Enlighten Customers with Enhancements

Enlighten Customers with Enhancements

Your customers want new and unique items in your floral department, and your mangers want increased margins and greater sell through. How do you achieve this lofty goal?

Luckily, there is an easy way to achieve both these goals, in one lovely group of offerings. Enter the eclectic world of “enhanced bunches.”

By definition, an enhanced bunch is created by taking a straight consumer bunch, such as a 10-stem tulip bunch, and adding stems of filler flowers, greens or interesting botanicals. In the tulip example, eight to 12 stems of bear grass added to the bunch creates eye-catching personality that will entice consumers to grab the bunch. The wispy bear grass is almost shouting across the floral department, “Pick me, pick me,” to shoppers.

Bunches can be created at the farm where the flowers are grown or at store level, or you can upsell a customer a bunch of greens or filler flowers to make the look at home.

By enhancing the bunch, you add three key elements, which, in turn, allow you to charge a premium.

1. Visual interest: Whether a tall bunch of bear grass, a few stems of Israeli Ruscus or a handful of Matricaria (feverfew, chamomile daisy) stems, the addition of color, texture and line elevate the essence of the bunch.

2. Perceived Value: The addition of unusual foliages, botanicals and smaller flowers adds a sense of value that cannot be under estimated. This allows for an upcharge on the items, even when the additional elements may be inexpensive.

3. Seasonal Flexibility: An enhanced bunch lets you pivot to meet holiday needs. As an example, white lilies are a big traditional seller for Mother’s Day; however, add a couple stems of red Ilex (winterberry) and some Port Orford cedar, and you have an exceptional holiday offering.

According to J Schwanke, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, the “Flower Expert” and host of “Fun with Flowers and J” on uBloom.com, “Enhanced bunches are an opportunity to grab the customers’ attention with the addition of the unusual, colorful or creative. Enhanced bunches may show consumers something they’ve never seen before or, maybe, something they’ve seen only on social media.”

J highlighted two of his favorite enhancements: the new white sunflowers and white daisy Matricaria, both bred by Ball SB, are getting exciting reviews. Lourdes Reyes, from Ball SB, says, “The Matricaria is one of those flowers that makes us feel at home. The way it holds in the vase is so loose and free that it looks like it has just been picked from a backyard or garden. It is the perfect filler for a bouquet, and, for me, it is a true ‘happy flower.’ Many consumers also regard it as a ‘locally grown’ crop. That is why I like it so much!”

Rodi Groot, the mass-market sales manager at Sun Valley Floral Farms explains, “For Sun Valley, being able to give a seasonal flair to our year-round items, such as tulips, lilies and Irises, is one of our strengths. This fall, we are pairing Cotinus [smoke bush] with our Sonata [OT hybrid] lilies. These bunches are full of fall color and texture.”

Enlighten Customers with Enhancements
‘African Lady’ OT-hybrid lilies (Oriental-trumpet; Orienpet) paired with Cotinus (smoke bush).

Many enhanced bunches are focused on greens. Sarah Keefer, sales and marketing coordinator for Continental Floral Greens, says, “Utilizing consumer bunches of greens with consumer bunches of flowers is a great way to showcase great flowers and make a large, meaningful and, often, longer-lasting bouquet. Some of our favorite cut foliage options right now are variegated Pittosporum and Israeli Ruscus.”

The simple act of adding an additional botanical design element to any bunch will give a better overall flower experience to your customers. Check in with your flower suppliers to see what enhanced bunches they have ready for your store. n

Bill PrescottBy Bill Prescott
Bill Prescott is the marketing communications specialist for Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata, Calif. He has been a contributor to the Huffington Post and many other national publications. Reach him via email at bprescott@tsvg.com.