Wednesday, January 11, 2017

On Your Mark… Get Set… Grow!


Seed-Starting Fun
Recently (November 2016), Scotts acquired a majority share (80%) of the indoor gardening manufacturer, AeroGrow. Projecting the growth of seed starting and capitalizing on its sales potential is something our industry is challenged to adapt to. I’m sure Scotts has also considered the continuing surge in (medicinal) cannabis grown at home in some states.
Now, I’m not suggesting turning your seed-starting area into a head shop, but a huge contingent of consumers believe that fresh veggies and all-natural herbs, grown organically, are important to healthy living. It’s trendy today—you hear it on TV and see it proclaimed in grocery stores every day! Organic produce is among the fastest-growing segments in the garden center and it’s now winning over “do it for me” buyers, especially in the vegetable and herb segments.

A makeover in this department can bring you more than just sales on seed packets. You have the power to create a mindset that keeps them coming back for more in the years to come! A small selection of hydroponic options may be just the beginning of new selling opportunities.

The Race Begins
Which competing retailers in your area offer the most complete seed-starting departments? Do they advertise in print or use social media? Are they stocked with a large variety of seed packets, multiple ways to get started, and all the newest products to get them in the door? Or might this be a good opportunity to expand your department?

Buzzwords like hydroponic kits, LED lighting, non-GMO seeds, coir pellets, and new OMRI-listed fertilizers and soils should be targeted in your store, to help you differentiate from the big-box chains.

It’s also a great time to place callout signs highlighting new products for 2017 in your department. The word “new” continues to pique the interest of consumers who seek greater success through better products and seed varieties. Promoting new products is also a way to secure sales before the consumer sees a featured product somewhere else.

Positioning Improves Seed Packet Sales

Traditionally, the very first 15-25 percent of the right-side entrance into a store is utilized as the “seasonal flex” display, featuring timely products and merchandising that will capture consumer interest to slow them down upon entry into the store. This area is a first choice to promote seed starting, early-spring bulbs, and even Valentine’s Day, St. Paddy’s Day and Easter products as the calendar dictates.

If your store has the capacity to align seed racks along wall perimeters, do it— that approach has been proven to yield higher retail sales versus walk-around or spinner racks. Consumers faced with a “hide and seek” hunt for seed packs can quickly become fatigued or frustrated in their search.
When displaying by selection, it is best to categorize your seed packets by known type: Annuals for Sun, Annuals for Shade, Perennials, Vegetables, Tomatoes, Herbs, All-America Selections and New Varieties. Mount bright, colorful signs above these racks to help consumers connect quickly, and from a distance.
Positioning your seed-packet display in a visible area, away from congestion highways and entrances/exits, is another route to increased sales. Moving these products away from cold winter air and into warmer, more comfortable spot also helps. These moves allow consumers to feel more at ease, and encourage them to linger while they read packet information and consider purchasing decisions.
Create an even better shopping experience with seamless transitional wood flooring or an area of carpeting to soften sounds. Eliminate tripping hazards and remove high-level obstacles to improve sightlines, too!

Completing the Sale
The very best seed departments provide a complete center of complementary products to make the project (and extra sales) easy. Wall displays of seed racks are often placed slightly higher above gondola base shelves to offer space to merchandise seed-starting kits, seed trays, seed-starting soils, bulk and packaged pots in popular sizes, gloves, humidity domes, misting bottles, PH test kits, lime, plant labels, and planting amendments including water-soluble fertilizers. If these items can’t be positioned together, make sure they’re the first adjacencies on shelves near your main seed-packet display.
Of course, fine-tuning is needed from time to time. You may recognize a change is needed when your customers repeatedly ask for an item you don’t currently offer. Don’t miss out on opportunities to be the best merchant for seed starting. Your first impressions, excitement and colorful visual impact can provide an experience for returning customers all year long, and year after year.

This Month's Featured Products

Coast of Maine
Sprout Island
Organic Seed Starter

Buy Now

HC Companies
Greenhouse Seed
Starter Kit - 36 Cell
No. 80281087-326

Buy Now

HC Companies
Seed Starter Kit - 72 Cell
No. 80281086-413

Buy Now

Cow Pots®
3" Round Pots
No. 81450002-300

Buy Now

Cow Pots®
3" Square Pots
No. 81450001-288

Buy Now