You Can! Be Garden Chic

From: Garden Chic, Best of Show Issue, 2011

You Can! Be Garden Chic

Claiming Your Place
Don't forget, a lot of your store info is a matter of public record. This may mean, even though you aren't aware of it, that your garden center already has a social media presence. Sites such as Google Places and Yelp may list you, even if you didnít create a profile. Use this as an opportunity to expand your marketing. All of these services give you the option to control whatís shown about your company and how itís shown. Claim and update all of the profiles that mention your store!

Are You Ready?
Garden Chic columnist and retail consultant John Stanley has just released his white paper on the garden center of tomorrow. We are entering a time of mega-change that will transform your store - that is, if you are ready and willing to change - into a super successful answer for what maturing Gen Y consumers will be seeking. You are so much better positioned than the boxes as locally owned businesses that know your gardening zone like no other. Play it up with personality, and win!

Farmers Market Mania!
One of the hottest outgrowths of increased consumer interest in eating healthier, natural foods is the massive expansion of farmers markets nationwide. More than 1,000 new farmers markets have opened, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A total of 7,175 markets operate nationally, as more farmers sell their products directly to consumers. Farmers markets are a great opportunity for you to increase store traffic in non-peak times by leasing space - or even providing it for free.

Landscaping On Top
More reason to refuse to let national economic doldrums get you down: Landscaping is the No. 1 home improvement activity among consumers this year. Almost 50 million homeowners are taking on landscaping projects, according to the latest report from consumer and media research firm Scarborough Research. Following landscaping (29 percent), consumers are investing most often in interior painting/wallpaper (28 percent) and carpeting/floor covering (14 percent).

Imagine Selling 'Quality'
Far too often, garden centers paint themselves into a pricing corner with customers by constantly mentioning prices and discounts in ads. Industry expert Robert Hendrickson suggests to his Garden Center Group members to imagine a store ad that does not mention prices at all. Rather, he suggests, use this exercise to hone your copywriting abilities, and detail the uniqueness and quality of your garden center offerings. Take this approach, and elevate your store's image and bottom line!

Reasons to Garden
What are the underlying reasons your customers garden? Recent research funded by the Garden Writers Association Foundation points to them. For two years in a row, consumers reported that adding beauty to their yards and lives is what drives them to head to the garden - and your store! This was followed by "for enjoyment" and food production. Tout this in your store signage and ads: "Beautifying Fairfax since 1965." Reinforce these motivators in all of your store communications with customers.

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