Bloomer Buying

Bloomer Buyer Job Description

Updated 1/8/2016 by Lindy

Introduction

Bloomers are an instant colour line often offering the same lines that are available in the seedlings, but in a larger size and in flower. They must look clean and neat all the time and be stocked in a high traffic, prominent area. They often have a short shelf life and so buying needs to be in tune with the level of sales at each time. They are available all year round, each week, so regular small top ups keep the stock looking fresh.

Merchandising

Organise with the merchandiser to allocate appropriate end cap space for bloomer displays depending on the season. The 100mm bloomers have the shortest shelf life and the highest turnover of all the bloomers, so buying the appropriate number of these each week is very important. The 100mm bloomer pots work well as an impulse item and must not be hidden in small blocks deep in the nursery, their sales will decline rapidly.

Never leave old stock, past its peak on the bench in the display as it drags the whole display down, and sales will stop. Similarly, regular fronting up and filling gaps in the display is important, as a display that looks ‘shopped out’ will quickly lead to sales slowing or stopping altogether. Special tired stock early.

Beware of buying any bloomers that are not in flower or have few flowers as these generally do not sell until they flower. Occasionally, you will be pressured by customers and suppliers to stock bloomers before they are in flower, (e.g. Primulas and Foxgloves), but try to keep the numbers of these stocked to a minimum. They generally don’t sell until they flower anyway, even though customers always start asking for them very early in the season. You are best to tell them to wait two weeks when they are in flower.

Managing stock levels

Keep up to date with each variety as it comes into season and have a rough idea of when to ask for different lines. Use the seedlings as a guide to what may be available. Some suppliers sell out of stock before they get to you, so you may need to ask them to put aside some for the following week. Check with greenlife buyer for any customer orders. The bloomer suppliers are experienced at scheduling their crops, so they will often let you know when different lines are coming on if you ask.

Buying will be linked to the seasons and to the weather each week. If the weekend is forecast to be wet and cold, then weekend sales will be low, so don’t stock up too much. But if it is going to be fine and sunny, and it is spring, then stock plenty, particularly the smaller bloomers.

Spring and autumn are the peak seasons for bloomers, with reasonable numbers sold through summer, and very few through winter. Beware of stocking soft early season stock that will be damaged by frost or hot conditions in the middle of summer. E.g. The suppliers will try to sell impatiens early in spring, but these are often damaged by frosty cold mornings, so resist the temptation to buy them too early. Although we cover the bloomers for frost damage, the customer does not do this once they are planted in their garden, so only stock the appropriate lines.

200mm Bloomers, Perennials and Gift Lines

The sales of 200mm bloomers over the years has fallen steadily, so that many weeks we will sell only a few each week. If we stock too few, sales stop altogether, because customers don’t think we have any range, but if we stock too many, they end up in the specials section or being thrown out. It is OK with the suppliers to buy different lines in ones and twos in the 200mm size, so take advantage of this. If customers want large numbers of bloomers ring up and place an order, as the suppliers will often make an extra delivery during the week. Make sure it is a definite order before buying, as we will not be able to sell them if the customer changes their mind or is unsure of what they want.

Some perennials are grown in 200mm pots by the bloomer suppliers. These are of a good price, size and variety to choose from compared to perennials from our other suppliers. It’s normally OK to buy as you feel the nursery needs for these items but best to run past general buyer just in case. The geraniums are very popular (especially reds, dark reds and whites) and you can move large numbers in spring and summer, slowing down in the cooler months. Different bloomer suppliers will also do extra lines such as babies tears. Compare their prices with general buyer, as there may be another supplier who is cheaper on these lines, before buying from the bloomer suppliers.

Always check with general plant buyer before buying cyclamens, as they can normally get them at a cheaper price than you.

Gift lines, such as mixed planters, bowls and hanging baskets are grown by several suppliers. They should generally only be stocked in small numbers but you can build up numbers for specific promotions such as mothers day and Christmas. They generally do not sell very well, and we lose all profit if we get stuck with a whole lot of them past the used by date.

The Suppliers

Plantex Nursery: (03)5998 5552, Order from spec. Mon
We order 8” and 4” bloomers form Plantex, to top up those from other suppliers and extend the range. Mostly they are cheap and ok, but keep an eye on their quality as it can be a bit hit and miss. Only buy the best looking stuff on the spec.

Others
Some suppliers will come and go as time goes on. There are only so many bloomer suppliers we can buy from. Go for quality and price. Don’t buy cheap bloomers that are unseen, they are usually always terrible quality, will take a lot of time and labour to get looking as good as our normal range and will not sell. Talk to new suppliers that come around and view their stock. If they compare favourably with our current suppliers then give them a go. Occasionally you will get a new supplier around who is selling more gift style lines they do as a hobby or sideline, (usually spec in their cars). They are never competitive on price and are not reliable. Tell them we already have enough bloomer suppliers and are not looking for any more, so thankyou for stopping by, but we are not interested.

Forward Orders

Occasionally, you will be asked to forward order some lines, usually Christmas lilies, Poinsettias and Chrysanthemums. Usually, we do not need to do this as despite what they say, there will be plenty left when we are ready to buy them. Always check with General Buyer to see if they have already ordered these, because they have often done a deal elsewhere. General buyer often sources cheap Cyclamen each year, so check with them before ordering any Cyclamen from the bloomer suppliers.

Bloomers From Seedling Companies

Over recent years, the seedling companies have been trying to lift sales by getting into bloomer lines. These can be ordered on the fax orders with the rest of the seedlings. Usually the seedling buyer will get them in if you ask for them, they are often more expensive but of good quality. Also can get lines here that the other suppliers don’t do.

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