Elevate your product displays with these modern and sales-enticing techniques

By Tonneli Grüetter

Native Poppy-South Park
Native Poppy
Native Poppy Store
Native Poppy

Feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to keep one’s shop fresh and exciting for in-person shoppers is a challenge every florist has felt at some point in their small-business journey, but have you ever wondered how destination flower shops keep their displays looking so pretty? In this feature, we’ll unlock the secrets to achieve your best in-person shopping experience by chatting with West Coast rising star Natalie Gill, founder of Native Poppy, which has two retail locations in Southern California, in San Diego and Solana Beach.

We will explore the cool and innovative ways these flower shops merchandise their products. We’ll discover how they make things look irresistible, how often they change everything to keep customers coming in, and why seasonality is so important. We’ll also learn some tricks for unlocking up-sales and how success lies in getting everyone in the shop to join the merchandising fun.

Native Poppy South Park
Native Poppy

At Native Poppy, Gill makes sure the stores’ displays always look awesome by encouraging her staff to spruce them up three times every day. Staff members organize, clean and fill the displays in the morning, at midday and again before closing. Speaking on her approach, Gill shares this pearl of wisdom: “We want all of our displays to be full, dust free and with labels facing forward,” stressing the idea that a potential customer should experience the same excellent level of service whether they are first or last person through the door on any given day.

In order to keep the stores fresh and chasing the cutting edge of retail trends, Native Poppy employs a professional merchandiser, who performs a full audit and overhaul of the two retail shop locations every three months. During these overhauls, the merchandiser totally changes how the stores look, incentivizing customers to make their visits more frequent. Under the merchandiser’s guidance, staff move things around, feature new items and make the stores feel magical, especially during the various seasons and holidays throughout each year.

Which brings us to our next big topic: seasonality. Seasons play a major role in how Native Poppy sets up its stores. Even in a place like San Diego where seasons might not change the weather radically, they make sure their shops match the cultural mood for any given time of year. In spring, they pick pastel colors for candles, and in fall, they go for deeper hues. They also bring in unexpected gift items like seasonal books, packaged gourmet foods, and home décor, to make the stores exude the mood of the current of coming season.

Gill cautions florists about buying too much inventory for specific holidays, so as to avoid being left with extra stock after the holiday is over. Instead, she suggests, find a balance by choosing some items that can be used year-round and adapted to fit a holiday theme.

Although it might seem obvious, have you ever noticed how the best flower shops keep exciting new and local greeting cards and unique art vases near the flowers? That’s intentional. Native Poppy makes it easy for shoppers to add items to their purchases. Gill also recommends bringing in items like specialty candies, premium chocolates and trendy jewelry that time-crunched customers will feel drawn to for birthday and anniversary gifting. To add a sense of cohesiveness between online and in-person shopping experiences, Gill advises “making easy recommendations like sending a chocolate bar with one’s flower delivery or a candle with an arrangement through suggested add-on purchases and package deals in your online storefront.”

For those in-between times when florists may find themselves struggling to make their shops look especially exciting, Gill offers more ideas. “Keep things looking chic and shoppable by working in color stories,” she advises. “If you are running low on an item, it won’t look lonely or random if it’s paired next to other similar things in the same color.”

To ensure its retail landscapes always offer fresh shopping experiences, Native Poppy leans into a teamwork mindset. At the shops, many people work together to make the spaces look fantastic. While the stores’ buyer ensures that fresh inventory is always just an order delivery away and the merchandiser helps with big changes, Gill emphasizes that it’s the retail and florist team who keep everything looking awesome every day of the year and lay at the core of Native Poppy’s success. It’s a team effort, not just the responsibility of one or two people.

The art of creating captivating in-person shopping experiences for flower consumers involves a blend of dedication, strategy and a keen understanding of seasonal dynamics. From the meticulous daily sprucing up of displays to the quarterly overhauls orchestrated by a professional merchandiser, Native Poppy illuminates how adopting a commitment to keeping one’s store on the cutting edge of retail trends can lead to business growth.

As florists, we must navigate the demands of keeping our shops fresh and exciting, and the lessons learned from Native Poppy offer valuable insights into creating a shopping environment that is both chic and inviting and will ensure success year-round. Embrace frequent changes, and welcome the pivotal role that seasonality plays in modern retail merchandising, not just in the choice of colors but also in the thoughtful curation and display of seasonal items. Challenge yourself to make an immersive experience that resonates with the cultural mood. Practice a calculated strategy to sourcing hard goods and gift items, take care to avoid purchasing excessive holiday inventory, and lean in to the strategic placement of complementary items, both in-store and online, and you will create a cohesive shopping experience that will have customers coming back to your store or website again and again.

Five Ideas to Turn Up Your Merchandising Strategy in 2024

Embrace Seasonality

One prominent trend in floral merchandising is a heightened focus on seasonality. Align you displays and product offerings with the changing seasons, and lean in to the transitional times of longing between seasons. Create immersive experiences that resonate with the moods of your customers. This trend involves not only selecting seasonally appropriate flowers but also welcoming complementary items like floral-scented candles, trendy décor and other gift items—all in a range of price points—to evoke the mood of specific times of year.

Interactive Displays

Floral merchandising is moving beyond traditional ready-made arrangements set behind the glass of cooler doors to embrace interactive and experiential displays. Flower shops can set themselves apart by creating engaging environments where customers can explore, touch, smell and experience the beauty of flowers. Interactive displays may include workshops, DIY work stations, or sensory elements such as a by-the-stem flower bar that will encourage customer participation, foster conversation with staff and lead to increased impulse sales.

Eco-friendly Practices

With an increasing awareness of environmental issues, there is a growing trend in floral merchandising toward sustainability—bringing the recycling bin beyond the backroom and into the retail experience. Incorporate eco-friendly practices such as offering recycled or biodegradable packaging, sourcing locally grown flowers and sharing with customers the ways your shop differentiates itself by reducing waste. This trend not only appeals to environmentally conscious consumers but also aligns with a broader movement toward sustainability in retail.

Bespoke Offerings

Tailoring flower arrangements to individual preferences has cemented itself as a trend on the rise. Offer personalized and customized options that are easy for customers to access and understand. Encourage your customers to take liberty in choosing premium flowers, adapted color palettes and one-of-a-kind vessels. This trend extends to packaging and delivery, with options for personalized messages and enticing add-ons. Embracing a focus on personalization enhances the emotional connection between your customers and their floral purchases, resulting in higher sales for your shop in both the immediate and long-term future.

Online Merchandising

When developing your merchandising plan, remember that excellent floral merchandising applies to in-person shopping and can be reflected in your virtual storefront, as well. Leverage online platforms, including social media, and e-commerce to reach a broader audience. Showcase your designs and offer online package options with suggested gift items that are in alignment with your in-store shopping experience, to create a seamless integration between in-store and online visual shopping experiences.

Neill Strain Floral Couture
Neill Strain Floral Couture
Neill Strain Floral Couture
Neill Strain Floral Couture