Archives for posts with tag: merchandising

pantone-color-of-the-year-2018-ultra-violet-lee-eiseman-quoteIt’s the end of the year, which means that it’s time for the color gurus to start releasing their thoughts on the direction of fashion for the next 12 months. As always with these projections, we recommend that you view them only as general guidance, and to not let them overly influence your pottery buying plans – you are likely much more in tune with what your customers will be shopping for than are these national organizations.

Pantone has just announced that their selection for the color of the year for 2018 is going to be Ultra Violet, a rich purple leaning slightly towards blue. Here are their notes on the selection:

“A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.”

In a related development, Benjamin Moore Paints also projected the big color for 2018, and  their team of style-makers disagreed with Pantone, selecting “Caliente”, a rich ruby red as their winner:

ENGC-S5-MT - HEROBased on the volume of questions that we field from our customers, deciding how to price out a set of flower pots is one of the more difficult tasks facing garden center management today.

There are a lot of approaches to accomplishing this task, and different solutions will often work for different garden centers, or even for different products within the same garden center. In many ways, pricing planters is more of an art than a science, but there are some basic concepts that will help to get you started, and at least one rule that you should never break:

  • The biggest key to successfully pricing your pots is to make sure that the prices for each piece are proportionally and logically  related to the actual size and scale of each pot included in the set. The easiest way to do this is to use a simple formula to establish ballpark prices. We use the following to power the Unit Price Calculator on our website – Please note that the steps below will work either before or after your margin calculations:
    • Each pot in the set is assigned a numerical value, with 1 being the smallest pot, 2 being the 2nd smallest, 3 being the 3rd smallest, and so forth.
    • These numerical unit values are then added together – a three-pot set would have a total unit count of 6, for example (1+2+3=6). Similarly, a four-pot set would total 10 units (1+2+3+4=10).
    • You then divide the cost of the set by the set’s total unit count – A three-pot set with a cost of $60.00 would be divided by 6 per the example above, resulting in a unit cost of $10.00.
    • This unit cost is then multiplied by the total number of units assigned to an individual pot, so our $60.00 set with an individual unit cost of $10.00 results in per-pot benchmark prices of $10.00 (1 x $10.00), $20.00 (2 x $10.00), & $30.00 (3 x $10.00).
    • If you don’t feel like doing the math by hand, we have an easy-to-use downloadable Excel calculator on our website.
  • Don’t be afraid to second-guess the results from the formula, as many times it will make sense to adjust the weighting of the prices – most often reducing the price of the smallest pot while adding to the cost of the largest pot(s), which tend to be less price-sensitive at retail.
  • One of the great things about the pottery category is that it offers a lot of opportunity for enhancing your margin dollars. It’s perfectly fine to raise your prices beyond what the formula dictates if you feel that a particular pot can support a higher price –  If a pot looks like a $79.00 item to you, but the formula says that it should be a $59.00 pot, charge the higher price – you can always discount away from it if needed.
  • Finally, the only hard and fast rule in this process is that you should never, ever, simply divide the cost of a set by the number of pots in the set. This  overly-simple solution always leads to retail prices that don’t make sense, as you wind up with large and small pots sitting on your shelves at the same price.

We love the idea of living Christmas trees because they open up a whole new avenue for off season plant and flower pot sales. Will this trend continue to take root and become a driver of seasonal business for garden centers? offers ideas on how your customers can embrace this exciting concept:

It seems like Summer just started, but as always, Fall is just around the corner. In the Houzz story below, 5 ideas for Fall planters are discussed – lots of great ideas that can help to grow your pottery department’s profits during the traditional “off season”.

For the past year and a half, succulents have been lighting garden sales on fire across the country. While we do carry some pots which we consider to be specialty succulent planters, the reality is that these plants can beautifully occupy just about any container. This article from Houzz offers some great pointers and ideas on how to best pair your succulents with appropriate flower pots. Please note that not all of the pots shown are ours, but we do carry containers which are similar to most of those included in the article.

Following a year and a half of red-hot sales of succulents and cacti, many garden centers are starting to notice an increase in consumer inquiries about bonsai trees and bonsai pots. These traditional shallow planters can also be used for many other sorts of plantings, including fairy gardens, succulents, and some forced bulbs. The following ideabook from offers a concise overview of some bonsai basics:

The 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.

Classic Urn - Snap ShotIn the January, 2015 issue of Green Profit magazine, Jennifer Polanz pointed out that in the current marketplace, “porch pots” have the potential to help boost your off-season sales throughout the winter months if you take the time to properly merchandise the category. A few of the top ideas:

  • Conduct design workshops in which you offer customer a wide range of suitable planters, greenery, and accessories.
  • Have your staff design and build amazing porch pot arrangements – use social media to share them with your customers and drive traffic to your store.
  • Rotate the greenery and accessory offerings as Winter progresses – Jingle bells may be a great addition in December, but they won’t drive sales in February!

Here’s a link to the complete article.

The 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.

Terra Cotta Flower Pots at RetailThe August issue of “Today’s Garden Center” magazine includes an article titled “8 Ways to Increase Pottery Sales“, which has some terrific pointers from Sloat Garden Center CEO & President Dave Stoner. I’ll address many of his ideas in a later (and longer) post, but I wanted to quickly relay the information included in a sidebar called “5 Suggestions From Sloat’s Dave Stoner” – these idea are all absolute gold, and should be seriously considered by any garden center active in the pottery category:

  1. Jump in with both feet. “It’s not a huge investment to bring in a container or two of pottery, and you cant make a statement without quantity”
  2. Always be deep in it, and don’t play the weather game. “You will sell pots year-round, especially in temperate climates. Make sure you have a plan for storage and restocking, especially if you have multiple locations. It doesn’t need water, and it doesn’t die.
  3. Think of pottery as a negative space filler. “It can make your nursery look  full in the off-season when you have less plant material”
  4. Don’t try to carry everything all at once. ” Try to get a sense of what your customer wants, or work with your supplier to get a sense of the best colors. Build the line as you go, changing or shuffling along the way.
  5. Always stock saucers and pot feet “I can’t stress this enough!”