Monday, February 1, 2016

14 Day Countdown to Valentine's Day - are you ready?

Now is the time when most people start to think about what they are going to buy or send for Valentine's Day. Many leave it to the very last minute! I remember receiving telephone calls on the actual day asking me to deliver a balloon arrangement and pleading with me not to tell the recipient that they had only just placed the order! 

If you have a balloon shop or store, then I assume that your windows are packed with a fantastic range of beautiful balloon displays and all the items that you are hoping to sell! The next few days is the perfect opportunity to make sure that all the balloons are looking fresh and well- presented. How about your other shop window? Your website? I have noticed that many balloon companies do not refresh or update their homepage very regularly. If I was looking for Valentine's balloons via the internet, I would want to find them quickly and easily on a website. The same applies for your Business Facebook page, too. Do you have a Valentine's cover at the top of your page? 

Creating your own cover for your Facebook page is easy. I wrote a blog a few years ago called,

How to create your own Facebook cover photo using PicMonkey Photo Editor. It guides you through the simple process, and it's free!

U.S. Patent No. 6,782,675

Think Pink! Is a top tip from Tope Abulude, CBA, of Balloon Inspirations, in Essex U.K. 
"I use as much pink as I do red, and air-filled Qualatex® Deco Bubbles... Simply so I can immediately convert my designs to Mother's Day as soon as Valentine's Day is done. I guess for me it's being able to create arrangements that I can still sell after Valentine's."

Luc Bertrand, CBA, of WaW Balloons in Vichte, Belgium, shares his top-tips.
"In our shop we have predominantly male Valentine customers.
They love to come in and pick what is ready to take. Not that they would not be willing to wait, but it's just more convenient for them.
Make sure you always have one or more designs that are so expensive you think nobody would ever buy them… You might be very surprised! They will be gone by the end of the day.

Don’t forget that you are NOT selling balloons or gifts. Your customer comes in to buy that smile on the face of the recipient. A man would pay anything if you tell him his wife will be over the moon with that arrangement."
Another great tip from Luc; 
"We have a banner that is attached to all our outgoing emails. Our website homepage has a link to our Valentine's page. We have noticed that more people are starting to buy from the Internet, so make sure you have some examples of arrangements that can be ordered online. You can also find some great pictures on the Qualatex website."

This is one of the best places to find great seasonal bouquet ideas and photographs that you can freely use on your website and for other marketing purposes.

Pat Mackness, CBA, of Pacific Balloons in Hornchurch, Essex, U.K. has 26 years of experience with Valentine's Day sales and some of her top tips.

"To be totally honest, I have seen a small decline in Valentine's day sales over the years. But Mother's Day is proving to be a lot busier! I believe that this is due to the fact that supermarkets sell cheap red hearts and roses. But this does not deter us, we are still very busy and we believe that early preparation is the key to our success!
We have already bought the balloons that we want to sell, and we all play a part in designing things and giving them funny names. Then we list them alphabetically, price them, and print a few of our list and place them around the shop as it helps so much when the phone orders come in to make suggestions and give prices.
We make up lots of beautiful balloon boxes, and put the lids on upside down so as to be able to stack them without squashing them.

We have 4" red foil hearts on sticks which we wrap like roses in cello, then put them into our balloon boxes.
To find out how to make these beautiful Gift Wrapped Hearts, check out this great blog:
Beautiful Gift-Wrapped Microfoil® Hearts.

"Allison Bow."

We make loads of tassel weights with big bows, and as Valentine's Day gets nearer, we make loads of balloon cluster weights from 6" hearts. We also prepare giant bows for putting under the 36" hearts but we don't open them up, this way we can store lots without them squashing. We also make loads of Allison bows for attaching to balloon necks.

Qualatex® Bubble Balloons are a godsend, as they can be readily inflated 3 or 4 days prior to the rush. We keep them in the back of our shop, just displaying one or two. We always make them into bouquets of two as they look beautiful.
We try to keep things simple, plenty of choice but not too many as it gets confusing. You will only sell what you display, so it's best to display bigger designs but try to keep them to £25-£30 ($35-$45).
If you give three choices they will usually go for the middle one, so make sure the middle one is the one you want to sell most of.
 I have two girls in the shop replacing stock as we sell it. It is very important to keep the stock refreshed as people need to see it. Also, we run a points incentive system for our staff. If there are items that need to be sold, then these items have more points, and this changes each day during Valentine's week. We never let our customers know, but it's fun and keeps us all happy and on our toes.
I love Christmas and Valentine's Day, but it's red, red, and more red! I am so relieved when it's over and I can fill my shop with Easter and Mother's Day!"

Federico Onida, CBA, of Balloon Express in Cagliari, Italy, also has some great tips.

"Valentine's Day can be divided into three categories: Before Valentine's Day: 
Prepare window displays with one or two big and catchy compositions, and many other more sellable ideas.Keep ready your 'best sellers,' two or three for each design, so that you can satisfy different demands. Pre-make some parts of these compositions, such as bases and some of the finer details. This will significantly reduce the making-up process, and in most cases, we just have to add the helium balloons to the design. Encourage customers to pre-book their compositions. This will enable you to be able to work calmly and better organised, resulting in your work being more polished and a high quality product. Offer decorations to restaurants, party and ballrooms, and shopping centers some weeks before, explaining benefits of a stunning 'love theme' decor.

Window Display - Balloon Express, Cagliari, Italy

During Valentine's Day: 
Try to sell ready-made compositions, enriching them with balloon bouquets, or using what you have prepared in advance.Use 'Valentine’s Day' printed balloons as much as possible, because you can hardly use them on other occasions, in contrast to other heart-shaped 'love' printed ones.  Do not get orders that need a long preparation time. This will restrict the number of customers that you will be able to satisfy.
 After Valentine's Day:
Try to propose what is unsold to the 'latecomer' customers or modify it so that it can be used for other occasions.The 'love' theme is important every day of the year. Create your Valentine’s 'love' window displays during other seasons."
Wow, what a lot of great advise and tips! A huge thank you to Tope, Luc, Pat, and Federico for spending time to share their Valentine's experiences!

Wishing you all a very successful Valentine's campaign! We would love to hear your Valentine's stories after the 14th! Just contact me:

Happy Ballooning!


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