never ... - Wholesale Florist _ Florist Supplier Association _WF_FSA_ by dandanhuanghuang


Dandelions Flowers & Gifts employs
consistent interactive marketing
to ensure top-of-mind awareness
in current and future customers.

                                                                 Shirley Lyons, AAF, owner of Dandelions Flowers

                                                                 & Gifts, receives the honor for “Outstanding
               fter 36 years in business, SHIRLEY LYONS, AAF,    Marketing and Promotions” in the “Retail Florist
               knows more than a few things about enticing       of the Year” contest, co-sponsored by Florists’
                                                                 Review and the Wholesale Florist & Florist
               customers to DANDELIONS FLOWERS & GIFTS, LLC      Supplier Association (WF&FSA), from the whole-
               in Eugene, Ore. Her assertive marketing to cor-   saler who nominated her shop, Dave Slonecker,
                                                                 of The Flower Market in Eugene, Ore.
porate clients, brides, sympathy customers, the media and the
next generation of flower buyers has helped Dandelions
become Eugene’s “readers’ choice” favorite florist, awarded by
local newspaper The Register-Guard. Mrs. Lyons’ savvy strate-
gies, detailed on the following pages, prompted the judges of
our 2010 “RETAIL FLORIST OF THE YEAR” contest to take note as
well. They earned the shop the award for “OUTSTANDING
MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS” in the contest, which is co-spon-

optimizing web presence
    Technology is one of Mrs. Lyons’ focuses in keeping her
business up to date. At press time, Dandelions’ main web-
site,, claimed the top position
in a Google search for “florist in Eugene.” Mrs. Lyons and
one of her daughters — a stay-at-home mom in Minnesota —
have worked diligently on search engine optimization
(SEO), constantly experimenting with key words to keep
this prime status.
    Dedicated websites for weddings and sympathy business, and www.eugenefuneral, feature designs pertaining to those occasions and
serve as helpful tools for brides and grieving families. And
their success can be found in the numbers. The wedding web-
site was launched in mid-2008, and the number of weddings                                                       In addition to its main website,
                                                                                                                Dandelions Flowers & Gifts has
Dandelions booked later that year grew by 17 percent. And the                                                   launched websites targeted to
number of weddings in 2009 increased 29 percent over 2008,                                                      wedding and sympathy clientele:
with the website being the only new bridal marketing tool,                                                      and
Mrs. Lyons says.

WWW.FLORISTSREVIEW.COM      R   AUGUST 2010                                                                                                  43
                                                                                                                    at a glance
                                                                                    dandelions flowers & gifts, llc
                                                                                    OWNER: Shirley Lyons, AAF
                                                                                    LOCATION: Eugene, Ore.
                                                                                    ESTABLISHED: 1974
                                                                                    SHOP SIZE: 3,000 square feet in two buildings (main
                                                                                    building is 2,000 square feet and includes 1,200 square
                                                                                    feet for sales area with remainder design and office space)
                                                                                    CLIENTELE: middle-income consumers ages 25 to 55 years
                                                                                    old as well as corporate
                                                                                    AVERAGE SALE: $48
                                                                                    NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 20 (10 full time; 10 part time)
A direct-mail postcard for Administrative
  Professionals Week is addressed “To:
     The Boss” and features best-selling                                  , plus more than
   packages in a variety of price points.                                            60 additional domain names linked to the core website

                The shop also owns more than 60 other domain names,
            ranging from those that include “Eugene” and surrounding
            towns,       such      as       and
  , to those with various mis-
            spellings of the shop’s name. Each links directly to
  , hosted by GoDaddy.
                “It’s $10 a year or less to own each of those names,” Mrs.
            Lyons says. “I think any shop would do well to investigate the
            different kinds of things people might type in because if you       ABOVE  Dandelions offers employee discount
                                                                                cards to selected large corporate clients for their
            don’t buy them, you lose them.”                                     employee incentive packages. The cards are
                                                                                customized with both business's logos.
            attention to e-mail                                                 RIGHT Visiting corporate prospects is among the
                                                                                responsibilities of part-time employee Sharon
                Dandelions sends e-mail blasts two or three times per           Foster, the shop’s “marketing secret weapon.”
            month—more during peak holiday times—to capture cus-
            tomers’ attention. Many have compelling offers such as “Free       son, SHARON FOSTER, as its “marketing secret weapon.”
            delivery if ordered by ... ” or “Save $5 on your order” with           Mrs. Lyons explains that she looks at Ms. Foster’s salary not
            applied discount codes. E-mail also is used to market regular      as payroll but as part of Dandelions’ advertising and marketing
            specials such as Half-Off Friday Flowers—which applies to all      budget, which is 5 percent to 6 percent of annual sales. “She
            loose flower stems—as well as contests and giveaways.              is our walking advertisement,” she says.
                Each of these efforts has helped sales increase exponential-       When Ms. Foster visits a potential corporate client, she
            ly. Mrs. Lyons shares that the shop’s web sales grew 172 per-      takes a vase of flowers, featuring Dandelions’ signature bear
            cent from 2006 to 2009, and coupon redemption promotions           grass and beads, as well as an introductory letter citing ways
            grew a whopping 491 percent. Continued exposure often leads        flowers can improve the business and touting a few of
            to residual sales as well, regardless of the content of each e-    Dandelions’ offerings as well as its satisfaction guarantee. She
            mail promotion.                                                    also visits current clients. They, too, receive flowers, along with
                “Every time we bring someone over the threshold of our         a letter thanking them for choosing Dandelions and reiterating
            shop, we have an opportunity to win that customer,” Mrs.           that “we are committed to providing you the very best in qual-
            Lyons says. “Today, they might be looking for half-price flow-     ity and service.”
            ers, but tomorrow, they might need funeral flowers or a get-           One way Dandelions achieves loyalty from corporate
            well bouquet.”                                                     clients is by developing custom “menus” of their favorite
                                                                               designs, which can include the companies’ logo items, if
            corporate courtship                                                desired. Clients keep the menus on hand along with the
               Face-to-face marketing also is a key strategy, particularly     florist’s customized fax order form, which features check
            for Dandelions’ corporate segment, which accounts for              boxes for them to quickly and easily mark their preferences.
            approximately one-fourth of annual sales. Having an                Dandelions keeps a large alphabetized book containing each
            employee whose primary focus is marketing is one of the            business client’s design preferences, with recipes and color
            most effective ways to promote the business, says Mrs.             photos, for designers to reference when they receive orders.
            Lyons, who refers to the shop’s part-time outside salesper-        This ensures a consistent look to reflect each business’s

  44                                                                                                   WWW.FLORISTSREVIEW.COM         R   AUGUST 2010
                                                                                 best marketing practices
                                                                        • Outside salesperson who visits potential and current corporate
                                                                          clients as well as schools
                                                                        • Targeted wedding and sympathy websites (www.eugene
                                                                        • “Make It for Mom” free flower arranging event for children
                                                                          during Mother’s Day weekend
                                                                        • Corporate brochure, featuring a 15 percent off coupon,
                                                                          marketed to prospects via direct mail, in chamber of commerce
                                                                          marketing packets and via direct contact at business events, etc.
                                                                        • Annual corporate rebates for businesses that reach established
                                                                          benchmark purchase volumes
                                                                        • Custom design menus for corporate clients
                                                                        • Employee discount cards — offering 10 percent off all pur-
                                                                          chases except outgoing wire orders — for selected large corporate
                                                                          clients to use in their employee incentive packages
                                                                        • Direct-mail postcards for Administrative Professionals Week
                                                                          and National Boss Day featuring a variety of priced packages
                                                                        • Free rose coupons included in statements and used at events
                                                                        • E-mail campaigns two or three times each month, featuring
                                                                          compelling offers such as “Free delivery if ordered by ... ”
                                                                          or “Save $5 on your order” with applied discount codes
                                                                        • “Half-Off Fridays,” featuring 50 percent off all loose flower stems
                                                                        • Giveaways and promotions such as free arrangements, gift
                                                                          certificates, “Top Boss Award” and more
                                                                        • Birthday and anniversary reminder service
                           E-mail blasts and fliers delivered to ele-
                           mentary schools and child-care centers       • Frequent flower buyer cards
                           promote Dandelions’ annual “Make It for
                           Mom” event, which garners television
                                                                        • Partnerships with schools via scholarships, field trips, flowers
                           news coverage each year.                       donated for projects, job fair presentations, etc.

     image, regardless of who the designers are that day.                    which “people wrote in such compelling things about their
         As an additional incentive for corporate clients,                   bosses,” Mrs. Lyons says. “We took a framed certificate, a
     Dandelions offers an annual rebate based on the companies               bouquet of flowers, balloons and chocolates, and we sur-
     reaching preset benchmark purchase volumes. Though the                  prised the winner at his office.”
     program has some variables based on criteria such as stand-
     ing-order programs that may already include special pricing,            selling sympathy
     its basic structure follows.                                                Sympathy is another strong push, accounting for 18 percent
     • Level One, $1,000 annual sales, yields a 10 percent rebate            of Dandelions’ annual sales. In addition to its sympathy web-
     • Level Two, $2,500 annual sales, yields a 12 percent rebate            site and advertisements on the obituary page of the local news-
     • Level Three, $5,000 annual sales, yields a 15 percent rebate          paper, Mrs. Lyons and her staff work with funeral directors in
         Mrs. Lyons relates that the rebate program helps ensure that        a variety of ways. They provide books of sympathy designs for
     larger clients, who may have multiple locations, keep all their         the funeral homes and deliver flowers for their reception areas
     employees on the same page instead of losing each depart-               each week.
     ment or branch to another florist. Rebates are credited to                  “While we’re seeing sympathy trends change to more
     clients’ house accounts in the first quarter of the following year.     memorials and cremations than traditional services—and
         Dandelions promotes corporate “holidays” as well.                   certainly on the West Coast—there’s still a wonderful place
     Although Mrs. Lyons shares that direct mail has declined in             for flowers, so working on that relationship is critical,” Mrs.
     recent years due to the increase of Internet promotions, post-          Lyons explains. “We work with our funeral directors very
     cards have been particularly effective for Administrative               closely, and we get a lot of referrals. We also attend an annu-
     Professionals Week and National Boss Day. Mrs. Lyons notes              al staff meeting at one of the mortuaries. We take flower
     that she orders the postcards with black type on color card-            arrangements and talk about the value of flowers and how
     stock for cost savings. In addition, she points out that a bold         they can talk with the families.”
     color, such as lime-green, is not likely to get lost in the shuf-
     fle of office mail.                                                     focus on the future
         Last year, Dandelions sponsored its first contest to find             Marketing to children is important to the future of not only
     the “Top Boss” in Eugene, receiving about 20 entries in                 Dandelions, Mrs. Lyons says, but also the traditional retail flo-

46                                                                                               WWW.FLORISTSREVIEW.COM        R   AUGUST 2010
ral industry. “If we don’t stay in front of young
people, they won’t know what a florist is,” she
explains. “We have to think about how to keep
kids knowing what we do.”
    One way Dandelions achieves this is its
annual “Make It for Mom” event, in which chil-
dren can stop by to make a floral arrangement
the day before Mother’s Day. Adults who bring
children receive a $5 coupon to use in the
shop while they wait.
    Dandelions caters to high-school students
in several ways as well. Among the most
notable is providing a college scholarship,
each year since 1996, to one senior at the
school located near the shop. The scholarship
opportunity is posted in the community room
of the school, and each student submits an
essay about role models along with his or her
transcript and application form. Mrs. Lyons
works with the school’s guidance counselor to
select the winner. She also presents the $250
scholarship, along with a large flower bou-
quet, to its recipient during the school’s year-
end awards ceremony, in front of a captive
audience of students, teachers and approxi-
mately 500 parents, many of whom may be
thinking of ordering flowers for graduation
parties the following week. “You don’t get bet-
ter advertising than that,” Mrs. Lyons says.

alert the press
    Though she works hard to achieve it, Mrs.
Lyons credits much of her business’s success
to free publicity. She sends press releases to
local media for everything the shop does that
is noteworthy, including “Make It for Mom,”
“Top Boss Award” and other events and con-
tests. She also takes pictures of new designer
hires and sends them, along with a press
release, to the local newspaper for use in its
business section.
    “Always be ready to tell a story,” Mrs.
Lyons advises. “Media coverage extends your
marketing reach big time. Our goal is to be on
the news for every holiday with at least one
station and hopefully more. It doesn’t matter
how busy we are; we will be there.”
    This positive attitude is what keeps
the media — and customers — coming back
for more. I

Contact Kelsey Smith at
or (800) 367-4708.

WWW.FLORISTSREVIEW.COM          R   AUGUST 2010     47

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