Archives for posts with tag: Garden centre

The houzz.com slideshow below has some tremendous ideas for Springtime container plantings. Preparing and selling pre-planted containers such as these can be an especially great way for independent garden centers to separate themselves from the big boxes, as this is a level of service that just can’t be scaled. While most of the pots shown in the slides aren’t ours, we do have very similar items to most of them on hand for quick shipment.

The houzz.com slideshow below has some tremendous ideas for Fall container plantings. Preparing and selling pre-planted containers such as these can be an especially great way for independent garden centers to separate themselves from the big boxes, as this is a level of service that just can’t be scaled. While most of the pots shown in the slides aren’t ours, we do have very similar items to most of them on hand for quick shipment.

I had a conversation with a potential customer at a trade show last week who was lamenting his decision to finally bring in a direct-import container of pottery two years ago. He walked me through his struggles step by step:

  • He felt that he had grown his pottery sales to the point that he would have no trouble moving through the 1,200 or so pots that would fill the container, and placed an order for a wide range of pre-assorted pallets, which would offer him a broad spectrum of shapes, colors and sizes to fill his shelves – this was all good, he didn’t fall into the trap of ordering the cheapest goods possible, which often means getting dozens of sets of the same items.
  • He prepared his pricing for the new pottery program using his standard margin structures.
  • The pots arrived in good condition, he unpacked, priced and stocked the shelves.
  • The pots sold like crazy – by the midway point of  the season he had already moved virtually his entire container. The sell-through rates were almost double anything that he had ever experienced.
  • He came back to the pottery vendor for an in-season re-fill order, and discovered that the supplier didn’t offer such a thing.
  • He found an alternate source that had inventory on hand for him, and placed a huge re-order of open-stock goods, expecting his tremendous sell-through rates to continue.
  • He applied his standard margins to the pots
  • His pottery sales dropped to less than half of their normal level.
  • He ended the season with an enormous inventory of left-over pots and no budget to reinvigorate the department.
  • The following season his pottery sales stayed low – at the time of our conversation (October, about 17 months after the re-order), he was still working though pots left over from the re-stocking the previous May.

Drying Room copy

Why did his pottery sales stop in the middle of the season?

The problem wasn’t with the replacement product – the quality and variety were great. His merchandising was sound, and the product was kept clean and salable. The weather continued to be good, and his overall sales maintained – only the pottery department dropped through the floor. He couldn’t identify any other variables that had changed such as competitor specials or sales.

Water Jugs copy

What went wrong?

As you would expect, when he ordered in a direct-import full container of pots, he realized significant savings from his previous pottery purchases. When he applied his standard pottery markup to the DI goods, he filled his shelves with pots that had retail prices about 60% below the levels that his customers had come to expect. He failed to recognize that the DI pricing offered the opportunity for increasing his margins – keeping his retails in the same general range as they had been would have afforded him incredibly enhanced profits.

While his customers got great prices on the imported pots, they also quickly got accustomed to the lower prices – and rebelled when the more expensive domestic goods replaced the DI pots on the shelves.

“Passing the savings along to the customer” can be an effective marketing concept, but as in this case, it can also paint you into a corner. It can change customer expectations and behavior, and leave you without any good options for rebuilding margins when circumstances change. While it can be especially effective with commodity goods or bulk items, good flower pots are sold on other merits. Quality pots are essentially a fashion item, and as such will support solid margins if your pricing strategies allow it.

We were very pleased to see the following article in this month’s edition of “Green Profit”, highlighting some great tips on best practices in retail merchandising of flower pots. We were especially happy to see a few of our customers highlighted in the Article, as well as some thoughts from our Director of Marketing and Product.

Container gardening is huge, but merchandising containers is often an afterthought. Do you have a leaning tower of pots in your display area? What about ceramics that haven’t been dusted for a year? How about a mishmash of broken terra cotta, concrete urns and oddly shaped containers thrown together at the back of your garden center? If that describes the state of the (dis)union of your pottery category, you have nowhere to go but up. Here are two unique perspectives on merchandising containers so they’re moneymakers instead of space takers.

Keep It Simple

Our first perspective is from Alec Junge of pottery distributor Ceramo Co., who declares simple is best. “I think that two of the most frequent failure points for a pottery display are succumbing to the temptation to over-merchandise and neglecting to maintain the displays,” he says.

Crisscross
Stack pottery near the plants. The single most effective way to boost pottery sales is to incorporate the pots into other display areas of the store, and the easiest location from which to grab these additional sales is near the flowers. In the photo above, a simple display has been built from stacked pallets and positioned as an end cap of an aisle of flowers.

Clean & Accessible
Keep it simple with red clay/terra cotta pots. Farrand Farms in Kansas City, Missouri, merchandises these garden staples so they’re neatly sorted, easily accessible and clean. They’ve used a very simple homemade fixturing system, grouped the pots by type and size, and most importantly, have done the ongoing work necessary to keep the display tidy and organized.

Two-For-One
Cross-merchandise to sell more. One of the most effective (and cost-effective) ways to market flower pots is to include them in other display areas of a garden center. Here at Knupper Nursery and Landscape in Palatine, Illinois, a range of Ceramo’s German “Basalt” pots are part of the holiday fixturing. Using the pots this way is a two-for-one proposition: customers get more exposure to the pots while they’re in another area of the store, and the “fixtures” (pots) can be sold at full price after the holiday display is taken down.

Investing In Pottery
Our second perspective is that of merchandiser and owner of Color Results Terri Coldreck, who emphasizes making an investment (not just money, but time) in pottery. Read on for her top 3 tips for successful pottery sales.

Click here for the entire article:

http://ballpublishing.com/greenprofit/ViewArticle.aspx?articleid=19797