Doug Stewart: 10 ways to boost sales in the planteria


Garden Centre Consultant Doug Stewart shares ten ways to add inspiration to the heart of every garden centre – the planteria.

Filled with scent and colour, they are the very heart of any garden centre. They are our point of difference and the very reason for our existence. They are the vehicle through which we sell our credibility and our passion for plants and gardening.

  1. Garden retailing is all about creating great customer experiences. Our customers tell us they are looking for inspiration, so where better place to start to share our love of plants and gardening than in the car park? If we get this right our customers should feel that they are parking in a garden, with the inspiration starting before they have even undone their seat belts.
  1. Bringing plants right into the entrance of the garden centre creates a strong subliminal image, telling the customer that this place is all about plants. For instance, Timmerman?s Garden Centre makes full use of a small outdoor area at their entrance to really set the scene.
  1. Our customers, in particular those with children and grandchildren, are looking for weekend projects that they can carry out with their young ones. Showcasing simple, easy to achieve projects, from creating strawberry towers or herb wheels really engages customers. Perrywood Garden Centre are masters at this, with simple projects including ?Pimms in a Pot? planters, as well as the displaying of garden furniture amongst the plants to show the customer how to use the products at home.
  1. As independents we need to march in the opposite direction to the chains and corporates. This involves creating unique spaces filled with inspiration, charm and humour. The National Trust in their Plant Centre at Mottisfont Gardens uses pieces of old furniture, planted up creatively to give their plantaria a unique charm and identity.
  1. Ultimately, retailing plants effectively is all about colour, and Cowell?s Garden Centre are masters at using it to create demand. It is hard not to shop after seeing their amazing colour-themed displays. High-quality plants, merchandised with skill and imagination drives sales every time.
  1. We often refer to Point of Sale as the silent sales person – but is your POS reflecting your passion for plants? Is it unique to you? Is it speaking with your voice? Is it enthusing customers about the plant in such an engaging way that they cannot help buy? We love the way that Woodside Walled Garden, a small nursery in the Scottish Borders, uses simple blackboards to share their passion. They even name their growers ? ?Grown by Graham? – before giving two or three compelling one-word reasons to buy.
  1. We know that customers like local products, but are we getting the message over in a way that is unique and striking? Rather than saying ?we source plants from local suppliers? like all other garden centres, why not try the much more powerful ?by shopping here you are supporting nine small, local, artisan nurseries.?
  1. Creating inspirational, yet shopable displays are a great way of sharing your passion, while teaching customers about plant associations and using colour. Tying these displays into the latest trends from Chelsea or Hampton Court can show your customers how easy it is to get the look.
  1. We all know that colour sells and that the planteria should always be filled with colour. However we also need to make it easy for people to take that colour home with them. Stunning planted arrangements increase average spend, and delight customers. Adding a parcel tag with care instructions and the signature of the member of staff who planted it up just adds to the specialness.
  1. Finally, making it easy for people to shop is the key to increasing plant sales. We love the way that Batsford Plant Centre, sets out its plants and then places baskets nearby. It?s which is almost like whispering ?go on, you know you want to? in the ear of a tempted customer.

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