10 tips to modernize and revitalize sympathy salesbonus
grab-and-go holiday gifts

By Teresa P. Lanker

Do you want to build holiday gift sales?
Do you want to encourage impulse purchases among holiday shoppers?
Do you want to become known as the gift source for the hard-to-buy-for crowd?

Then plan now to establish a quick gift display with a selection of great gifts that are wrapped and ready to go.

The concept isn’t exactly new. Department stores, gift boutiques and candy shops have used the idea for years. Here’s all you have to do:
• Select a limited collection of unique and novel gift items that have universal appeal.
• Wrap all but one or two samples of each item.
• Create a display of the wrapped items en masse with samples open and available for customer consideration.

Among florists, this idea has great potential both by virtue of the unique product lines carried by many shops and also because florists have the skills to wrap the packages with great finesse. The special wrapping alone may be the selling point that causes shoppers to select gifts from you rather than other retailers.

Consider the following ideas to help your holiday gift business grow.

1. Choose wisely.
You need the right gifts. For the most part, your choices should be items that a broad spectrum of people could use or enjoy. It’s not likely that holiday shoppers will search for children’s gifts in a flower shop, so focus on great ideas for adults.

2. Seek novelty.
The gifts need to be new or novel variations on popular items from traditional gift categories. The gifts should also make sense in a flower shop setting, so categories such as clothing and kitchen gadgets are probably out.

3. Add on.
Choose both stand-alone and add-on gifts that can enhance traditional purchases of flowers (add on a vase), candles (add on a candleholder), plants (add on a novel pot accessory) and the like. Items that encourage future floral sales, such as window or lapel flower vessels, bulb-forcing vases or upscale gardening tools are great ideas as well.

4. Vary prices.
Be sure to represent a variety of price points. Offer a number of moderately priced options because most “grab-and-go” gifts are purchased for less personal gift-giving. Items with a low price but high perceived value are typically strong sellers.

5. Wrap with style.
Develop a signature wrap that is the same for each package, or give clusters of gifts their own personalities. Touches of artificial evergreens, seasonal berries and holiday accessories can give a “Godiva” look to gifts of all kinds. Be sure to develop simple peel-off labels for the back or bottom of each box so customers are assured the box contains the gift they desire. Start wrapping early (summer is not too soon), and add your package enhancements later.

6. Display your wares.
Designate a prime location at the front of your store or near the checkout for your “grab-and-go” display. Show each gift sample together with a mass of wrapped-and-ready products. Use strong colors, rich fabrics and holiday embellishments, as well as an effective sign, to grab attention and make the gifts glamorous. Show a series of related gifts stacked and tied into a tower to encourage buying up.

7. Market with meaning.
Incorporate your “grab-and-go” gift offerings into all of your holiday marketing strategies. Have your special display ready for your holiday open house. Mention your great selection of wrapped gifts in radio and print advertising. Offer an optional delivery service (for your usual fee) of items from your special gift display.

a dozen grab-and-go gift ideas

1. Holiday decorations such as snow globes or commemorative ornaments

2. Gifts for gardeners such as gardening books, tools, wind chimes and small statuary

3. Flower bulbs such as Narcissus and Amaryllis for winter forcing

4. Gourmet treats such as coffee or cocoa, decorative mugs, and charming chocolates

5. Special vases with contemporary styling, interconnected vessels or color-coordinated pairs

6. Candle accessories such as votive holders, candlesticks, candle snuffers and decorative matches or match holders

7. Aromatherapy products such as candles, stress-relief lotions and environmental CDs

8. Calendars and coffee table books featuring flora and fauna

9. Stationery and greeting-card sets with all-occasion themes

10. Photo frames in atypical sizes, shapes and styles

11. Executive gifts such as pen-and-pencil sets, desk caddies and novelty paperweights

12. Decorative bowls for fruit, shells, potpourri or mail


Teresa P. Lanker is assistant professor and chair for the Horticultural Technologies Division and coordinator of Floral Design and Marketing at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute. Contact her at lanker.2@osu.edu.



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