For several years SAF (the Society Of American Florists) held an annual event they called Retail Growth Solutions. In some ways it was a more accessible version of their Annual Convention – shorter in length, typically held in the spring at more modest properties, and focussed exclusively on the retail side of the flower business.
Retail Growth Solutions Format
Growth Solutions format was typically a two day event, usually held at a hotel near a major airport. There would be some sessions and a dinner on the first day/evening, and then more sessions and breakfast or lunch the following day. There was only ever one session at a time, which usually a keynote presentation from someone like retail expert Jim Dion, other presentations from industry experts, and often a panel discussion of a timely topic. Floral industry vendors would be able to exhibit at tables around the perimeter of the room.
It was this smaller scale that made it more accessible than the Annual Convention. It was only two days (one night) instead of four, and the venues were more affordable and easier to get to.
Retail Growth Solutions 2012
The 2012 event took place in Cherry Hill NJ on June 19 and 20th. FloristWare exhibited in the trade show and there were excellent sessions including a panel discussion featuring three of the leading providers of ecommerce websites for florists.
Retail Growth Solutions 2013
The 2013 event took place June 11 & 12 in St. Louis MO) included several excellent session of sessions including...
CSI: Flower Shop — Live! with Tim Huckabee of Floral Strategies
Tim is Floral Management magazine’s favorite columnist and this session is a crowd favorite whenever it is presented. In this session he posed as a typical retail flower buyer and called flower shops around the country to place an order. Attendees heard each conversation and then helped Tim dissect the good, bad and ugly of each call. It was fun, surprising, and everyone learned things that they could put into practice as soon as they returned to their shops.
A list of best practices when talking to a customer
What you should never say when taking an order
Commonly missed opportunities to increase the size of the sale
How to communicate clearly and ensurecustomer satisfaction
A ‘Crazy’ Compensation Plan That Works with Manny Gonzales of Tiger Lily Florist
Manny shared a new approach to compensation and training that kept Tiger Lily Florist growing in spite of the recession and would eventually see the shop doing more wedding business with fewer salespeople. He explained the thinking behind the change and how his Charleston, S.C. shop made the transition.
How florists fall into the “good employee trap” and why they need to escape
How to get every member of your staff thinking (and working) like they own the business
Steps to set up incentive-based compensation and bring your team on board
Retail Growth Solutions 2014
Retail Growth Solutions 2015
The 2016 event took place in Hartford CT. Some of the highlights included...
The On-Demand Economy: Mobile Customers Want it Now — Are You Ready?Jim Dion, Dionco, Inc.
Global smartphone use is expected to exceed 2 billion this year. By 2016, mobile purchases will account for 25 percent of all retail e-commerce sales. The message for retailers is clear: Engage customers through their mobile devices — or risk losing their business! Join acclaimed retail strategist and trainer Jim Dion as he examines three key elements of mobile strategy — Mobile Marketing, Mobile Commerce and Mobile Operations — and explains how other companies successfully implemented their mobile strategies. He’ll also discuss how customers of the future will shop and how that will change the look of retailing.
• What a mobile-ready business (really) looks like
• How the mobile market is changing the way you market
• What the customer of the future will expect from your shop
Later, in a follow-up session, Jim will hone in on opportunities for florists during this interactive follow-up session. This is your chance to ask questions, explore ideas and brainstorm with fellow attendees.
RSVP to Profitable PartiesSpeaker: Tim Farrell, AAF, AIFD, PFCI*, Farrell's Florist
You’re all about making event customers happy … but make sure the profit puts a smile on your face, too. Find out why hidden costs often go unrealized in florists’ party and wedding pricing structures — and how to recapture them for added profit — during this eye-opening presentation by Tim Farrell, AAF, AIFD, PFCI. The renowned floral designer will walk you through the philosophy behind his highly successful event business and explain the smart marketing, sales and production tactics that assure satisfied customers and a more than satisfying bottom line. You’ll see examples of high-impact designs and find out how to produce them cost-effectively.
Learn how to:
• Assess true labor costs and realize them when you make the sale
• Create the big look customers love, with less time and effort
* If you have ever been curious about what all those initials like AIFD, CFF, CFFD, PFCI, etc. mean check out our complete guide to designations and post-nominals in the floral industry.
E-commerce 2.0 and BeyondSpeaker: Renato Sogueco, SAF
E-commerce used to be a simple process of taking credit cards securely through your website. Today, it’s a complex maze of customer interactions happening via social media, pay-per-click ads, videos, review sites and more. It has expanded beyond desktop monitors and moved with astounding speed to engulf mobile devices such as Smartphones, tablets and even HDTV. Renato Sogueco, SAF’s chief information officer, explains the elements of effective e-commerce strategy and how they work together to drive traffic and sales.
Learn how to:
• Make the most of inbound marketing tools such as social media, blogs, references, websites, e-mail, print and online ads and videos
• Convert inbound traffic into sales – calls to action, freebies, landing pages and more
• Measure response and use analytics to fine-tune results
CSI: Flower Shop — Live!Speaker: Tim Huckabee, Floral Strategies, LLC
Be a fly on the wall as sales expert Tim Huckabee poses as a consumer and calls flower shops around the country to place orders. You’ll hear each conversation — LIVE! —and help Tim dissect the good, bad and ugly of each call.
• Best practices when talking to a customer — and what NOT to say when taking an order
• Commonly missed opportunities to increase the size of the sale
• How to communicate clearly and ensurecustomer satisfaction
Treasure Hunt: Finding Your Hidden ProfitsSpeaker: Derrick P. Myers, CPA, CFP, PFCI
Even the most resourceful and bottom-line oriented retailers likely have a goldmine of unrealized profit— buried in their costs. Retail floral financial analyst Derrick Myers, CPA, CFP, PFCI, brings his famously entertaining and easy-to-digest presentation style to a topic that most retailers love to hate: cutting costs. Derrick walks attendees deep inside the six main cost centers of a flower shop for an eye-opening look at cost of goods sold, labor, delivery, occupancy, marketing and wire service business.
• How to understand — and use — formulas and worksheets to improve your profit
• Time-tested cost control techniques used by hundreds of profitable florists
• The most common — and detrimental — black holes of lost profits in every business
Future Of SAF Retail Growth Solutions
2015 would be the last year for Retail Growth Solutions. In 2016 SAF introduced an all new format, the SAF 1-Day Profit Blast.
If Growth Solutions was like a mini version of the SAF Annual Convention (two days instead of four) the new Profit Blast was like the micro version – just one day of four sessions. But instead of having just one Growth Solutions event each year SAF would frequently present four Profit Blasts. This was the goal – to take floral industry education to more shops.
The Retail Growth Solutions format was great and FloristWare was very fortunate to take part over the years. But it was born of the realization that fewer and fewer flower shop owners could take a week away to spend at the SAF Annual Convention. And as time moved on it likely became clear that fewer and fewer shops could take a long weekend off to travel to and participate in the Growth Solutions format. The idea behind the 1-Day Profit Blast – taking education right to more florists in their own towns – was a good one.