Christmas is the busiest trading period in retail. In order to compete, garden centre owners are under increasing pressure to attract customers to their sites during this crucial trading period.

Traditionally, garden centres were able to tempt customers to their sites with superior quality of Christmas trees, decorations and gifts but increasingly, competition from supermarkets and DIY stores has meant that customers now, have more choice than ever for these ranges.

As a result, garden centres identified that they needed to host unique events at this time of year to give their customers reasons to visit, away from the crowded high streets and shopping centres.

Initially they used their restaurants as a means to spark their customer?s interest.? By engaging the whole family through unique events such as, ‘Breakfast with Santa’ or ‘Santa’s Arrival’, garden centres ensured that they became the preferred Christmas destination option.

As a result of the success of these initiatives, garden centres continue to look for new ideas and initiatives to create an unrivalled ?Winter Wonderland.?? For example, third party event planners ?Arena Structures?, are working with garden centre owners to install ice rinks.

Creating space for this attraction without losing any required retail space is a unique garden centre trait. The rinks are installed within Plantarias or other external spaces thus ensuring garden centres can install this feature without impacting sales returns.

?Arena Structures? work with site owners, to project manage the design, installation and management of the attraction and have a proven track record of offering a service which generates new footfall to benefit the whole site.? Already working with the likes of Garden & Leisure, Van Hages and leading independents such as Whitehall Garden Centre, ?Arena Structures? have identified an opportunity for garden centres to make the Christmas experience even more special.

Rebecca Owen from Arena explains ?We wanted to work with garden centres as we identified that they provide a unique shopping experience for the whole family.? We are able to tailor a solution for each individual garden centre depending on the size they have available and like to work with the site owner to create a fantastic experience for everyone that comes through the doors.? Marketing the attraction is crucial to its success and including an Ice Rink on promotional material in the run up to the arrival provides customers with an excellent reason to visit.?

In addition, the introduction of Christmas Markets and Grotto?s by third party organisers has meant that garden centres are able to provide the whole Christmas event with minimal costs.

The popularity of the Christmas Market in particular has increased in recent times as customers look for speciality foods, not available in the supermarkets.? CN Events are working with garden centre owners to source local producers to trade from the sites during the festive period.

Marie Whitehead of CN Events commented ?Garden Centres provide a local community hub for their customers and as such, Christmas markets for local producers are a perfect event for garden centres to host.? We are working with site owners to provide them with an attraction that offers traditional, locally sourced products and gifts for the whole family.?

In addition, JBL Leisure is providing garden centres with a unique ?Snow Globe? attraction which enables families to have their portrait taken within a festive setting.? Perfect as a one off gift or addition to the grotto, the ?Snow Globe? enhances the Christmas feel of the customers visit.

The Christmas trading period is not only the busiest sales period in garden centres it can also be the most important if the spring gardening season has been difficult.? Therefore, garden centre owners are increasingly aware that they need to provide a shopping experience like no other, to ensure that customers want, to visit their sites as appose to other retail alternatives.

Simon Allison, Sales and Marketing Manager of Promotional Space Ltd added ?With so much competition for customer?s attention during this peak season, it is essential that site owners are creating attractions and events that set them apart from any other Christmas, retail experience.? The ice rinks in particular are a great way for the whole family to enjoy their day out and they offer garden centres the opportunity to offer something unique.?


Garden Centre

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