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Business Issues on marketing to millenials October 2016

To build sales…start by removing confusion

September 14, 2016  By John Stanley

Avoid confusion with store layout, merchandising and product range. Photo: Fotolia

October 2016 – We are told the millennial is the new consumer and the more we understand that consumer the better our businesses will be. Building sales is not just about millennials, it is about your whole target consumer base and how you can build trust and their confidence while providing them with an experience.

In this first of a two-part “Build Sales” series I will focus on removing consumer confusion.

It is not about the stuff: Products are important; if you do not have the product you will not get the sale. The key is having the right product in the right amount with the right brands. Many retailers get this wrong and as result have a customer who walks out of the store confused.


The customer of today does their research before they get into the car. Some research suggests they may have up to six “touch points” before they get into the car and journey to a garden centre. Technology today means they will go online and research what they want to purchase and then also talk to friends as well as rely on more traditional methods of research.

Don’t confuse them when they walk into the garden centre.

Planned merchandising removes consumer confusion and gives them more confidence to buy. The important strategies are:

  • Have look at the product range. Where does duplication exist and where can you simplify the range.

The golden rule of retailing is to have a good-better-best strategy. Three options is all you need. In some situations, you may want to limit it to the one product. The one you believe in.

  • Have unified response to good-better-best.

All team members must recommend products based on the good-better-best strategy. All must agree on which is the “best” or “hero” product. Confusing advice soon removes the credibility of the business in the customer’s mind.

  • Use shelf talkers and display locations to promote the “hero” product.

Using a “We Use,” “Our Best Seller” or “Our Favourite” shelf talker can build sales and confidence.

  • Place the “hero” product in the customer sightline on the shelf and position the “good” and “better” products above or below the sightline to ensure the “hero” product gets the most “eye time” from the consumer.
  • If a supplier brings out new products in the range that you feel is superior to what you are already selling, then do not add it to the range.

Instead, take a product and remove it from the range and then insert the new product. Make sure the team tells the consumer that you have discovered a better product.

  • Link sell. If, for example, it is a fertilizer that is being promoted, ask the supplier for sachets that can be tied to the plants in the garden centre.

Place some “We recommend feeding with XXXX” signs in the plant area and link this into displays in the garden care department.

Removing the confusion gives you more space and makes shopping easier. What you can do with the space to build sales will be discussed in the next article.

John Stanley is a retail business coach, consultant, speaker and author. His expertise is in customer-focused layout, merchandising, marketing and branding, and customer-focused selling and service. Visit his website at

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