Florists face many challenges. But perhaps the biggest challenge you face as a florist is buying wholesale flowers.
The most important part of your business is making sure your coolers are stocked with fresh flowers every day. While keeping your shop stocked with flowers seems simple enough, if you don’t develop a routine, you risk losing business. It is not an overstatement to say that everything depends on how you buy flowers.
So how do the pros do it?
Checkout these 10 tips to help you buy flowers like a pro:
1. Only buy from a reputable seller.
How do you choose the right wholesale flower supplier? Look for a seller with experienced staff. At FMI Farms, our staff are some of the most qualified floral experts in the industry with over a decade of experience. At the very least, make sure your vendor prioritizes two things: getting you the freshest possible flowers on time and giving you the best possible customer service experience. Ask other florists, join an online florist community, or take a look at Yelp reviews to find the right seller for you.
2. Check invoices.
Once your order arrives, make sure you have received everything you paid for. Mistakes happen! Communication with vendors is key. Always let them know if a shipment is not up to your standards. Developing a solid relationship with your wholesale partner will help you stand out above other shops. Also, check to make sure that you are paying reasonable prices for your flowers and other supplies. Talk to other florists. Facebook is another great way to stay in touch with other florists, offer each other free advice, and discuss the industry candidly.
3. Check the condition of your shipment as soon as you receive it.
Besides checking to see that your shipment contains the right varieties in the right quantities, you should also check the condition of your shipment ASAP. If there are any concerns, you don’t want to wait to contact your supplier. Inspect your delivery as soon as you receive it and instruct your staff to do the same.
4. Consider what your customers want.
Sure, you can influence your customers by putting certain varieties on sale and using smart marketing tactics. But most of the time, your customers’ preferences will drive the products you supply. It’s hard to predict what will sell, but keeping close track of inventory for a few months will give you some idea of the patterns of demand. Keep notes on sales, prices, and even weather.
You can also follow the trends to help you stay ahead of the curve. Read the latest design and wedding blogs. Your flower wholesaler can provide good advice as well. Working with many florists, wholesalers often have a broader perspective on the flower market, so they are in a good position to predict market trends.
5. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
Of course, it’s a good idea to stock favorites and best sellers. Someone is always looking for roses, for example. But your regulars will appreciate seeing some pleasantly surprising varieties from time to time too. Who knows? You might even become a trend setter if you play your cards right.
6. Think ahead and order early.
This is the best way to ensure that you get the flowers you need when you need them. After some time, you may be able to set up recurring orders, once you have a handle on what your customers are most likely to buy on a week-to-week basis. FMI Farms has a convenient online tool for placing orders, our Webshop. Now you can place orders during off peak hours and avoid the rush.
7. Buy in bulk whenever it makes sense.
Buying in bulk saves you money and allows you to make the most profit on your regular price mark-ups. Many flower wholesalers run sales for bulk purchasing. Be sure to ask your supplier about special deals.
8. Know what you are paying and what you need to charge for your mark-ups.
Margins on some varieties can be small, while the margins on others are huge. So make sure you are diversifying your stock and charging the right prices to make a profit. Make sure that your staff knows what to expect too. And give your staff some flexibility in pricing, if it makes sense. Remember that what you gain in a positive customer service rating and customer loyalty is worth much more than digging in your heels over a few dollars.
9. Make sure to take proper care of your wholesale stock in your shop.
The last thing you want is for your beautiful flowers to wilt because you haven’t taken care of them. Follow these care tips to keep your inventory looking fresher longer. Don’t cut corners when it comes to this. Keeping your stock looking fresh means that you’ll sell more and your customers will be happier because their flowers will last longer when they get them home.
10. Follow your instincts.
When it comes to buying flowers, the most important tool you have at your disposal is your gut. As with buying anything, you know when the purchase feels right to you. Following trends, reading reviews, and talking to other florists will get you a long way. But at a certain point, too much obsessing over these things is detrimental. As long as you know your industry, you shouldn’t be afraid to trust your own instincts.
If you don’t think of buying flowers as an extension of taking pride in your work, it’s time to start thinking this way. Buying wholesale flowers is not just another to-do item to check off of your list. It’s the heart and soul of your floral business. Contact FMI Farms today and let our experts help you become a pro at buying flowers.