You Can! Be Garden Chic

From: Garden Chic, Best of Show Issue, 2013

You Can! Be Garden Chic
Pallets Sprout Trend
Pallet planting is a trend that’s taking off at garden centers across the country. The use of wooden pallets as planters jumps on the reuse/recycle movement, and works great for small outdoor spaces or balconies in urban environments. The pallets can be put to use in a variety of ways - laid flat on the ground, standing upright, hung vertically on a wall or placed at an angle against a wall.

Food Trucks & Wine Pair Nicely
How do you drive the food truck trend further and steer more customers to your garden center? Just add wine. Molbak’s Garden + Home, WA, did for its Food Truck and Fine Wine Fridays. Customers paid $10 for six pours of wine from local wineries and ordered a la carte from the food truck vendors. The garden center provided the perfect setting to sip, nosh - and chat about the weekend’s gardening projects.

Scrub-a-Dub in the Garden  
Get ready, you may be asked for help with a new kind of garden project - the outdoor bath. reports outdoor tubs, with privacy walls, are among the fastest growing additions to the backyard. Don’t miss this opportunity to sell the beauty of vertical gardening and the visual screening living walls offer. More people are using claw-foot tubs as unique planters or fish ponds, too, as a fun splash in the garden.

Yelp Is No Help
Yelp is on its way out, according to IGC Show Keynote Speaker Peter Shankman. The marketing maverick says the site is doomed because people don’t trust reviews from strangers - they value recommendations from people they know. He cautions garden centers against focusing solely on bringing in new customers; instead, you need to excel at pleasing current customers. Happy customers, he says, will do your advertising for you.

‘Feel-Good’ for Veg Gardeners
Customers unsure what to do with all the tomatoes they’re getting this year? Consider organizing a produce collection event to benefit a local food bank. Southwood Landscape & Garden Center, OK, did just that, offering a coupon redeemable for a cool-season vegetable plant to people who donated at least 1 pound of produce or two non-perishable food items. It’s a “feel-good” for the community and customers alike.

Promotions Proven to Work
Promotions require an investment in time and money - make sure you’re spending wisely. When you’re planning your next marketing move, keep in mind these have the biggest influence on consumers’ product preferences, according to research from the National Retail Federation: store loyalty cards (77%), in-store flyers (76%), online coupons (75%), special displays (73%) and in-store events/contests (60%).

Salty & Sweet Hit the Spot
Whether you’re just getting into speciality foods or you’re a seasoned pro, take a look at crunchy, salty and sweet combinations of flavors when selecting the goodies you sell. Specialty Food Magazine reports more products incorporating popular sweets into crunchy, salty snacks are flying off shelves. The contrast of flavors make for cravable treats that have customers ignoring the snacks’ higher pricetags.

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