Thinking back, all of us can recall grade-school “Show & Tell” classroom assignments, which provided the opportunity to bring in a special item or share a personal experience with our classmates. Topics may have included summer vacation destinations or visits to landmarks across our great country.
Show & Tell was an exercise in showing effort, pride and preparation. It told the teacher a lot about who we were and what excited us. Let’s fast forward to today and your retail planning efforts: Are you excited about your store layout and building your displays to sell better? What story or products will you show and tell your customers this spring?
A Telling Sign
Change is a key benchmark for growing sales opportunities among national retailers. The lawn and garden industry is historically built on change. New plant genetics, new products, new colors and styles, new technology, new chemistry, new packaging, new conveniences, new opportunities, and so on. Every successful retailer knows that, in order to sell and prosper, they need to promote and, in some cases, lead by implementing change and communicating it successfully to customers. Old dogs learning new tricks are a must in retail. Change is constant. What’s happening in your store to show and tell the power of change?
A New Twist to an Old Favorite
Indoor houseplants has, sadly, been a forgotten category by many garden centers since the supermarkets found an audience and the foot traffic needed to drive impulse sales. These plant tables are staged at the appropriate time, but are often very limited in range with little or no replenishment.
Fortunately for garden centers, the path to differentiation is clear: We have an entire world of indoor plants to choose from — succulents, cacti, orchids, African violets, bonsai and even miniature foliage have emerged from a long sales slumber to show increased activity in many stores.
Success depends equally on what’s in your product offer and how you present it. Bigger isn’t necessarily better! The surge in recent years of miniature plants and fairy gardening has spawned some additional avenues for sales traffic. Terrariums, dish gardens, glassware, air plants, decorative mosses and decorative covers have all benefitted from the wholesale grower’s smaller-sized offerings.
A New Kind of Party
Remember when Tupperware parties were popular? Today, a new corporate venture called PlantNite (www.plantnite.com) brings a unique plant-party atmosphere to consumers, with build-your-own terrarium events at local taverns, bistros and bars. Local events can be found and tickets purchased online. PlantNite events provide instructional tips and all the materials needed for the do-it-yourself attendee, at a healthy cost to participate.
Whoever thought to combine plants with consumers’ favorite “beverage of choice” goes to the head of the class! These parties build awareness within the community and create a fun, relaxed experience that sells more product! Think of the possibilities for your store.
A New Discovery
For retailers and consumers alike, the doldrums of winter are immediately warmed by the first colors of spring. For those who can’t wait to turn the calendar page, try featuring a single plant species in a mass display setting complete with complementary pot choices, recommended potting soils, watering options and plant-specific foods. Arrange plants in blocks of color at various heights on the table or bench for increasing shelf appeal and to entice customers from a distance.
The most popular impulse plants for pre-spring are orchids, and timing is also good for promoting sales for upcoming Easter and Mother’s Day. All that’s missing is your signage telling the story behind what’s shown on the table. What’s new? What’s unique? Is there a local orchid society located nearby? If you have a team member who’s passionate about these specific plants (or the resident expert), empower them to Show & Tell their story!
By showing your customers colorful vertical displays, identifying new and unique plant varieties, suggesting additional products at the point of decision AND communicating your professional plant care tips, it won’t take long for the word to spread. Customers will see your efforts and reward you with more of their business. Change is good for retailing, whatever you’re selling!