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Do we need flowers? Let’s hold off on that question for a minute. I know we need food and water, shelter and love, and the sun above — but flowers? As the economy ebbs and flows, elections are won and lost, our industry sits on the sidelines, watches and waits.

TEMKIN912-NOAM-TEMKINNoam TemkinLet me pose some other questions: Do we need diamonds? Pets? Ice cream? The answer to all these is easy: Yes, we do. Putting our basic survival aside for a moment, all the things I mentioned above are either steeped in tradition, show your love or just plain make you feel good. All things you and I need.

Now, the people who currently buy flowers on a regular basis get this and they will continue to buy flowers. Great. How do we get more people to buy into what our current consumers already know?

Let’s do what the other successful industries have done — inspire. Here are three ways to inspire sales.

First, inspire celebrations through targeted promos to your specific demographics. You all know who walks through the front door of your store. Consumers want to feel a connection to the products they are purchasing. Use region-based promotions, local sports teams and second-tier holidays to make that connection.

Second, inspire action through cause-associated marketing. Almost three-fourths of those surveyed in a recent shopper engagement survey indicated they are more likely to pay attention to a company’s message when they see that they have a deep commitment to a cause. Also nearly nine out of 10 millennials (25 and younger), stated that they are likely or very likely to switch from one brand to another if it is associated with a good cause.

Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns are now prevalent throughout our industry and that’s a good thing. These campaigns have proven that there is an increase in sales when you pair good product with a good cause. We are just scratching the surface, though. The American Red Cross, Autism Speaks, ASPCA, Teach for America and Wounded Warrior projects are just a few of the hundreds of worthy causes that we can team up with.

Third, inspire awareness by providing relevant information about your products. Tell a story and educate. Tell where the product was grown and by whom; the history of the rose, for example; were sustainable practices used, etc. The more your customers know, the more confident they will be making that purchase.

The best way to inspire awareness is through smart packaging and signage. In fact, more than three-fourths of shoppers’ choices are based on attractive packaging and appearance, according to csrwire.com. This must be a concerted effort combining the power of the retailers with the know-how of suppliers. When you combine these two elements, add vision and tenacity, and you will see that a whole lot more people will need flowers.

Noam Temkin is vice president of sales & marketing at Temkin International Inc. in Payson, UT. He can be reached by phone at 801/465-1300, Ext. 307, or via email at noam@temkininternational.com.