Increasing garden centre sales
By Marcela De Vivo*
Not all garden centres and nurseries are created equal, so if you own one and want to stand out and increase sales, you need to do a little marketing, business planning and have good luck on your side, as well.
Garden centres are unique as they attract a lot of window shoppers, who generally carry a high conversion rate as they actually end up buying!
When comparing that to other ‘window shopper-friendly’ places such as small gift shops, those who actually spend money make up a much lower percentage. In a garden centre you’ve already got an advantage since your products (flowers and garden plants) are low cost and will typically be easy sells to customers who didn’t intend to buy something when they got there.
If your centre is colorful, well stocked and welcoming, you’ll have an easy time getting people in the door. Hit them with the bargains once they’re there (or hopefully before they get there) and then let your inventory do the rest of the work.
Play the advantage
What we’ll look to do is play that to our advantage and develop a marketing plan that gets people’s attention and simply gets them in the door. After that, you can probably count on those consumers to do most of the work for you.
1. Creating a marketing plan You’ll want to form a marketing plan around the local community. If you live in a rural town with strong agricultural links, consider advertising in rurally focused publications as well as the local press. Likewise you would want your inventory to reflect the local demand. In keeping with the agriculture example, you’d want to have plenty of seedlings and vegetable plants.
Your marketing plan should be locally focused, since not too many people from out of town are going to stop to buy plants. Also keep in mind that your best marketing tool is your inventory. If you have great tomato plants, a little advertising will help, but the best kind of press is going to be when people start talking about your tomato plants. In the end, your inventory will win hearts.
2. Seasonal displays Celebrate the seasons, particularly those that get gardeners active by
putting up seasonal displays of flowers and plants in the front of your garden centre. Also celebrate popular festivals and celebrations such as Halloween, Christmas, Australia Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and local events on your calendar. Pumpkins may work well during October while flowers nicely with April and May for Mother’s Day.
For the warmer months, you could even incorporate an outdoor water feature, which can go a long way in bringing the plants around it to life and giving your display a boost of character.
3. Social media integration Post updates to your inventory on your social media accounts with pictures whenever possible. You can advertise new arrivals and closeouts this way, and it is a must if you already have a significant following on your social media accounts.
Pinterest in particular is a great way to promote your garden centre, because of its focus on pictures. Try a few different things to see what works for you and how much press you’re able to get on different social media accounts.
4. Advertising deals Whenever possible, advertise the deals on offer at your centre. This can be as simple as a chalkboard or sign out front, a newsletter, or a social media post. Great deals get people in the door where they’re likely to buy more than the item you’re advertising. Something about plants just makes people feel free to buy a little more than they first intended, so dangle your best deals out in front and people will feel like they can afford a couple extra plants, since those first purchases were such great bargains.
* Our guest contributor Marcela De Vivo is based in Southern California. She is a freelance writer and researcher whose interests cover everything from home improvement to design, crafting, health and business. To find out more see her website at http://marcela.co/ or follow her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/gryffinmedia).