Use the 20-feet rule
Bess Liscio, vice president of visual strategy at Chute Gerdeman, a strategic brand and design firm based in Columbus, Ohio, says the first 20 feet in from the entrance of a retail store are the most important. Liscio suggests changing up the opening display every two or three weeks for maximum results. “What I love about Target is that right away, when you walk in, that first 20 feet [tells you] what their campaign’s all about,” she says. “You know what you’re going to see throughout the entire store.”
Light your retail “stage”
A display should be lit similar to a stage, says Rinara Reh, project manager at GE Lighting. The light source should be aimed toward the display, and the light source should not be facing customers. “The ideal way would be to light it from two sides, from above and from left and right and aim it at the center, so you’re almost creating this triangle,” she says. To avoid glare, use smaller lamps as opposed to a few, larger lamps in a display.
Repurpose or embellish products from earlier seasons
The Christmas season is relatively short and leads into the slowest sales period for many garden centers. Robyn Brown, general manager of Moore & Moore’s Garden Center in Nashville, Tenn., and her team look for ways to get their biggest bang for their buck throughout the year. They take products that they would already carry at the store, such as candlesticks, picture frames, lanterns and terrariums and give them a Christmassy look with evergreens, berries and ribbons, which helps boost sales.
Guide customers’ experience
Retailers can struggle with creating a clean and organized layout. “Take a step back and think about the path you want customers to take through your store,” says Misty Wilfing, marketing director of Gabriel Logan, a manufacturing solutions company in Logan, Ohio. “Make sure that route passes as many categories as possible to maximize sales,” she says. Rows of aisles can create a clear path, or if you’re working with a circular space, “Remember that most people turn right upon entering a room,” she says. Wilfing also suggests that adding freestanding fixtures and high-quality tables can help keep inventory organized and offer flexibility to change layouts and featured items.
Watch your height
“Shoppers are less likely to grab large items from the top shelf and dislike picking up heavy items such as large plants from the ground,” Wilfing says. She suggests keeping a few heavy items at waist level, and storing extras high on shelves or on the ground.
“This way, customers will be more likely to purchase items and restocking will be easy for your employees,” she says.
Let your signage do the talking
“We take on too much as garden center owners and employees to feel like we can personally help every person, but we can make an attempt at it by putting your own word of wisdom on signage and labeling that will instill confidence in the product or plant,” says Nikki Weed, former contributing writer for Garden Center. “Give a little bit of a back story on the price and what they’re getting for their money.”
“Produce” colorful displays
Need an eye-catching way to lure customers to toned-down colors? Using fresh fruits like apples and lemons can add a pop of color to several displays with earth-toned products, as showcased at AmericasMart in Atlanta, Ga. in January 2014.
Containers should never leave alone
Containers have limitless add-on sales that can be easily suggested to your customers: potting soil, flowers, different shrubs that are suitable for the pot and fertilizer for the pots, Weed says. “Stay on top of the container market by attending area trade shows and network with those who are in the field but perhaps are not your competitor,” she adds.