SAF Wednesday E-Brief
Apr. 16, 2014

New Prescription Discount Card Offers Savings for SAF Members
By Brian Gamberini

A new discount count, available for free to all SAF members, could help slash prices on prescription drugs by up to 85 percent. Members can download as many cards as they need.

Looking for a way to reduce costs and take better care of your family and employees?

SAF and Hortica Insurance and Employee Benefits have partnered to bring SAF members a new discount card that will help slash prices on most prescription drugs. The card is free, open to all SAF members, their families (it even covers pets!) and all staff. It will offer savings of between 10 percent and 85 percent off the cost of most medications at more than 60,000 participating pharmacies across the U.S.

“We understand how tough it is to struggle with increasingly high prescription costs,” said SAF CEO Peter J. Moran. “The well-being of our members is genuinely important to us, and we wanted to find a way to make sure they have the best options available to help their families and staff stay healthy.”

The card works whether you have health insurance or not. Members can click on rxpricequotes.com and see exactly what their medication costs at the nearest pharmacies. They can then use either their existing insurance or the discount card, and choose whichever offers the best deal. For those who don’t have insurance, the card can substantially reduce the price of many drugs.

The card is easy to use — members simply present it when getting a prescription filled and the discount is automatically applied. And it’s completely confidential between member and pharmacist.

Members can download as many cards as they need. Once printed, they can use the cards immediately. Or, members can call Med One Select at (866) 717-1471 and cards will be mailed to them.More

SAF Supports 2014 Small Business Summit
By Brian Gamberini

SAF members can join forces with Chamber Summit attendees to promote free enterprise policies, economic growth and a better environment for business. Register today.

If you attended Congressional Action Days (CAD) and just didn’t get enough of Washington, D.C., or if you want to talk with your members of Congress and learn from hundreds of other small-business owners, consider registering for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 10th Annual Small Business Summit, June 11 to June 13.

SAF is an event partner with the Chamber, helping to get the word about the Summit, which will unite small-business owners, managers and entrepreneurs from across the country. You’ll have the opportunity to learn, network, and discuss common legislative and management concerns.

You will also have access to the experience and perspective of hundreds of small-business owners facing the same challenges you face as you make lobbying visits and attend educational sessions. You’ll get the tools, strategies and best practices to compete successfully in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

About 800 business owners and Chamber executives are expected to travel to Capitol Hill to hear from business and policy experts and meet with their legislators. Confirmed speakers include Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell; Charlie Cook, a political analyst who will give a preview of the 2014 midterm elections; Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL and well-known entrepreneur; Susan O’Malley, the first female president of a professional sports franchise; and Jim Vandehei, the founder and CEO of Politico.More

Florists Make Chicken Chic and Fun for Prom
By Mary Westbrook
KFC partnered with Nanz & Kraft Florists in Louisville, Ky., to sell corsages that showcase fried chicken drumsticks resting on a bed of gypsophila.

In addition to flowers, colors and bling, some high school students who want to stand out at prom this year have another choice to make: Original Recipe, Extra Crispy or Kentucky Grilled.

In a lighthearted marketing campaign that’s quickly gained traction online, KFC has partnered with Nanz & Kraft Florists in Louisville, Ky., to sell corsages that showcase fried chicken drumsticks resting on a bed of gypsophila. The $20 corsage kits, available through Nanz & Kraft, come with a $5 KFC gift card so that teens can select their preferred style of chicken.

The fast food company kicked off the effort last week with an irreverent video showing a young woman reacting to the fried chicken corsage first with confusion and then delight. Later, the gal is shown eating the chicken during a romantic moment at the dance. After it was posted on YouTube (and promoted through social media, #HowDoyouKFC), the video garnered attention in the mainstream media and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook; among other high-profile outlets, USA Today, CNN and NBC’s Today Show ran stories.

By Tuesday, the video had more than 470,000 views on YouTube and Nanz & Kraft’s limited run of 100 corsages had sold out. (A second “batch” of 100 has since been made available.) More than half of the orders were shipped to customers outside of Louisville. Eddie Kraft said KFC, a longtime customer of Nanz & Kraft, initiated the idea, and the florist was more than happy to go along with it. “It sounded like a fun idea and it’s been exactly that,” Kraft said. “People have been chuckling about it.”

Most of the corsages have been ordered for “promposals” — the social media-fueled recent tradition of asking a date to the dance in a memorable, often semi-public way — rather than the dance, Kraft said. (You can see some of those here.) “A few have said something like, ‘I’m giving you fried chicken now because you love it, but we’ll have a nicer dinner [and a more traditional corsage] at prom,’” Kraft said. “No one is substituting chicken entirely for flowers. They’re just having fun with it.”

So is the florist. David Kraft told a local business newspaper that the company’s website typically gets 500 to 600 hits per day; by Monday, it had seen 11,000 since the promotion began. Customers outside of the prom demo also were taking note: Eddie said they received at least one Mother’s Day request and had fielded a call from a couple who wanted to incorporate KFC brand elements into their wedding.

In Greenville, S.C., Debi Bush of Expressions Unlimited thought the KFC video was a hoot, but she also saw an opportunity to get in on the buzz. “The girl got the fried chicken corsage but the guy had the traditional boutonniere — she’s nibbling away and he’s got nothing,” she said, with a laugh. “I thought, ‘that’s gender bias!’ They need matching pieces.”

Within a few hours, she’d created her own Chicken McNugget boutonniere (a 1.5-inch wooden pick sits in the center of the design and the shop includes a coupon for the nuggets.) At press time, the shop hadn’t sold any boutonnieres, but Bush said they’re getting “tons” of calls, and getting positive feedback online and throughout their community, thanks to several news stories locally and on national outlets such as CNN. (Unlike Nanz & Kraft and its agreement with KFC, Expressions Unlimited doesn’t have a partnership with McDonald’s.)

“As soon as we had it ready, we tweeted it out to our local news station, stuck it on Facebook,” Bush said. “Every business owner dreams of that 15 minutes of fame, going viral. I never thought ours would come from a McNugget. We couldn’t pay for this kind of coverage.”

Like the Krafts, Bush said the lighthearted approach appealed to her, especially for prom. “Kids get so wrapped up in the details,” she said. “They have to have the right dress, the right shoes, the exact shade of blue. This is about fun. If having a nugget helps get a nervous kid in my shop for his first important flower purchase, so be it. I’m happy if it puts them at ease.”More

Three Ways to Get the Most out of Criticism
By Katie Hendrick


To make your shop the best it can be, you should solicit critiques from your customers and implement their feedback — even if it stings a little. Jessica Stillman, a writer for Inc., likens criticism to childhood chickenpox: “Sure, getting it is often pretty unpleasant, but sitting through the experience and building up immunity to the issues raised by improving your product, website, marketing materials, or even that important email can save you from coming down with much more serious issues down the road when it really counts,” she writes.

Here are a few ways to minimize the pain, while maximizing the payoff of asking for brutally honest opinions:

Read the full article here.More

Social Media Engagement Secrets
By Katie Hendrick

Sharing your personal recommendations or favorite products is an easy way to engage with fans on social media.

Engaging customers on social media requires frequent posts, but doing so can cause your “idea well” to dry up from time to time.

When you’re not feeling especially social (or creative), refer to this handy list below, courtesy of Kim Garst, CEO of marketing firm Boom! Social, whose expertise has been featured by Forbes, CBS News, Fox News, BusinessWeekly, the Huffington Post and Social Media Examiner:

Find even more ideas here.More

Eight Care and Handling Proverbs That are All Wrong
By Katie Hendrick
If your inner Martha Stewart ever had you thinking you could replicate soda, alcohol, bleach or pennies, suppress the inclination.

“These products do not offer the proper balance of chemicals needed to adjust pH, promote water absorption and control microbes,” said Terril A. Nell, Ph.D., AAF, professor emeritus at the University of Florida and a postharvest consultant to the floral industry. “Rely on scientific hydration and flower food products, and save your distilled spirits for happy hour!”

In this month’s Floral Management, Nell addresses eight common myths when it comes to care and handling, such as cutting stems at an angle to increase water absorption or using hot water to extend vase life, that are totally bogus.

Get the facts straight by reading “Sorting Science from Fiction.”More

5 Must-Know Tips for Creating the Ultimate Sales Proposal
By Marc Wayshak
So many salespeople are losing sales or selling at a low price, not because they were ineffective in the sales meeting, but because their proposal was weak. By implementing an effective and proven proposal strategy, you can both increase the number of closed sales and the average sale size. Here are five tips to help you create that ultimate sales proposal.More

Online Easter Shoppers Plan to Spend More than Consumers Heading For Stores
Internet Retailer
The average Easter shopper planning to shop online will spend $225.64 on items related to the holiday this year — 64 percent more than the $137.46 average spend expected for all Easter shoppers, including those going to stores, a Shop.org survey says. In fact, online Easter shoppers will spend more on average in every category of goods, the survey says. Shop.org is the e-commerce arm of trade group the National Retail Federation. It surveyed 6,837 U.S. adults online from March 4-11 about their Easter shopping plans.More

Expect To See These Trends At Weddings This Year
InTheCapital
TheKnot.com released a few surveys and trend reports ahead of the 2014 wedding season. It's already common for brides-to-be to plan their weddings with apps, checklists, Pinterest boards and other virtual helpers, but what exactly are they "pinning" that's new? Here's a look at some of the top wedding trends for 2014, per theKnot.com's press release.More

Study Finds Retailers Shifting Biggest Share of Marketing Budgets to Mobile
Retail Customer Experience
The number of retailers who expect mobile to be their top marketing priority will more than quadruple over the next five years, according to a new study by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. In Q4 of 2013, Yes Lifecycle Marketing surveyed 100 retail executives on their budget and technology priorities. The study found that just 3 percent of retail executives said mobile marketing received the largest percentage of their marketing budgets in 2013, but this number will jump to 13 percent by 2018. The study also found that the number of retailers using mobile POS is expected to triple by 2018. So far, one-quarter of retailers have implemented mobile POS (26 percent), with another 51 percent expecting to implement before 2018 in an effort to bring the in-store and mobile experience together.More

Generate Foot Traffic, Sales By Going Green
By Katie Hendrick


In honor of Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, why not institute a vase-recycling program at your shop? You’ll appeal to eco-conscious customers who appreciate your efforts to minimize your carbon footprint. You’ll lower your COGS by reusing containers you’ve already paid for. And you’ll generate in-store foot traffic, giving you the perfect opportunity to lock down some Mother’s Day sales.

Try this:

Want to know how other florists have scored with vase recycling programs? Click here.More

Mother's Day Webinar: Optimize Sales
By Katie Hendrick


Want bigger Mother’s Day orders and happier customers? Spend an hour online with Tim Huckabee to find out how real salespeople respond to his secret shopper calls during SAF’s next CSI: Flower Shop – LIVE, ONLINE! webinar.

The author of the popular column in Floral Management will share Mother’s Day calls and offer live commentary from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., Thursday, May 1. Receive practical tips to help your team optimize both the profit potential and customer satisfaction of every Mother’s Day sale. 

SAF members get a 40 percent registration fee discount. (Member price: $29.99. Non-Members: $49.99)

Click here to register.More