Jul 30, 2010
Distinguishing Details
Steven Mayhew, Special to Party & Paper

Tips and tricks to take your retail balloon profits up a level

When you think of balloons, you think of parties, celebrations, sentiments and the amazing arrangements that can be created with latex and foils. Educating your customers about the wonders of balloon decor and bouquets can be a bit of a challenge if your store isn’t promoting on a professional level.

So here are a few tips to increase your customers’ experience when they enter your shop and ways you can make your balloon store more profitable. It may make the difference between making the sale or not.

Easy, Efficient Inflation
Technology has led the way of the future, and the options of how a balloon is inflated are no different. Inflating balloons with a basic inflator is the way of the past and has proven to be the least efficient way compared to using sizing inflators. Ensuring your balloons are properly inflated decreases helium costs and increases float time, maximizing customer satisfaction.

Inflating a balloon can now be easy for any employee with the introduction of products such as Conwin’s latest retail inflator. The new SMART Inflator, a helium-powered, nonelectric inflator, features separate, clearly marked filling outlets for latex and foil balloons. Each inflator comes preset to fully inflate one 11-inch latex balloon at a time or a foil balloon to the proper pressure and size, with no settings or adjustments required. You literally connect the regulator to the cylinder with the easy Press-Fit hose connection and begin inflating, saving time and money.

Many retail owners have found the fastest and most efficient way to top off and freshen up their foil bouquets is to use Conwin’s 4-Wheel Hand Truck or Mini Cart with a helium cylinder, combined with the 10-foot Extension Hose and Auto-Fill Foil Outlet. These two hand-truck options can be wheeled to areas where balloons are displayed and used to quickly refill the foils that have begun to deflate. When the ribbon is tied below the self-seal valve, it’s incredibly easy to stretch the 10-Foot Extension Hose to refill each balloon, ensuring your balloons always look fresh and ready to sell.

Quick Tip: Frustrated with your ribbon tangling when making a bouquet? Try spool ribbon dispensers to easily dispense your ribbon from.

Get Smart with Your Inventory
Reassess your product line and start looking at which products are your top sellers and which ones may need more advertising. Try combining best sellers with products that are harder for you to move.

Example: Your balloon bouquet business is doing well, however your greeting cards sales have decreased. Why not create a few package displays showcasing a greeting card with a coordinating balloon bouquet? Look around your store and see what other products could be included to entice your customers. Signage is the key to getting the message out, so make sure a nice sign is printed or handwritten next to your special. Name the combo and price it with a possible 10 percent savings when the entire package is purchased.

You also can cross merchandise your themed foil balloons with your themed latex. When given this suggestion to local balloon shops, they reported back that more people are buying the two products together more than ever before. Make it easy for your customers to find like products and making your floor layout “make sense” will only assist with helping your customers find everything they came in for, and more.

In those same stores I had suggested they implement Conwin’s Grip Tabs as anchor points to display their bouquets with. Two weeks later when I returned, they said that by having more balloons inflated with a larger variety of bouquets to choose from, arrangements they were getting ready to drop from their list quickly began to sell. This reaffirms the point that we, the balloon professionals, need to constantly show our customers visual examples of already assembled sample bouquets throughout the store. A fully inflated balloon is 100 percent more impressive than one still packaged.

The Impulse to Buy
Have you ever stood in the check out line and picked up a pack of gum to include in your purchase? Congratulations, you were just hooked by something called impulse buying. Just like you, your customers do the same thing. Capture the impulse market by placing quick “grab, buy and go” balloons at your check out stands. Place the adhesive side of Conwin Grip Strip along side the counter and fill it with pre-weighted foils and Hi-Floated latex. Set a colorful sign next to it with pricing and watch your single balloon sales take flight.

Finishing Tips

Safety is not only important, it’s the law. Cylinder safety stands are much safer and appear more appropriate to a retail setting than hooks in the walls for chaining helium tanks to secure them. For the ultimate safety in retail settings, look into Remote Helium Systems. From the countertop option to the under counter option, Conwin has developed two versions that allow you to have your cylinders hidden in your back room with a high-pressure hose connecting your tanks to your balloon center. This eliminates the need of having employees move heavy cylinders around customers, a possible recipe for disaster.

To complete the look of professional balloon inflation station, be sure to use a cylinder cover to hide unattractive helium tanks.

Professional equipment, tools and displays ensure your staff members can work faster and more efficiently. Don’t skimp on these one-time purchases. The initial investment will soon pay for itself with an increase in productivity and profitability.

Steven Mayhew is the marketing and creative director for Conwin Inc. To learn more, visit www.ConwinOnline.com, or call Mayhew at 818-246-9233 or e-mail steven@conwinonline.com.

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