feasting on flowers

A cornucopia of floral promotions ripe for Thanksgiving.
  by Teresa P. Lanker

     In many flower shops, Thanksgiving has become nearly an invisible holiday. However, by creating a couple of clever promotions focused on Thanksgiving traditions, you can spark flower sales. Here are 10 ideas to use as a springboard to create your own original holiday promotions.

1. A pair to share.
     Focus this feature on a traditional Thanksgiving gift such as a mum plant or fresh centerpiece. Entice customers with special pricing that encourages the purchase of “One for a gift and another for you.”

2. Discounts for donations.
     Offer selected Thanksgiving merchandise at discounted prices in exchange for donations to a local food drive. Incrementally increase the discount percentage based on the number of items donated by each customer.

3. Free with purchase.
     Reward customers who purchase fresh centerpieces above a specified dollar amount with free fresh flower napkin rings. Assemble them quickly and easily by hot-gluing flowers to floral tape rings or loops of aluminum wire. The pieces can be constructed at the point of sale or made in advance to coordinate with centerpieces on display.

4. Value combos.
     Combine merchandise to create desirable packages, such as wine and roses or a centerpiece and candlesticks. Price these sets so they are a better value when purchased together. Wrap them like gifts to increase perceived value as well as customer satisfaction.

5. Convertible centerpieces.
     Add value to the traditional centerpieces by using long-lasting foliages together with evergreens, cones and berries. Layer fall-colored flowers into the mix, and market the design as one that transitions from Thanksgiving to Christmas with the simple replacement or removal of the spent harvest blossoms.

6. 3-2-1 hostess bouquet.
     These cash-and-carry specials can be customized to each customer. Three types of flowers, two fillers and one foliage, gathered into a simple bouquet and tied with ribbon, makes an affordable hostess gift that’s easy to drop in a vase or pitcher.

7. Buy more, save more.
     Design fresh-flower posies for placement at each table setting, and price them so they become a better value as quantities are increased. Have a “kiddy table” option available as well, including novelties such as fresh flower cupcakes or ice-cream sundaes.

8. Food and flowers.
     Partner with a nearby bakery, deli, coffee shop or gourmet market to deliver gifts of food paired with flowers. Create a selection of holiday designs that incorporate beautifully packaged pastries, candies or dessert coffees, or stack boxed gourmet foods into a tower with a floral topper. Tuck a bud vase into each of your gift baskets before wrapping them, then pierce the packaging and add fresh flowers at the point of sale.

9. Thanks now, thanks later.
     Encourage corporate gift purchases with fresh flowers or gourmet baskets that have the added bonus of a gift certificate for a future purchase. Place each gift certificate in a decorative box or accessorized envelope. Provide a discount when the two items are purchased together.

10. Cornucopia kit.
     Sell the traditional horn-of-plenty as a centerpiece kit, with water tubes, preserved oak leaves and stems of fresh flowers. Provide simple instructions on how customers can fill the cornucopias with their own fresh fruit and tuck in tubed blossoms and foliage to create holiday centerpieces of their own design.

Teresa P. Lanker is assistant professor and coordinator of floral design and marketing at The Ohio State University ATI. Contact her at

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