How to Manage Flower Inventory
Perishable goods typically take precedence over other aspects of a floral shop, but it’s important to handle all inventory separately to set oneself up for success. Cut flowers need their own system as well as supplies, gifts, and administrative equipment like printer ink. Usually, there are multiple systems operating at once and that’s a good thing. Optimizing your flower shop really boils down to understanding seasonality, trends, previous sales, and supply chain. Here is what we hope to cover in this blog post:
What are the categories of supplies? Whether you use an excel spreadsheet or another management software, understanding the recurrent purchase periods will help you in the long run.
How to look into sales data from previous years. Ordering last-minute supplies can be detrimental to the flow of a business, especially during peak seasons. There is no guarantee that certain items will be in stock or that they will be delivered on time.
Where to stay up-to-date on the supply chain. Wholesalers are the link between growers, suppliers, freight, distributors, and florists. At any time of day, you can expect your wholesaler to be on the phone with or messaging these points of contact in the industry.
Social media. Most industries have teams dedicated to their social media engagement and metrics. When it comes to owning a flower shop or event company, it’s important to recognize your zone of genius (i.e. flower design) and outsource other tasks.
Depending on your space and what you hope to achieve, managing these aspects can be your biggest asset when it comes to shop efficiency.
Cut Flowers, Foliage, and Plants
Florists generally sell their flowers without much “shrink” as they call it in the industry. If it’s good enough to walk out the door with, it’s good enough to pay for, and there’s no need to give flowers away or toss them aside. Many florists even find a purpose for leftover, smaller stems. Tracking customer behavior and keeping the right amount of flowers on hand will greatly reduce any frustration or overflow. Ultimately, it depends on the size of your coolers and the movement of products in your store.
Houseplants are a hot trend right now that likely aren’t slowing down soon. Having the correct sunlight for certain varieties of plants will be necessary to keep them alive. General rule of thumb, south- and east- facing windows are best. For tropicals, make sure to mist them often and water them once a week. Succulents need plenty of light, and the hanging ones are perfect for window displays. Airplants are nice to have on hand as long as you remember to soak them once a week. Overall, plants make a great addition to the shop vibe and allow shoppers to peruse while you work on arrangements.
Vases, Planters, and Containers
Vases, specifically glass, will never be out of style. However, having too much stock of planters and more trendy containers can become obsolete. Some shops will simply create discounts post-season to promote a proper flow of products. Knowing which products to buy in bulk and which to sample-size is an important rule of thumb. For example, if you already know you will be buying a certain type of planter because it sold out last year, double your order this year. For the trendier pieces, pair down but still offer some.
Think about your space. When merchandising, try not to put everything out on the table (or shelf). Offer your products in a way that allows for breathing room and for customers to appreciate each item. Then we can get into back inventory: the room that customers never see, yet it’s always there…
Personally, back stock rooms are my favorite. They’re typically unorganized, myriads of mixed products that once held a special place in your heart (maybe still do). It’s where the magic lies dormant until you wake it up from its slumber. One surefire way of selling the backstock items is to host a “sale day” with old and new products to entice customers to move items. If you aren’t interested in marking down prices, try displaying older items in a new way — collections by color, shape, size, pattern can work well.
Gifts, Candies, and Cards
There are many times throughout the year to offer promotional gift baskets. Gifts for moms in the spring, gifts for teachers in June, and gifts for parents around the holidays (November-December). By creating little “collections” during these times, including gifts, cards, and candies, you help customers out by taking the guesswork out of giving.
After gathering items for your Mother’s Day basket, for example, take a simply styled photo (arrangement can be included) and start marketing it in April. You can even have a presale to make sure that all gift baskets will be spoken for during the rush. Some gift items for mom can include: candles, bath bombs, tea or coffee, chocolate candies, room diffuser sprays, a throw blanket, nail polish, and more! You know your customers better than anyone, so go with what they like.
Truth be told, software is an expensive investment for any business. Though most POS systems and invoicing methods are now digitally-based, having stationary items on hand can help when technology hiccups. Things like invoice pads, receipt paper, pens, markers, paper, and post-it notes are generally kept on hand. Luckily, most items can be purchased right away through Amazon, Target, Staples, or a similar supply store. Always remember to incorporate the total into your monthly and yearly budget.
“In business, the idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count like customer satisfaction and performance… you thrive on that.” — Bill Gates
Sundries like Ribbons, Wraps, Tissue Paper, Cellophane, Baskets, Oasis, Wires, and other Accessories
Most of the time, buying ahead of time grants shop owners a discount. Floral industry suppliers know the long game, meaning, they plan years in advance before a new product gets distributed to florists. On the other end of the spectrum, the consumer typically orders flowers on the day they need them (weddings excluded). So how does a flower shop owner manage all of these hardgoods? A lot of it comes from experience.
Map out your recipes and then order vases and foam for each in preparation of the upcoming season. It may seem time consuming, but it will save you in the long run and will be easier the more you practice. The more experienced florists have their seasonal buying down to a science. And with tools like Curate, HoneyBook, and ShopKeep, anyone can manage their sales year after year.
Knives. Bunch Cutters. Blade Flower Stem Cutter. Pruning Shears. Floral Cage. Floral Pillow. Flower Frog. Glue Guns. When you are just starting out, this may seem like a lot of equipment. A lot of these items can be purchased at your local wholesaler, especially in bulk, without even stepping foot inside (and are typically cheaper than Amazon).
Planning social content
Remembering to take pictures of your creations can feel overwhelming when all of your energy is spent for the day. Not only are you at the whim of last-minute buyers, but you are also expected to be up on the latest trends, flower availability, AND you have to market yourself to your clients! It’s basically like having multiple full-time jobs.
With all of the social media outlets out there, it’s much easier to pick a few and then grow from there. To double-down on your content creations, make sure that you cross-promote each post you publish. Meaning, when you create a post to Instagram, make sure to use those images across Pinterest and other social media platforms. Does it sound like too much? Keep reading.
One thing you can do is to outsource your social media efforts to a freelancer or someone on your staff. Another thing is to batch all of your content at once, say, take a ton of photos (or even have a photoshoot—though we know how expensive this can be!) and then dispense them throughout the month. Want to hire a photographer to take pictures of you and the staff for a couple hours? The more images you have, the better.
Overall, dialing in a flower shop is completely manageable, and you are likely already doing a great job. Whatever you are struggling with, we are here to help! Our goal is to make ordering supplies as simple and easy as possible.
Having a flower shop is a promising business. With a small amount of money to start, you can generate profit it that reaches up to million rupiah.
It is that way because people’s needs for flowers never ceases. The needs for flowers or flower arrangements vary from room decorating, wedding decoration, presents, to condolences or congratulating message.
Although the needs is continuously there, it does not make every flower shop can obtain such marvelous profit easily. Flower shop management, just as other retail shops, requires a consistent effort to grow them. Moreover, these day, flower shop faces a strict business competition. If you fail to survive, you will be wiped away.
Sounds scary, eh?
To avoid that, you can read these tips for optimizing your management so that your flower shop’s existence stands still and increase your profit.
Fun fact: Did you know that the oldest record of flowers and flower arrangement use is from the Ancient Egypt dated in 2500 B.C?
Manage Your Inventory Effectively
What you’re selling is fresh flower, which means you have to control your inventory as effective as possible. Do it routinely.
You must do the inventory control to make sure that you have an enough amount of fresh flower, plants, equipment, accessories, and literally everything you use in your production. It will prevent you to have stale flowers unused that cause you loss.
An automatic inventory control will help you do the inventory control. Because the needs of flowers often fluctuates, an inventory system can predict how much inventory you will need in specific time. Therefore, you won’t have to experience shortage during the peak times or the opposite.
When you own a vehement flower and accessories stocks, you don’t have to calculate it manually because everything is on the system.
An inventory system helps you control your cash flow and monitor which product delivers more profit and which that don’t.
Attract Your Customer and Make Them Come Back
You serve numbers of customers everyday? Good! Now, what you need to do is how to win their heart back again and again.
With customer relationship management (CRM) system, you can store your customers data in one database. You can use their personal data such as their birthday, family’s birthday, or their anniversary.
Those dates can help you recommend your customer what flowers or flower arrangements that they need. For example, you know that your customer’s wife birthday is on December. You can send them e-mail to recommend them the best flower types and color with particular meaning.
Moreover, you can send them a discount coupon a few days before their relatives’ birthday. You can also create a membership program with your own rule based on your customers’ purchase history.
Use a Sophisticated POS Software and Machine
Sometimes, when the demand of flower is on the peak, you and your employees is overwhelmed to record the purchase. With a sophisticated POS software and machine, you can do it much more easily.
A POS software allows you to do multi-payment option. The items in your POS can be customized, whether you want your product to be charged per flower or per bucket. It’s all up to you.
Furthermore, POS system integrates the other system such as the inventory, CRM, and accounting. You can also view whether certain flower is available or not and make a payment that automatically connects to buyer’s data.
Those are the three tips for optimizing flower shop management. By automating it you can save a lot of time and money, and also minimizing human-error. You can get your business condition in real-time and attain the best strategy for its growth.
Effective Ways to Simplify Inventory Management for Florist Businesses
It is a well-known fact that running and managing a florist business can be a daunting task. A professional florist needs to have in-depth knowledge about the flowers and the industry if he/she really wants to taste success for a long-term. The right combination of planning and management can take your florist business on the next level of success and profitability.
Since flowers belong to a category of products which have very short shelf-life, a florist business owner needs to regular and strong enough with his/her inventory management works.
Goods Order Inventory System Pro – an advanced cloud-based inventory management solution lists some of the top inventory management tips for a florist business.
Let’s take an example of rose, which has a number of varieties, colors and types. Similarly, there is a wide range of flowers available in the market. For a simplified and confusion-free inventory, create multiple product categories for the flowers. In this way, you can easily maintain inventory record for each and every flower type available in the stock.
Flowers look beautiful. Yes, they do! Add the image of flowers with the inventory records for easy recognition. Use your smartphone’s rear camera to capture and then add the image of flowers with its inventory records. This will also help you create a business brochure which can be used to grab big orders for parties and other occasions.
For a bouquet of flowers, single pieces or other collections, it is always advisable to assign a unique ID number, also known as SKU for easy stock management. You can use GOIS Pro for its advanced barcode scanning support. You don’t have to invest on any additional software or barcode scanning device. With GOIS Pro, you can use your smartphone’s rear camera for the barcode scanning process.
Know Customer Preference
When it comes to flowers, every buyer may have a different preference. Some may like red roses, and some more love white ones. This is why you need to keep a record of your customer with their buying preference as well. Goods Order Inventory System Pro support customer information management, which empowers you to record all customer information without any pain.
Perform Daily Audits
It is advisable to do a daily audit of all the order received and delivered, with matching them with the current stock. It is essential to check the status of each order and not delay them even a single day, since every flower order has a feeling associated. GOIS Pro features unique inventory control tools, which allows you to have a quick look onto daily sales, orders and current stock with an ease.
Goods Order Inventory System Pro for Florist Business
Goods Order Inventory System Pro or GOIS Pro is an innovation, which aims towards simplifying inventory/stock management practices followed by small and medium business enterprises, organizations and retail stores. GOIS Pro has various features, which make it a perfect inventory management solution for a florist business.
This is an advanced web and mobile based inventory tracking tool, which is compatible with all leading software and hardware platforms, including PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Users can download free GOIS Pro App from Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.
Challenges of Managing Inventory at your Florist Business
Expenses like marketing, designer flowers and extra inventory are halted during the lull in your year. When things get busy, the transition to ramp back up involves a surge of up-front cash flow to be prepared.
Building a sense of loyalty among part-time workers for your seasonal requirements is a necessity but a challenge. Plan ahead for your hiring process and find ways to manage your part-time staff efficiently.
Inventory Control Management
Storing excess inventory for an extended period of time is not the ideal environment for flowers. If you don’t manage your stock purchases you can’t just sell to a discounted retailer like other retail industries. Often, you lose that stock.
Managing your Stock
During the busy season, it is important to keep your flowers fresh. It is also essential to ensure that capital is not tied up unnecessarily. If anything happens in your production process, it can mean a big loss for your business.
Every florist should have a list of stock items that they keep new and handy so that production continues to run smoothly.
The quick list of stock items you should have at your florist business:
Exotic flowers and foliage
Artificial flowers and plants
Accessories such as chocolates, vases, teddies, champagne, and containers
Decorative accessories such as ribbons, wraps, baskets, wires, and various oasis’
Equipment such as scissors, knives, strings, pot tapes, etc.
Stationery items such as invoice pads, paper, ink cartridges, till rolls, markers etc.
florist making a sale
Successfully Managing your Inventory
Determine what you need
In a floral business, the stock fluctuates enormously during different seasons. For this reason, it is crucial to decide how much stock to store based on the size of your shop and the working capital you have. Therefore, a florist business owner needs to have sufficient inventory. The reasons for effective inventory control are:
To ensure that you have fresh flowers in stock that mirror the latest market and creative trends
To help track stock loss through damage or theft. Too much stock can be hard to track.
To understand which flowers are more popular during which season and which are not. This enables forecasts to be made for busy periods.
To ensure cash flow, that allows more money for peak seasons or special occasions.
To evaluate sales and conditions of stock, so that price reductions can be put in place.
Analyze Historical Sales Data
Forecasting demand is one of the biggest challenges during the busy season. You might be taking an informed guess at how many sales you expect to make within a given period. But why guess when there are various tools available to assist you. They can help with seasonal forecasting and assist in predicting basic sales or seasonal demands. You can analyze historical data and seasonal variations to identify problems that may affect the replenishment of perennial flowers throughout the year. Once you have this data, use it to set minimum stock levels and protect your cash flow.
Identify Seasonal Timelines and Demand
To plan for your busy seasons, you need to understand each season’s time period. This will be different depending on your location and will help you meet customer demands throughout the year. As these busy seasons are usually short, you can have the complete stock delivered in advance. Sometimes you can get a discount for ordering well in advance. By identifying your timelines, you can purchase the correct amount and type of inventory with little stress.
Categorize your Inventory by Season
Categorize inventory stock based on the life span of the flowers. This will help you differentiate the purely seasonal flowers from the perennial flowers that are usually sold year-round. For instance, the market for Begonia is year-long but demand spikes over certain holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year. Purely seasonal flowers like Acashia, Amaryllis, Carnation, Evergreens, Gerbera Daisies, Ginger, Helleborus, etc. are those found during winter and that attract less demand outside of that season. You should establish an effective inventory control process to avoid overstock of flowers as they have short shelf life.
Automate Order Fulfillment
Managing your inventory packing, tracking, and shipping during peak season can be challenging, as seasonal demand brings an influx of orders. You can implement an order management system to overcome such issues and ensure smooth fulfillment of tasks during holidays. Order management software will help you seamlessly manage back-end operations. The operations you can better manage are; inventory tracking, labeling the range of products and packing to avoid shipping errors.
Get the Right Tech
Most floral businesses uses an inventory or retail management platform. These sophisticated platforms offer tools such as; interactive point of sale, the ability to accept credit cards, personalized invoicing, loyalty programs, and inventory trends. Make sure you do proper research before deciding on an inventory control software. What you choose, will keep your stock organized and enable you to pack and ship products swiftly during busy seasons.
Inventory management software eliminates the inconvenience of manually managing your inventory whenever you make a sale. An effective inventory and order management system will be worth the investment for small retailers.
Use Capital to Keep Business Steady
As we mentioned earlier, there is a lot for a florist to do to successfully manage inventory. People will come back if your flowers are always fresh and on trend. However, if you are out of stock of the flowers they want or do not have fresh flowers for them to gift, you will see less and less business. You should instead, be growing your business! A lot of retail businesses opt for a partnership with a capital provider so that they can focus on saving for big projects. Use capital for inventory, expansion or to get that tech you know will help you meet the demand of your customer.