By Bruce Hakutizwi
By Bruce Hakutizwi
As most garden centre owners will know, most gardening activities are not only seasonal but also weather dependent.
Knowing about long-term weather trends will help you to better anticipate peaks and troughs in customer demand.
Just knowing in advance that the weekend weather is set to be fair means your displays can focus on outdoor plants and activities.
With warmer, drier weather extending into early fall, there is much to take into consideration for your garden centre. Not only should you plan for an increase in visits, you should also use the weather to your advantage. Here are some examples of how you can do that:
Topical and informative events
Many people enjoy a day trip to their local garden centre in good weather, so why not make the very most of this by organizing some free events or even ticketed events for families and couples alike?
For example, a simple workshop teaching people how best to look after a garden during hot dry spells can be carried out by yourself or by an established staff-member. Other examples are a re-potting class, or an event, which includes refreshments and offers an informational tour of your impressive stock of seasonal plants.
Another event which will always attract a good audience is a gardener’s forum session which has a panel of (staff) experts ready to answer seasonally relevant questions about plant care, pests and diseases, new growing techniques etc.
Providing topical, knowledge-based events will establish your garden centre as an authoritative source of information. This will help you bring back existing customers for repeat business as well as gaining you new and often younger customers who are inexperienced gardeners and very likely to need a source of information and support.
Remember also, that many customers will appreciate an informative website providing details of the plants you supply, as well as gardening tips and up-to-date seasonal advice.
And if you can put relevant seasonal information in a regular newsletter, this will provide you with further opportunities to publicize your stock and advertise your services and summer events!
Targeted special offers
Customer demand during extended warmer weather will give you the flexibility to introduce a range of targeted special offers to further increase your sales, and your programme of summer events will give you an ideal chance to maximize your audience for these special offers.
There will be many opportunities to sell discounted tools and equipment, garden furniture, leisure goods such as BBQs and many other products that will be needed in the garden during this time.
Can you meet the demand?
While predictions of extended warmer weather is of course welcome news for Canada’s garden centres, it’s essential to ensure your supply chain is in good working order.
Along with your events and discounts will come a growing demand for your summer supplies and products. So, if your supplier regularly lets you down and is not really up to the job, it may be time to re-negotiate contracts or even look elsewhere to get the supply terms you need to be competitive and get products onto your shelves in good time.
It’s only when you can guarantee stocks that you can think of expanding your product range and be confident you can meet the anticipated surge in demand. After all, the nightmare scenario would be raising levels of enthusiasm among your customers only to lose their trust after having persuaded them to rely on your product availability.
A garden is always at its best in summertime, and extended warmer weather means more time spent enjoying and looking after this special outdoor resource. For garden centres, these periods offer a real chance to grow your reputation and expand your customer base. Just make sure you are properly geared up to make the most of the opportunity.
Bruce Hakutizwi is the USA and international accounts manager for BusinessesForSale.com, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces for buying and selling small- and medium-size businesses. Bruce has over 7 years’ experience working within the US business transfer marketplace connecting buyers and sellers.