Amanda’s top ten: Ideas to Try in 2009

December 31, 2008
Written by
We’ve finally wrapped up our 2008 trade show season. I thought this would be the perfect time to compile some of the great ideas that were seen and heard during our travels. You can also visit the blog on our website to share your own fabulous ideas!
  1. In the early spring and late fall, set up a weather alert for your customers. E-mail (or call if you have the time and resources) your customers who sign up for the service, to let them know about frost warnings or other inclement weather.
  2. Volunteer to speak at a local school about vegetable gardening or gardening in general. Become the ‘garden lady’ or ‘veggie guy’ to a variety of different age groups and help nurture a new group of gardeners. The next time the kids, teachers, principal or even janitor need plants, they’ll think of you.
  3. Offer your customers a cottage or vacation service in the summer. Your customers can either bring their plants to your garden centre to be taken care of while they are away or you could go to their home to do the watering and maintenance for them.
  4. Encourage your customers to bring in before and after pictures of their garden so you can show off what they’ve done on a picture wall. Let your customers inspire each other and share ideas at the same time.
  5. When your garden centre employees see a great garden as they are driving through town, have them stop and put a tag on the door handle of the house to tell the homeowner they have a beautiful garden. The tag will have all the garden centre’s information and welcomes the resident to stop by the centre for a visit and to redeem $10 worth of free product.
  6. Give your employees business cards so they can hand them out to their friends and family. Business cards will get your name out to new social groups and settings that otherwise may not know about your centre. Reward your staff each time a new shopper presents their business card when making a purchase.
  7. Nowadays, people bring their pets everywhere. On hot summer days, put out water for the thirsty pooches and have treats on hand. Customers will appreciate the fact that you’ve made your garden centre more accessible to their four-legged friends and will opt to shop with you over other retailers as a result.
  8. Install a suggestion box in your garden centre. Check the box each week and read what your customers have to say. Give a prize for the best suggestion or have a monthly draw. If the customers leave their contact information on the suggestion, call them back and thank them for taking the time to make a comment.
  9. Start up a personal shopping program at your garden centre. Allow your customers to call up and book an appointment with a salesperson with whom they can walk around the centre and shop with. This personal shopper can give your customers one-on-one attention and expertise and help pile their carts full of product.
  10. Next Christmas, hire a harpist or flute player (you might be able to get a student or trio from the school band) to come in on weekends and play holiday jingles. It will get your customers in the shopping spirit and can create a new Christmas tradition for visiting families.

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