Garden centre experience: It's more than just plants

Other ways to make money from your garden centre.
December 19, 2018
Written by Anthea Taylor
The habits of shoppers have changed. These days, customers are looking for experiences that are more than just the products and goods on offer.

In Canada, some garden centres have taken this into account to make sure that they are year-round destinations for shoppers. Having other reasons to visit your garden centre can increase foot traffic substantially and provide you with new income streams.

Here are some of the ways to help you transform your garden centre:

Make it exciting for children
On weekends, families that want to go shopping need to make sure that the kids will be able to come with them. Creating a soft play area with childcare is a great way to make the shopping experience for parents easier. Parents can rest easy in the knowledge that their children are safe and looked after. Not only will parents be more inclined to buy product, they will also have more reason to come to your garden centre over another because of it.

Give people good food
Walking through a garden centre can be tiring, and offering somewhere to eat is a great way to keep your guests there for longer and to even make your centre an entire day trip for families.

These days, however, it’s not enough to give them a few snacks and a coffee, so consider partnering with a restaurant that offers quality food all day. The right partnership will draw in more customers for both businesses. Those that are there to eat will shop and those that are there to shop will eat. A garden centre is already a picturesque setting, making it a great setting for a restaurant.

Play host to events
Hosting events throughout the year is a way to make new customers aware of your business, as well as to have people returning to your garden centre.

When it comes to events, there are endless opportunities. Running gardening courses is not only something that you can charge for, but your students will also want to buy products from you as they learn about their gardens.

Partnering with local producers can allow you to set up monthly or weekly markets with local goods. Themed markets are great events to have through the fall and into the winter, especially before Christmas.

The more creative you are with your potential partners, the better!

If you have the space, your garden centre could even be the perfect place for yoga classes. Offering cooking classes can also be an accompaniment to selling ‘grow-your-own’ kits.

The best your business can be
It can be daunting to run a business that can be clearly seasonal, with its busiest time in the spring. There are, however, endless ways to draw customers in all year-round.

Customers are increasingly looking for an experience over and above just purchasing items, and owning a garden centre puts you in the perfect position to offer this.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to be extremely thorough in your research before you get carried away with your ideas. Hosting events or classes is a great idea, but you will need to host what is right for your local customer base. Find out what they want and offer it. If you can do that, your garden centre will be set up to thrive!

Anthea Taylor is assistant editor at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other industry publications.

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