COVID-19 Preparation for Florists

Last updated April 2, 2020

With concerns over COVID-19 growing worldwide, florists are wondering what the impact will be on their business, and how to protect the health of their employees.

Here are just some of the changes we’ve made to support our florist partners, and please see this message from our co-founder, Joe Vega. 

We’ve also compiled a list of options and steps you can take to make sure your shop is prepared for a variety of possibilities:April 

Communicating with your customers and promoting Florist's Choice arrangements

Making sure your customers know that you’re there for them while working to help keep them safe is very important. 

  • Post your current plans on your public profiles, especially Facebook. Make your customers aware of the precautions your shop is taking, whether it’s:
    • Business as usual
    • Delivery-only until further notice
    • Encouraging website orders versus walk-ins 
    • Temporary suspension of deliveries
    • Temporary closure of Shop

  • Lovingly has made this easy for partners in a number of ways, including a Hello Bar at the top of every Lovingly florists’ site. This alerts customers that there may be substitutions, or delivery may be delayed due to COVID-19. This notification bar is sticky, meaning it will remain at the top of the user’s screen as they scroll. It also appears on every page of the our partners’ Shops, not just the homepage.

    Lovingly hero images for florists following COVID precautions

  • When a customer clicks on this Hello Bar notification, they’re taken to more information about how your particular shop is impacted.

    Lovingly's temporary modal gives the customer details about how a particular florist is impacted by COVID-29.

  • This modal also heavily promotes Florist’s Choice arrangements! When your site visitor clicks on Florist’s Choice to learn more, they’re quickly ushered to your Florist’s Choice product page.

    Lovingly heavily promotes Florist's Choice arrangements to leverage inventories impacted by COVID-19.

  • Florist’s Choice is also now being promoted on multiple areas of our partners’ sites, including carefully placed banners on the product pages and in the Occasions navigation menu.

    Lovingly promotes Florist's Choice arrangements in multiple locations of its florist partners' websites.

    Lovingly promotes Florist's Choice arrangements in its florists' Occasions navigation menu.

  • Update your website to reflect your current delivery and pick-up options.

  • If you’re a Lovingly Partner, you can update your Homepage Splash Image to let customers know if you are temporarily closed, or providing delivery services only.

    Lovingly Splash Hero images for florists following COVID-19 precautions

Staying safe

For those of you with family members with weakened immune systems, or just taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, here are some ideas. 

  • Consider holding wedding consultations or other customer appointments via Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangout.

  • Implement a temporary delivery policy to leave all deliveries at the door (after confirming the recipient is available to receive their gift). Lovingly has made this easy for our florist partners by introducing a digital No-Contact Delivery feature.  This allows any delivery driver to scan a QR code to notify the recipient that they’ve received a delivery.
  • Lovingly introduced a digital no-contact delivery feature for its florist partners' delivery drivers.

    Lovingly introduced a digital no-contact delivery feature for its florist partners' delivery drivers.

  • Call ahead to offices to make sure they are open, and double check policies for any deliveries to hospitals or senior centers.

  • Leave six feet between yourself and your customers.

  • Sanitize door knobs, counters, and other high-traffic locations regularly. Wash your hands for 20 seconds at a time, and refrain from shaking hands.

Step up social and email marketing

We’ve put together a pack of 9 social images for you to use, along with suggested post copy and inspiration for creating your own social posts. Feel free to grab and use any of these images here for your own social media promotion: 

Be posting on social media more often than usual, and no fewer than one post per day. Email market to your customers more than ever. Use messaging that reminds people that flowers promote healing and creating a true connection with others. Highlight a no-contact delivery option to assure potential customers that their loved ones will receive their floral gift safely. 

One great idea we’re seeing work well is promoting DIY kits for parents home with the kiddos. You can do this with succulents, flowers, rocks, or whatever your creativity calls for. Include a simple set of instructions on one page printed from any home printer. This helps to gain new customers, serve your existing ones, and it allows you to sell some of your container and flower inventory. Check out this adorable example from Crafty Morning:

Crafty Morning DIY Rock Garden

All out of vases to sell? Purchase them on the cheap from the local thrift stores also needing the support. 

 

Consider phone marketing

Call your past customers for recurring purchase opportunities (ie, customers who placed birthday orders last March or April with complimentary reminders to place their order now).

Create partnerships to clear out your cooler

Particularly for florists in CA and NY, where businesses have been mandated to temporarily shutter, try partnering with restaurants that are still able to deliver. Consider selling your leftover inventory for a fixed cost, and they can upsell their phone orders to help customers create a romantic evening in!

Coupons, promo codes, and deals

  • Make sure you’re using these to increase the likelihood of customer conversions. 
  • For those of you who don’t believe in discounting orders even in situations such as these, consider an “added value deal” like a free upgrade to premium size, using the messaging FREE SIZE UPGRADE.
  • Offer 2 for 1 orders, especially if you’re well-stocked on a specific flower. 
  • Create a sense of urgency by using the language “Coupon expires XX/XX/XXXX” with a date no later than a few days in the future. 

Hospitals and health facilities

  • Be proactive in contacting hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab facilities to find out what their current delivery procedures are. If you’ve implemented a “no-contact delivery” policy, communicate this with the facility and request access to a loading dock, lobby or any other spot that workers easily scoop them up on their way into the building.

  • If these facilities still won’t accept deliveries, leverage these restrictions by marketing to your customers.  Hospitals and insurance companies are trying to turn over beds as soon as possible, so stress the importance of having flowers waiting for patients at home as they’re released.

Retrain staff to upsell

If you’re experiencing a 40-50% decrease in call volume, every order matters all that much more. Take this time to retrain your sales staff on making the most of every call by increasing average order value. 

  • Sell from High to Low. Craft your messages on phone calls, social media, email marketing, and signage to always promote Premium size first. 

  • Recommend a way to personalize the gift, such as a box of chocolates or a plush bear.

Weddings

Now is the perfect time to market aggressively to summer brides. Many are probably homebound and working on their wedding planning now more than ever. Just be sure to go over your contracts with a fine-tooth comb. Be careful with your language and protect yourself in the case that these pandemic precautions go into the summer.

Preparing for business impacts

With rules being put in place for large gatherings, weddings and proms are being affected. 

  • Before ordering any additional supplies, confirm that the event you’re planning for is still scheduled to occur.

  • If an event like a school prom has been postponed, plan to reach back out in a few weeks to get the updated details so you’re not caught unprepared.

  • If you’re a Lovingly Partner, you can use Lovingly Exclusive (Limited Inventory) to sell only florist’s choice arrangements on your website for up to 3 days at a time if you do experience flower supply problems.

  • If you end up with downtime, use it to take stock of your online business presence. Make sure social media profiles, online listings, and local information is correct and your address and phone number match across all websites. 

Contacting Wholesalers and Suppliers

Check in with your primary wholesaler to see if they are aware of any product delays or shortages. 

We’re also maintaining a list of wholesalers that are open and able to ship flowers directly to you.

What’s your business doing to cope? Let us know, or join our Facebook group discussion to share your additional tips and suggestions with the florist community of Momentmakers!

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