Congratulations on owning a garden centre. This time is filled with both excitement and a little stress as you begin building your business. Here are some helpful guidelines for running a successful garden centre.
As the owner, you will be busy with a wide array of responsibilities, including interacting with customers to recommend various plants, products, and treatments while staying abreast of current trends in the industry.
Trends in the garden centre industry
Trends are an important part of almost every industry. They often drive what sells and what doesn’t. Factors driving the current trends include eco-friendly gardening, waste minimisation, water conservation and wildlife protection, and local food growing.
These are especially true among millennials, who currently make up over 20% of gardening households. A few of the specific trends to consider are the following:
- Climate-Change Gardens: Depending on your local climate, offer plant options that are freeze-proof as well as ones that thrive in wind, rain, and desert conditions.
- Imperfect Gardens: More and more people are embracing the concept of relaxed gardening that requires lower maintenance and care.
- Indoor Gardens: The share of revenue from indoor plant sales in growing nurseries has increased by 7% worldwide. Offer a wide variety of houseplants and encourage your customers to surround themselves with greenery while they work.
- Water Gardening: Offer appealing ways for customers to gather excess rainfall through reflective pools and fountains. Not only is this an environmentally friendly way to save water, but it will also help control stormwater runoff.
- Habitat Gardens: Guide customers toward purchasing native plants that will provide food and shelter for native birds and animals.
Garden Centre Marketing
It’s important to engage with your local community and establish partnerships with other businesses. For example, network with local builders to provide plants and trees for their landscaping needs. Donate products and services to various nonprofits and local organisations to increase awareness about your business.
Expand your business and increase sales through an online website that makes it convenient for customers to browse and purchase products ... whether for delivery or to have ready for pickup. Make sure your website is updated frequently, optimised for mobile, and user-friendly.
In addition, you can establish a loyalty reward program for repeat customers, and keep track of your customers and engage with them frequently through emails and social posts. These are just a few examples of many types of marketing strategies you can implement to help grow your garden centre.
In recent years, there’s been a shift of new buyers opting for apartment/condo living instead of single-family homes. Although this trend has resulted in a slight decrease in the demand for outdoor foliage, it has boosted the demand for indoor and patio plants.
Another challenge is that hardware stores, grocery stores, and even drug stores now carry plant and garden supplies at very competitive prices. These chains have more purchasing power, so they are able to receive better pricing, allowing them to pass those discounts on to their customers.
To overcome these challenges you should consider offering the following:
- Cater to smaller living spaces: Sell a wide variety of houseplants, as well as plants that thrive in small spaces.
- Be the expert: Knowledgeable and helpful staff will set you apart from big businesses.
- Build trust and loyalty: Establish personal relationships with your customers and get involved in the local community.
- Offer niche products: Talk to your customers and pay attention to what they are buying. Go above and beyond to offer original, trendy products that will establish you as an industry leader and keep your garden centre fresh and current.
- Offer a wide variety of plants: In addition to popular plants, be sure to offer unique, speciality ones that won’t be found in the big stores.
Your road to a successful garden centre business
Your garden centre needs to be welcoming and well-organised, however, it is vital that you have friendly and knowledgeable staff representing your store! Focus on hiring, training, and retaining experienced, courteous, and knowledgeable staff. Your staff’s level of expertise and the superior customer service that they offer will set you apart from the competition.
Throughout your business venture, you will experience both ups and downs. However, your love and passion for what you do will help fuel your determination to continue following your dream. Take a look online at the businesses available and get your journey started.