If you’re a garden centre owner or nursery manager, you probably have your hands full with customer service, staffing and plant orders during the busy season.
Do an Internet search on Wilson’s Greenhouse & Garden Centre in Saskatoon, Sask., and you will get a wide variety of hits . . . not all of them industry related.
The garden centre industry is full of competitors. You’re up against the big box stores, grocery stores, warehouse outlets and the reason for this is that the garden centre sector is full of opportunity.
Sept. 20, 2010 - A majority of Canadians report that quality customer service is more important to them in today's economic environment (58%) and will spend an average of seven per cent more when they believe a company provides excellent service.

Customers will pay 7% more for extra service

A majority of Canadians report that they will spend an average of seven per cent more when they believe a company provides excellent service.

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In an industry where competition is a significant challenge for the average garden centre, 10 Peterborough, Ont., and area garden businesses have found a way to overcome this obstacle – by joining forces.

Making customers No. 1

Companies large and small are realizing that if they want to steal market share, they must cater to their customer base like never before.
“We deliver great customer service and quality products.” This is a frequent response I hear from garden centre retailers when asked what sets them apart from competitors and others in the industry. Of course, these factors are important to a business, but this is a common line that consumers hear all too often.
With four locations located throughout Surrey, B.C., Potters Nurseries have become the place to go for plants, to welcome the holidays, for a good scare (more on that later), and of course, pots.
There are just four reasons to host a special event at your nursery or garden centre. Simply stated, they are as follows:To bring potential customers to your place of business.
To promote the products and services you provide.
To keep your business name in the public’s eye.
To give back to the community that supports your business.
For a garden centre to evolve into a true four-season operation, it must by definition embrace seasonal, or holiday, sales in the form of Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and most especially, Christmas giftware and décor. Such items are vital to bridging the gap between growing seasons, and provide valuable additional revenue.
There are two ways to make more money in your business. The first way is to sell more plants and the second way is to control your business costs. If you can do both then you’ll have hit the sweet spot but as any business owner is well aware, it’s easier said than done. Customers are harder to corral and simply keeping the lights on and the plants moving out the door takes every hour of the day.
A high-powered human resources executive said to me a few years ago, “I can’t get over those candidates who insist on listing “proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel” as skills on their resumés. In this day and age, it’s like saying you know how to use a pencil!” In retailing terms – this rationale still holds true.

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