Editorial: Facing Your Products

March 26, 2008
Written by
During the long winter months, there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than to sit next to the fireplace with a good book. And with the all the extra snow that February brought us this year, I was able to make my way through a stack of good reads.

Unfortunately, searching for my next book is actually a process that I find to be quite painful. You can’t judge a book by its cover but experience also tells me that the blurb on the inside flap doesn’t always paint a true picture of the book. Rather than stand in the bookstore trying to speed read the first three chapters I’ve found a bookstore that’s actually helped to solve my problem. At one particular location, the shop counts on their employees to promote the novels that they
enjoyed. There’s a sign beside the novel so the reader knows it is a staff selection. I’ve seen the practice at larger chains like Chapters but find it more personal at the smaller stores. That way I can approach the employee to see what they liked about the novel. There’s also one employee in particular with whom I share tastes. It’s pretty much a guarantee that I will enjoy the book selected for me.

This is a program that I think a lot of people would appreciate at garden centres. A garden centre is a place that can offer an overwhelming selection of plants for new customers or shoppers in a hurry. The endless tables and shelving of plants can be intimidating. Why not let your employees take turns selecting their plant pick of the week? Or have your entire staff make their own selections so that customers have a variety to pick from. Not only will this help indecisive customers make a choice but it can also assist you in moving stubborn product. Maybe you have one plant that is an outstanding performer in the garden, but customers just aren’t bringing it up to the register – this could put that product in the spotlight.

Alternatively, if you run out of your bestseller, a pick-of-the-week system could work to move out your slow sellers.
This program might not only benefit your customers, but it might also give your employees a boost. By granting your staff the added responsibility of making their own plant picks, you are telling your staff (and your customers) that you have knowledgeable employees who are great resources for gardening information. You’re giving both the product and the staff member credibility. When you post the picks of the week, put the employee’s picture on the sign. This will help customers feel more comfortable approaching staff and it could also help to fire up a conversation between staff and shoppers. It gives your employees a chance to explain why they made the selection in a more personalized and informed way. The two could find that they have the same gardening style and the customer will come to recognize the employee’s face at your garden centre.

In the same way that I found my book expert at my local bookstore, your customers may just find their next gardening guru at your garden centre.
More in this category: « A Good Sign  |  Retired Renaissance »

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