After plants, the No. 1 thing garden centers can offer their customers is experience. During his Cultivate’21 session, Joe Baer, co-founder and CEO of ZenGenius, shared how retailers can showcase their products for a better customer experience.
“It’s about driving sales and celebrating your products, services, and ultimately, your brand. Garden centers are competing with big-box stores, so you need to make sure customers are attracted to your business,” Baer said.
Plan and strategize
Approach your game plan with a methodology in place. Ask yourself, “What are my best-sellers?” and “What are my slow-movers?” Your displays should center around those best-sellers or key items. Take one key item in every department and surround it with two or three other items (complementary, add-ons or even slow-moving products) that you want customers to buy when they’re buying those key items, he said.
“Dissect the numbers from the business side first before diving into the visual aspect,” he said.
Understand your SKUs and inventory so you can dedicate an appropriate amount of space for them. Know the flow of your products so you can keep them organized. He suggested the following techniques:
- Identify your target
Who is your customer? How are they shopping? and How do they like to shop? are all questions you should be thinking about. Tap into the younger generation and take note of their habits, because they’re shopping differently than their predecessors, he said. Take note of community happenings as well as your competition.
- Put a strategy together and plan
This involves a lot of preparation, but setting goals and taking actionable steps will save you the hassle in the long run. Build a calendar, review your marketing plan and analyze your sales so everything is in line with your initiatives. An example of this might be creating a seasonal floorset calendar and sharing it with teammates so every employee is in the know.
- Test, implement and observe your strategy
Do a trial run and see what’s working, and what isn’t. Watch how shoppers use your space: Is your dollar volume increasing? If not, tweak or change your plan. Start small, and focus on one department or one season at a time, he suggested.
Think about the different types of fixtures, props or tools that are already at your disposal, such as gardening rakes for a fall display, or items like risers and blocks (which are especially handy for vertical merchandising). Seasonally rearrange your departments by switching out sign holders and colors to keep things looking fresh. He concluded by sharing a quick guide to that will help you come up with your own ideas:
- Power of the pyramid
Pyramid stacking entails placing key items at the top, while the products on bottom “all work together with the top two products to create strong presentation,” he said.
- Power of 3
Displaying three products together — in various color assortments, for example — showcases variety while the repeat process gives the customers’ eyes a breather moment to absorb the product, he said. This works best for odd numbers, and can be used for one product or even five products.
- Complementary colors
While the color green is a popular choice for IGCs, he recommended playing with complementary or accent colors, as well as different textures and materials.
- Signs as storytellers
These are your silent salespeople, and signage should be used to help tell your brand’s story, he said. Make sure to keep signage simple but thoughtful.
- Create clever windows
Get creative! An eye-popping exterior allows you to share visual moments and share your story, he said.