The BFA Skills Academy presented the second of its two taster sessions at Country Baskets Loughborough last night.
Both sessions (with the first taking place the previous evening at Country Baskets Birmingham) aimed to demonstrate to florists the benefits – in term of savings they could make and extra business they could bring in – of the Skills Academy programme.
The session was opened by Brian Wills-Pope, BFA vice president and retail director, who introduced the speakers including Paul Drabble, of CBG Consulting, Tim Teasel, of Florist Pro, and Marianne Cowdery, of Worldwide Florist Marketing (who delivered her talk via pre-recorded video as she could not be present).
Paul began by noting that the market for flowers – at £2.2bn – is the same size as that for chocolate, saying that the size of the market has not decreased, the issue is an increased number of competitors. He noted the importance of the “three Cs”: competitors, cost and customers and said that florists needed to be aware their product is one of many in the gifting category.
Paul then went on to outline some of the benefits the Skills Academy has already brought for BFA members – such as the link-up with Santander and Elavon Merchant Card services which entitles florists to, among other things, fee-free transactions, the ability to bank through the Post Office network and the opportunity to receive money from credit card transactions the following day rather than in three days.
In addition to the Santander/Elavon partnership, the BFA is also working with makeitcheaper.com – a comparison website which specialises in finding businesses better deals on their utilities and planning future tie-in deals covering asset leasing (vehicles, property, fixtures and fittings and IT).
Moving on from reducing costs, Paul also spoke about the Academy’s programme for boosting takings. He spoke about consumers’ desire for “interaction, knowledge and stimulation” in their shopping and the need for “experiential marketing”. He went on to discuss the opportunities presented by the rising number of retirement homes and the increasing popularity of farm shops and seasonal fruit and veg box delivery schemes as possible outlets for florists’ products.
To find out more about the BFA Skills Academy, visit the BFA’s web site here.