Weather Trends Positive
Excel/Central Garden distributors is rolling out a new way to provide garden centers with long-term weather foresight. Want to know the temperature and whether there will be rain the week of May 9, 2011? Give them your store's ZIP code, and you'll know. Scientifically based, it was developed for the U.S. Army in Desert Storm with an 85 percent success rate. The good news is, the great spring weather we are praying for is on its way in 2011. Nationally, it looks like a banner spring!
Consumer trends are showing a willingness to spend on "little indulgences" that will break the often-gloomy news. Sales at Starbucks are reportedly climbing back as the budget-focused have seemingly had enough of living in austerity. Dainty lingerie and high-end skin cream at the mall are also ringing up sales again. Are you making plans now to position your garden center to benefit from this change? Perhaps classy orchids and bromeliads in color cache pots close to the checkout?
Social Shopping Buzz
Certainly, one of the buzzwords emerging from social media is "social shopping." It can take a number of forms, but it basically boils down to making shopping more of a group activity - even with strangers. Another aspect is coming across that rare, unusual find that is just so "cool" they have to have it. Do you encourage this shopper-to-shopper networking at your store's Facebook page? You do have a Facebook page for your garden center, don't you? Check out "The New Media" track at IGC 2011.
Up Sales By Limiting
Call it human nature, but we always tend to want more. And when we see a limit in place, it can drive desires - and sales. Next time you're doing a special promo on "just in" patio topiaries, lush houseplants or branded hydrangeas, place a cap of "limited to $500 per customer." Recent consumer buying habit studies show this imposed limit will build perceived demand and increase willingness to buy ... and drive your customers to buy more than they would normally!
Depot's 'Black' Spring
Word on the street is that the "orange" guys are planning another blowout "Black Friday" this coming spring. The reality is, they are here, and we have to deal with them. But the good news is, your "little" garden center can kick Depot's butt. However, you must plan and be proactive. Do you have that "Grow Your Own" Tomato Weekend Spectacular pulled together already? Maybe do an in-store demo of the "foolproof" grow boxes on the market that even Homer Simpson couldn't mess up.
Paco Says He Knows
What do your women customers really want in a shopping experience? Are you providing it? Retailing sage Paco Underhill has just released his new book on the topic, and you can catch his keynote speech at this August's IGC Show at Chicago's Navy Pier. For one thing, he reminds us most women are a lot more "clean" oriented than guys. Are your greenhouse walkways spic 'n' span? Have you dusted that gift area in the last few decades? We won't even bring up the bathroom!