bouquets, or individual flowers to say thank you. This can be your opportunity to give back. Your customers won’t forget how appreciated you made them feel.
2. Offer a free pumpkin-carving workshop.
With Halloween just around the corner, get your customers excited for All Hallows’ Eve by hosting a pumpkin-carving or pumpkin-decorating workshop. Try incorporating festive elements into their designs, like vines, flowers, twigs, and apples. Think your group might feel the competitive spirit? Turn the end of the workshop into a contest and get attendees to vote for the most creative pumpkin. Winner gets a free bouquet! This can be an event for children and adults alike. Continue the fun by sending your customers home with the seeds, so they can bake them for a crunchy snack.
3. Serve a cup of something hot and have a chat.
When the months are getting colder, people love to warm up with a hot beverage. Try creating an extra welcoming space by setting up a thermos of lavender-infused hot chocolate, or teas made with flowers and seasonal spices like chamomile, jasmine, anise, or fennel. Grab a cup of something warm and spend some quality time with your customers. Turn on your active listening skills and see whether there’s something you can learn about an unaddressed want or need from your customer.
4. Host a florist-for-a-day contest.
Promote a contest where the winners get to become honourary florists at your shop for a day. Lots of people think running a flower shop is all roses, but you know there’s more to it than that. Let a few lucky customers get their hands dirty and peek behind the scenes while helping you run your busy shop. Your customers’ curiosity will be piqued, they’ll love this unique opportunity to try out a dream profession, and they’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the hard work you do.
5. Stir up your online community.
In-store events are excellent ways to engage your customers, but don’t neglect your online community. If you haven’t made an effort recently to mingle with your audience on social media and through email, now’s the time. Think creatively and strategically about how you can reach out. You can keep it simple and offer tips, news, and photos of your work or life at the shop Try planning a social media campaign around a new product or service you’re offering. If you’re already pretty proficient at social media, you could go deeper and present a series of video tutorials (see “The Social Florist,” p. 12 for more video advice). Whatever you post, remember to respond to your followers’ comments.