We were recently at the North Dakota State Florists' Association (NDSFA) annual convention in Minot ND. It was a great event, run by amazing volunteers and full of wonderful members. It was great to take part and meet them all, and also to sponsor Tim Huckabee of FloralStrategies at the event.
We also had several conversations with florists that are still using pen and paper to take orders – florists that have not yet transitioned to a POS system designed for retail florists, and it was a real eye-opener.
We used to have this conversation a lot more, but lately we're far more likely to encounter shops that have a POS system but don't like it.
If the shop has a wire service system we’re focussed mostly on how FloristWare was designed to make things better for the shop, not the wire service. Then we talk about the extra features and how much money it can save. When we’re talking to users of other independent POS systems it’s more about the extra reports and features, and a better support system to better help team. They’re different conversations but the same in that the customer already understands the benefits of a POS system for florists. They know what it can do for them and why they want it… they’re just looking for a better fit.
This weekend in Minot was different. For the first time in years we talked to a lot of shops that weren't yet using any POS system. People kept telling them they need to do it, but they still weren’t quite sure why.
Having those conversations reminded us about some of the most exciting aspects of switching from pen and paper to FloristWare, some of the biggest typical gains, the things that make the eyes of a new client really light up...
Save Time and Money (By Automating The Boring, Repetitive Tasks You Hate Anyway)
When a shop switches from pen and paper they are usually most impressed by the time and money they save – FloristWare streamlines and/or automates the boring, repetitive work they hated anyway.
The money saved might take the form of reduced payroll – no longer paying employees to do all that repetitive work. Owners and managers free up hours and hours every week giving them more time to do the things they enjoy (designing), or work on their business (instead of in their business).
The single biggest time savings with the thing florists do most: taking orders.
If the customer is already in FloristWare all of their previous recipients and addresses are already stored in the system, and any new addresses are instantly verified to avoid errors. Spending patterns, purchase history and recipient preferences are immediately available. The enclosure card is spell-checked, user-defined short forms save time (for example ‘ha’ instantly turns into “Happy Anniversary”). Credit card charges are processed instantly, with the click of a button. If the sale is charged to an account a detailed invoice is created at that moment. Attractive, customizable receipts and invoices can be emailed and/or faxed instantly. Order taking, the thing you do most often, should take less than half the time.
Increase Sales – More Sales
FloristWare includes powerful automated marketing features (discussed below) that get your customers to buy more often. Other features include a loyalty program (that rewards purchase frequency) and a fundraising feature that lets you partner with charities and non-profits to increase sales.
Increase Sales – Bigger Sales
Bigger order values are good for a flower shop – you make more money, your designers have more fun filling them, and the recipients will enjoy them more… making the customer want to do it more often. FloristWare includes features that help you increase average order values by showing you spending patterns (you don’t ever want to under-sell a customer) and encouraging an order process that is accepted by the industry as the best possible way to nudge order values up without alienating customers.
Increase Sales – Automated Marketing
FloristWare includes powerful marketing features. One is a tool for building lists of customers/recipients that meet certain criteria, and then sending an email to all of them – perfect for when you are having a sale or want to promote a floral holiday like Valentine's Day. A reminder service feature that lets you reach out and remind customers that you are standing by to help them out with the birthdays, anniversaries, etc. that you have stored in the system. And finally there is a “drip feed” marketing tool for reaching out to a different) segment of your customers each day, coaxing them to buy more frequently.
Improve Customer Service – Faster Service
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer that orders from you at least once a year. Wouldn’t you expect your details to be on file? Would you really want to have to recite that over the phone every single time you placed an order? The pizza place keeps track of that information and they’re selling $15 pizzas. Flowers are supposed to be a premium product – we need to be at least as good as the pizza man. FloristWare makes order taking faster and this is something your customers will appreciate.
Improve Customer Service – Better Enclosure Cards
Your spelling handwriting might be great, but can you be as sure about every single employee? FloristWare spell checks messages before printing beautiful enclosure cards. This is more important than you might realize – long after the flowers have died some recipients will still have the enclosure card as a keepsake. It is a key piece of your branding and it needs to look great so FloristWare lets you customize the look of your enclosure cards and adjust fonts, sizes and styles.
Improve Customer Service – Fewer Errors
FloristWare help you catch errors before they become major problems. First it catches many errors during data entry because of spell-checking, real time email and address validation, etc. Secondly FloristWare helps you enlist the customer by including all relevant order details on the receipt/invoice they receive immediately. Just ask them to take a quick look and confirm the spelling of names, date of delivery, etc. It makes for fewer mistakes and happier customers.
Improve Customer Service –Delivery Confirmations
Make your customers happy and cut down on “has my order been delivered yet?” phone calls with delivery confirmations – an email or text message telling them that their order was delivered at a specific time.
Improve Customer Service – Personalized Service
FloristWare allows even your newest employee to treat every customer like they have been dealing with them for years. By keeping track of spending patterns, purchase history and customer/recipient preferences FloristWare empowers your employees to give the kind of service that keeps customers coming back.
With FloristWare you don’t need to enter sales into QuickBooks (or equivalent) to get an invoice – it is created as the sale is being taken, and can be sent (emailed, faxed or printed) immediately.
Sending duplicate invoices and/or statements by email, fax or mail is also quick and easy – just the click of a button.
Most pen and paper shops enter all of their invoices once a month – a time consuming process, and an expensive one if you are paying a bookkeeper to do it!
No more adding up timesheets! FloristWare includes an employee time clock that keeps track of their hours worked and wages earned.
Sales Tax Reporting
Click a few buttons and get all the sales tax reporting information you need, including information on any exemptions. No more totalling up your receipt tapes at the end of the month!
Send your outgoing wire orders with just a click of a button. No longer will you have to find a filling florist and pass order details over the phone, or enter all of the order information (again!) into some kind of sending terminal
Incoming orders from many wire services flow right into FloristWare, which then automatically prints out the enclosure card, worksheet, etc.
FloristWare is compatible with the best and most popular providers of ecommerce websites for florist, allowing web orders to be passed directly into the system, and will then print the enclosure card, worksheet, etc.
Reduce Outside Costs (Bookkeepers/Accountants)
Much of the work you currently rely on bookkeepers and accountants to complete will be automated by FloristWare. If you bring in a bookkeeper or accountant for one day each week that should become about half a day each month after switching to FloristWare.
FloristWare includes reports that show you who sells the most, who produces the most, your busiest periods, etc. Your most productive designers need to be on the design bench when there are orders to be filled. Your best salespeople need to be on the phone when the phone is ringing. Knowing who is best for what job and when you need them can save you serious money.
FloristWare allows you to closely monitor employee performance. Knowing which employees are better at selling (shorter order-taking times, higher order values) is critical information that helps you make more money. You want these employees taking orders (not washing buckets) during your busy periods. You can also enlist them to help train your other employees, the ones recording smaller orders and taking longer to do it.
FloristWare has the most “granular” security in the industry. This allows you to strictly control what employees have access to which information. It prevents junior employees from seeing payroll or all your financial reporting, or from exporting all your customer data on their way to a new job with your competition.
The flower business still involves cash and that increases the risk of internal theft. The problem is so serious that many retailers and fast-food restaurants are no longer accepting cash as payment – just having cash in the store costs them so much in internal theft they’d rather lose those sales. FloristWare reduces the risk, with features designed to monitor and record this kind of activity. Although this can help help catch employees that are stealing from you it also provides such a strong deterrent the problem usually ceases to exist.
New FloristWare users are generally awestruck when they see the reports that are available. Information is power, and these reports give them power they have never had before to make informed decisions that will lower costs and increase profitability.
FloristWare enables live inventory monitoring and control, and period reconciliation become much easier.
That definitely isn't the complete list, but it contains a lot of the things that seem most magical to flower shops that are using a POS system specific to the industry, like FloristWare, for the first time.