How Florists Can Use Personas To Understand Their Customers And Increase Valentines Sales

How retail florists can use "personas" to help better understand their customers and increase sales & profits in their flowers shops this Valentine's Day.

How Florists Can Use Personas To Understand Their Customers And Increase Valentines Sales

When we prepare to sell a product it's easy to assume that the person we're selling to is just like us – they value the product the same way, they have a similar budget, etc.

Sometimes this leads to underselling – what Tim Huckabee calls "selling out of your own pocket". An example is a junior employee that might consider a $100 arrangement truly extravagant (and, on their salary, it is) underselling a wealthy customer that was prepared to pay much more.

Other times it leads to missed sales. The sad reality is that few people place as much value on flowers as florists – most civilians don't care about them nearly as much, and ignoring the fact will lead to missed sales.

Even if we try and look beyond ourselves it's easy to make the mistake of assuming there is one average customer that holds all the answers. This isn't god enough either – even in the most homogenous environments a single ""average" customer profile is unlikely to fit any of your real clients very well.

For our purposes a persona represents a group of typical customers. Maybe you are in a retirement community and deal with a lot of seniors. That becomes a persona, and you can then figure out what they want, how it needs to be priced, and how you are going to target them. No one radio station, newspaper or social media channel is likely to reach them all.

It starts by looking around and trying to determine who comes in your store. Some are likely commuters that pass by your store on a regular basis. Others are likely to be your local neighbors. What kind of different local neighbourhoods do you serve?

For example some of our clients are near big high schools or universities, making students and faculty two obvious personas they need to consider.

Students for example are an interesting group. Many will be on a budget. They are also likely to have different interests at Valentine's Day, especially high schools. For example – high school kids are often scared of a dozen roses. They want singles.

In the flower business we often assume that the buyer looking for a single roses is a cheapskate and run the other way, thinking there is no money to be made. High school kids like singles because a dozen is just too big a statement. They'll pay good money for a single rose, and your margin can be higher (much higher) than on a dozen. They're not trying to save money – they just want a single rose.

Now – how do you reach them? A shop once spent heavily on radio advertising because it was presented as a good deal. They later admitted that "good deal" meant cheap, and that it was considered the "old folks" radio station around town. This was another persona, one they had much luck with. The radio spots targeted this persona almost exclusively, and were not very effective.

Other shops do very well with seniors, and the most successful recognize differences. Seniors often have more time than money, and will choose to pick up their flowers rather than having them delivered.

This is a kind of hurdle, that can be used to lower prices to those that are less likely to pay full price. Rather than lose the sale completely, a florist can introduce hurdles that the buyer must jump over to qualify for a discounted (but still profitable) sale. By going to such lengths they prove that they are "price sensitive" and were unlikely to buy at the full price, meaning that the florist didn't leave any money on the table. Instead they saved a sale they would not have made otherwise.

One hurdle is pick-up over delivery. You can get even more specific by running sales during certain times. If for example you have a way of targeting seniors in your marketing you could discount in-store purchases made before say 4 PM Friday February 12. Who is available to pick up flowers during a weekday? People that don't work, and are likely to be more price sensitive.

The customer tracking and marketing features in FloristWare make all of this easier. You can organize customers according to their personas, and target them precisely with deals tailored to their situation.