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Garden centers use visual merchandising

Visual merchandising.

While you might not know what it means by definition, you’ve certainly been influenced by it.

Retailers, big-box stores and even restaurants have a firm understanding of what visual merchandising is, and its potential as a “silent salesperson” with customers.

In short, visual merchandising combines some basic marketing principles, industry trends, product knowledge and creativity to deliberately present a retailer’s inventory in a positive way – consequently increasing product sales.

While online shopping has certainly surpassed that of brick-and-mortar stores (in most industries), there are still industries where people crave the ability to see, touch and feel the merchandise before making a buying decision.

Purchasing items from a garden center or nursery is one of those industries.

Pre-1800, retail stores were about function and purpose, not making sales. Viewed more as factories, items were often stored in back rooms not merchandised in a storefront or on a freestanding display.

In fact, the Industrial Revolution (which ended somewhere around 1840) had a profound effect on early retailers. Advancements in the manufacturing of iron and glass changed the architectural landscape – creating a more elaborate shopping experience from the more “factory-like” stores shoppers were used to.

Today’s consumers are far more sophisticated and demanding than their ancestors, and if you’re not utilizing visual merchandising in your garden center or nursery experience, you’re missing out on sales. Here are some easy to accomplish suggestions:

Create a visual plan

You need to give your customers reasons to stop (and buy) along the way and designating visual areas will help you do that.

First impressions are critical
Create stylish and attractive displays at every entry point. You can also check their blog to find ways to make the atmosphere more appealing. If possible, engage the senses (colorful and fragrant flowers, animated garden art, water features and bird baths) to immediately create a calming and relaxing buying atmosphere. This also is your first opportunity to pull together a visual story, which ignites the customers emotions over what is possible at their own home.

Educate the customer
Many younger gardeners, and some more seasoned ones, are inexperienced. Make your displays informative with literature and demonstrations. Remember – an educated consumer is more likely to make a purchase. Provide planting ideas, soil preferences as well as container suggestions whenever possible – novices will appreciate the knowledge.

Cross merchandise is critical
Do your customers know about your new line of decorative pots inside the store? If not, shame on you for not cross merchandising your displays. Highlighting new products, or unknown products you stock, is critical when you’re developing a visual merchandising plan or POP display. Use planters to create height and visual interest and artfully place bags of soil nutrients near the appropriate plants. Using props from your garden center inventory when creating a visual merchandising display is a cost effective, win-win for the business.

Don’t just aim to sell, but inspire
Did you ever wonder why furniture retailers always design their stores to look like the interior of someone’s house? It’s simple, the more it “feels” like home, the more you can personalize and envision something in your own home. It’s important to do the same thing in garden centers. Show the possibilities by grouping certain species of plants together in one container – a perfect addition to any front porch. Create displays that inspire ideas homeowners may never have thought possible. Grab their attention on an emotional level and make them feel like they’re home.

By simply using the merchandise you already have at your garden center, you can easily create a visual merchandising plan that is sure to keep customers coming back again and again.

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