The majority of consumers have noticed that garden centres stock great gift products and that you?re convenient places to buy gifts ? including candles. Make the most of that and milk it for all it?s worth!
One major gift area that has increased massively in recent years ? and does have a connection to plants, and in some respects gardening ? is candles. The new Royal Horticultural Society Fragrant Gardens Collection from Wax Lyrical is an obvious link for those who want a horticultural or gardening link. They feature original botanical illustrations from the RHS Lindley Library, combined with the company?s classic English garden fragrances.
Sexy scents lead to successful sales
Scented candles seem to be some of the most popular lines. However, I rarely, if ever, see ? or, more correctly, smell ? garden centres using their scent as a selling point. I?m sure if I was wandering around a store and could actually smell their delicious aromas wafting my way, even I might be tempted to buy some.
I?m sure it?s an absolute no-no to have naked flames in a covered shop (unless you want the Health & Safety Executive sniffing down your neck and closing you down). But the major candle suppliers also produce complementary scented reed diffusers, which provide a fantastic flame-free alternative to scented candles, and could easily be used and would help sell both lines. Maybe your supplier would provide free samples for just such purposes. Don?t laugh ? there?s no harm in asking.
But, of course, candles aren?t just gifts ??they are useful and practical purchases in their own right, for use all around the house and garden. Surely one way to stop the moans that your centre?s turned into a gift shop is to get away from the gift shop mentality. Corralling all your gift lines together into one huge area so that customers have to fight to get to the planteria is a sure-fire way to put off proper gardeners. Instead, integrate them with other garden and gardening products, using them for linked sales and add-ons. This will not only dispel the gift shop myth, but it will surely increase the average basket spend too.
The obvious choice is to put candles and tea-lights among the outdoor and conservatory furniture and barbecues ? they?re a natural linked sale. But room scenters among the houseplants and the right relaxing aromas elsewhere will all encourage your customers to pull out their wallets and purses.
With so many people worried about declining bee populations, creating displays that make people aware of the problem and selling bees? wax candles among plants that attract bees into the garden may put some extra cash in the till.
If you do want to milk candle sales for all they?re worth, then there are some great initiatives out there. The Yankee Candle Loyalty Card is one such idea ? giving ?10 off the next purchase after 10 ?10 purchases.
And, to prevent further ?garden centres are just gift shops? angst, when a keen gardener comes in asking for fork handles, don?t try to sell them four candles!
Geoff Hodge is a garden writer and broadcaster. He contributes to various gardening magazines and websites and has written eight books. Previously, he was a garden centre manager.