Archives for posts with tag: merchandising

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 houzz.com offers a concise overview of some bonsai basics:

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.

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 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.

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!”

Blue Wash Cache PotAnother winner from “Today’s Garden Center” magazine, as Sid Raisch posts another excellent edition of his “Management & Profitability” column called “4 Stellar Opportunities for Garden Suppliers in 2015“. As you would expect from the title, the article presents ideas to help L&G suppliers better communicate and fill the needs of their IGC clients.

In essence, ensuring our mutual success in this crazy business boils down to effective 2-way communication. We, as suppliers, need to a better job of relaying inventory positions, strategies, and market trends to you, the retailers. Your part of the equation is similar, and the column includes a sidebar that I am going to quote directly – I don’t think that I could frame it any more succinctly:

  1. Engage. It is impossible to see things from the other person’s point of view if you don’t get out there and see things from the other person’s point of view. Visit them and have them visit you. Ask and learn about the forces that make their life complicated, and you’ll earn the right to tell them about what makes your life complicated so they can help you solve those problems. Otherwise this is going to be a standoff because they just won’t understand you well enough to help.
  2. Anticipate and Commit. The supply is going to get much tighter than it already is. Anticipate that you’ll probably sell 80 percent of what you buy, and get that product committed now so the supplier can know and anticipate what they must do for you. Don’t expect them to carry all the risk of producing those items on their own with no commitment from you.
  3. Use Supplier Marketing Support. It is frustrating for suppliers to offer the marketing materials that retailers say they want, then see those items go unused. Most retailers could use more point-of-purchase and other supporting materials to sell more product. If it is available from your supplier, order it and use it. How about you go get it out of the back room and put it up now?
  4. Pay Your Bills. Too often money is sitting in the bank instead of paying a bill that is now overdue. Your suppliers are not banks and should not be operating like them. If you want a great supplier, then commit to be a great customer and show it first by paying on time, if not earlier.

Luna Sphere Indoor Flower PotAn article by Kylee Baumle in the June issue of “Garden Center” magazine raises several great points about the benefits that houseplants can offer to your customers. She makes the point that in addition to beautifying the interior of a home, houseplants are also good for our physical and emotional well-being, as they filter the air, produce oxygen, increase humidity, and improve productivity. The article is definitely worth a read.

She also suggests that garden centers can do more to bring these benefits to their customers’ attention, such as building a display vignette featuring an indoor setting (her recommendation is using beneficial plants and a desk or table), or adding signage near plants that explain some of the healthy perks offered by interior plants.

Health benefits aside, “drop-in gardening” is a growing category that shouldn’t be ignored. A broad spectrum of consumers are drawn to indoor gardening for a range of reasons – it tends to be an easy if not “idiot-proof” way for them to brighten their homes and to bring a bit of Summer indoors during the colder seasons. Indoor container gardening is generally affordable and convenient, further broadening its appeal. Add in the fact that these customers are also often in the market for affordable pots and saucers , and you’ve got a recipe for winning sales.

Fairy Garden Crafted From terra Cotta FlowerpotThe March 2014 issue of Green Profit magazine featured an article by Katie Elzer-Peters called “Mini Gardening Gateway“, which offered a great overview of the opportunities presented by the ongoing expansion of the miniature gardening category.

While her article raises many worthwhile points, the key focus is that, in essence, success in this area comes down to properly selecting and merchandising your products.

Many of your customers will be new to this category – use signage to suggest appropriate pots, accessories and even plants (and be sure to stock small plants). Keep a ready supply of planters on hand for these customers – classic terra cotta Low Bowls are an top-seller in part because they are an affordable option. Be sure to stock multiple sizes, including smaller ones geared for kids, who as a general rule LOVE the fairy gardening concept. And speaking of kids, remember that everyone of them that you get hooked on gardening because of fairy gardening is a potential life-long gardening enthusiast and customer.

A few other suggested fairy garden pots from our collection:

Heavy Rimmed Low Basin – 3pc set

Squared Basin – 2pc Set

Terra Cotta Planter Bowl

A really terrific profile in today’s Charlotte Observer highlighting New Hope Greenhouse in Gastonia, NC. This is definitely worth a read if you are searching for ways to compete with the national chains: Link to Story