We're boring our customers to death according to Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm, an organic greenhouse business
located in Kintnersville, PA. In an article at The Doylestown-Buckingham-New Briton Patch Lloyd say's, "we've stopped asking 'what's new?' We've stopped presenting 'new' to the garden centers. But here's the problem. The consumer didn't. The consumer is saying to themselves, 'What's new?' the answer is, not much. It's all the same stuff."
This is the elephant in the room. With the recession, and customers changing habits, many garden centers have turned to tried an true plants and goods. No one seem's to want to take a chance on new plants or ideas for fear that they will not be accepted by a more frugal customer. Lloyd say's, "'so if it's all the same stuff, at every garden center they go to, they might buy something, but they might not. That means that there is no loyalty, no relationship, nothing that makes that customer want or need to come back.'"
Excitement doesn't have to just come from the type of plant's you carry, but can include other gardening goods you have as well as the way you run your business. Garden centers that show customers new way's of doing things also create excitement. This year at our garden center we are setting up a hydroponic display growing tomatoes outside. Most people associate hydroponics with growing stuff indoors, yet it's the perfect setup for a person wanting to grow tomatoes or other vegies outside under the sun. It's a hobby that shout's repeat business, and is exciting and new enough to keep retired engineers and young gen Y people interested.
Excitement also comes straight from the people who work at the garden center. If the nursery people at your store are not excited about gardening and sharing that excitement, then you have a problem. Exciting people are a must. Just having a degree in horticulture won't cut it in retail. More important is to have an attitude of joy and enthusiasm for the most basic gardening tasks. Remember, for most people it's their first attempt at a garden and they need an enthusiastic coach. Someone who causes them to want to come back time and again to get a dose of enthusiasm and hope.
Where does one go to meet with other's in the trade who "get it", and want to make a difference? If your an employee or owner of a locally owned garden center or nursery, and want to hang with the most innovative and forward thinking people in the trade head over to our Facebook group, "Independent Garden Centers and Nurseries" and ask for membership. This is the place where the future of the independent garden center or nursery is being worked out. Want a seat on the bus to the future? Go here to find out more.