Here's a fly idea! To help kick off spring, Armstrong Garden Centers, CA, gave away a million free ladybugs - one free packet of insects per family - during a weekend in April. A free class on-site, "Attracting Ladybugs and Other Beneficial Insects to Your Garden," drew eco-minded Gen X / Gen Y and more experienced gardeners alike to the event. Local media were fast to jump on the story - generating lots of free publicity for the stores.
Give 'Em Good Vibrations
Make your garden center an escape from the hectic lives of your customers, and they will shop your store for a pick-me-up. A recent Ebates.com survey finds 63.9% percent of women - our No. 1 customers - shop and spend money to improve their mood; 39.8% of men do, too. One in five Americans turns to shopping after a bad day at work, followed by 14.6% after getting bad news and 12.2% after arguing with their significant other.
'Cheap & Cheerful'
We've all heard, even in the bleakest economy, women still spend on lipstick. Now, the quest for that fast shopping fix is going beyond the makeup counter, as "cheap and cheerful" tops JGA's list of hot trends in retail. Think about the small-ticket items you sell that will bring a smile to your customer's face as she brings something fresh and new home with her. Wind chimes, candles or the perfect potted Gerbera are great impulse items.
Mirror, Mirror in the Garden
As more Americans forgo McMansions for smaller living spaces and the popularity of urban gardening grows, a fresh idea from The Home Channel in the U.K. opens a new selling opportunity for IGCs stateside - outdoor mirrors. These reflective garden elements instantly make small plots, patios and balconies seem more spacious. Some outdoor mirror styles even have distressed shutters and arches for a seamless look.
Fun Display Gardens for Kids
Get kids excited about planting with fun-themed display gardens. Kids rally around the chance to let their imaginations run wild, and moms appreciate displays that captivate their little ones so they can shop. Check out the pirate garden from kidsgardening.org, complete with a "pot of gold" filled with yellow blooming plants, metal "loot" wind chimes, a water feature and ship, and accessories like plastic alligators.
Survey Tracks Outdoor Trends
Natives are king in the landscapes of Americans, who seek striking designs that require little effort. The American Society of Landscape Architects' 2013 residential survey shows 93.9% of Americans prefer low-maintenance landscapes, and 86.6% favor native plants. Interest in organics increased to 65.3% from 61.2% in 2011. Fire pits and fireplaces (97%), along with grills, seating and dining areas (96.3% each), are rated somewhat or very in-demand.
Upkeep Is Important
Are you helping your customers keep up with their lawns and gardens? In a recent study from Professional Landcare Network, 81% of those surveyed say the upkeep of their yards is important to the overall look of their homes. Top reasons for maintaining and improving their landscaped areas include to show pride in the home (42%), to create an outdoor relaxing space (16%) and to raise or protect property value (15%).