Achieving effective ?point of sale?

Debra Jamieson of UK POS explains why using point of sale in your garden centre can prove useful and allow customers to understand your store a lot better.

When retailers talk about point of sale (POS) equipment they are referring to a wide variety of signage and display products that can be used to draw the customers eye towards your store, encouraging them to enter and ultimately purchase items from you.

A-boards, pavement signs, dump bins and leaflet holders are some of the most popular POS products in the retail sector but amongst these, there are certain materials that will work particularly well for your garden centre.

POS is a crucial element of marketing for any store, as it not only draws people in, but it also guides and advises customers once they are through the door.

Outlined below are several characteristics of the most effective POS.

Done well, POS will:

  • Attract the attention of passers-by to encourage both new and existing customers to enter the store. Promote key offers to shoppers before they even walk through the door to give them new ideas of what they could purchase even if they?ve come to buy something else.
  • Guide shoppers around the store through the use of well-positioned and informative signage from the door all the way to the till. This involves providing all the information they need about current stock and offers.
  • Look professional and consistent whilst complementing the tone and feel of the store. It is important to reflect the character behind your store and the items you have on sale in your POS, through colour or the material it?s made from, for example.
  • Be flexible and versatile. Top quality POS will allow you to change displays quickly and frequently ensuring you are always advertising accurate and timely offers. Versatility also means you can move your POS products around and use them in a variety of different settings throughout the store according to your demands.

The best POS equipment for garden centres

Focusing first on the outside of the garden centre, a pavement sign or A-board is an absolute must. These are vital to alert potential customers to your presence (if placed at the roadside) and to advertise any special offers at the same time ? for example: ?buy one get one free on chrysanthemums today?.

If you also have a coffee shop or tea room inside, this will be a perfect means of alerting shoppers to this before they enter ? perhaps any purchase will entitle shoppers to a discount in your coffee shop today? If so, let them know. Whatever you?re offering, make sure the passing traffic knows about it.

As mentioned above, versatility is key for all POS but no more so than in a garden centre where offers and promotions will change frequently with the seasons and temperamental weather. For this reason, another must-have for garden centres are show cards and stands to go with them.

These are sleek and eye-catching but, crucially, are easy to move around making them ideal for attracting the eye to whichever plants or products are on offer. Show card stands allow you to simply stand the promotion above or next to the sale item.

Alternatively, the show cards can also be slotted on to any baskets provided you purchase the necessary hooks. Many garden centres will actually stand their show cards in the flowerbeds ? again, the beauty of these products is that you can move them around easily and place them where you think shoppers are most likely to absorb the information they display.

For your shelving units there are a couple of items that will work well. Aisle sign holders are perfect for using on shelves to highlight offers or plant of the week. Like the name suggests, the aisle sign holder is ideal for guiding your customers around the store.

Garden centres also frequently use shelf-talkers which slide or clip neatly onto the shelving unit and are ideal for use all over the store. It always looks much neater to have the same ones throughout the store to make sure everything looks smart and uniform.

Combined with the occasional shelf highlighter, shelf-talkers will work brilliantly to focus attention on that seasonal stock that you really want to push.

For larger indoor spaces customers will want you to point them in the right direction of whatever they?re looking for. This is where well placed signage hung above individual sections will work to guide shoppers to the aisles they need. This could be a bespoke or standard image attached to a poster holder.

Whichever technique suits your store best, using signage in this way is important as it also works to educate new customers on other products they can purchase from you in future.

New gardeners, for instance, may have no need for outdoor wear right now, but in the future they might, so will know they can come to you. You can also attract the shopper?s attention with heavy duty metal hanging strips, which attach to your shelving units allowing you to hang a variety of products at the customer?s eye line, such as gardening gloves or secateurs.

Dump bins are ideal for inside and outside of the store. Use these for items such as packets of seeds, for instance. Grouped together near the till, they might just remind passing customers that they haven?t purchased any seeds since last summer.

Make sure you are aware of your customers? needs so that you can offer timely and relevant promotions and place them in the prime location to catch their eye. Get this right and you will see some great results.

How best to use your Point of Sale

Be targeted and selective with your POS. Signage always works best when there is just the right amount of it, so think carefully about the items you really want to push at any one time. Always remember that the eye of the customer won?t be drawn to anything in particular if everything is promoted in the same way.

For example, if you would prefer customers to make the most of the 50 per cent off offer you currently have on plant pots don?t use POS to promote something else in their eye line in that particularly section of the store.

Ensure all your POS is built and displayed safely and securely. A-boards and any other POS that is freestanding on the floor should be located in a safe place where customers won?t accidently stumble or trip over them. Similarly, anything suspended from the ceiling should of course be put up securely and tested for safety.

Don?t forget to keep your signage and POS up-to-date. Incorrect information can be frustrating for customers and displaying products or offers that aren?t the ones you currently have in stock will be a wasted opportunity to make a sale.

Finally, always remember that POS should be placed where people will see it. Nothing should obstruct a shopper?s view of your signage so ensure it is clear from any obstructions. If you buy the right POS equipment, combine it with some great offers or promotions and then locate it wisely around your garden centre, you can be confident that you?ll soon notice the difference in footfall and ultimately, at the till.

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