Posted by Trevor Countryman on January, 08, 2019 09:00 am
Running a retail shop is hard—there’s a lot that goes into creating an inviting shop. However, one aspect—namely, having the products your customers want—may just be the most important. So how do you ensure you have the garden products your customers want all year long? Here are some tips for keeping your garden center stocked and customers happy!
Consider Your Climate
There’s a lot about gardening that is the same across the country—and there’s plenty that differs by region (and hardiness zone). Gardeners in the Northeast, for example, may have to wait for April or May (or even June!) for the last frost to past. They’ll contend with a shorter growing season and plenty of rain.
Meanwhile, gardeners in the Southwest deal with hotter temperatures, on average, a longer growing season, and drier weather. Their last frost—if they get one—may be as early as February or March. That means that a garden center in Maine must prep for a different growing season than a garden center in Phoenix, Arizona.
To make the most of the growing season as a garden supply center, keep in mind the various activities gardeners must accomplish as well as the ideal times during which they should be accomplished in your zone. For example, about a month and a half before the last frost, you should have your seed packets, potting soil, planters, houses, and more already on the shelves and on display. This will allow those courageous gardeners who start their seeds indoors to start planting while encouraging others to start planning their spring gardening.
In addition, remember to stock the supplemental items, such as watering cans and plant food, that will be of use as your gardeners embark on a new season. It’s also a good idea to have cocofiber liners ready for those individuals who will need to replace theirs. Throughout the season, take stock of what you’re running low and reorder as necessary—unless the item is something that likely won’t be selling again until next year, like seed packets. Some items, like potting soil, plant food, and planters are great to have on hand year-round.
Understand Their Needs
Gardeners approach gardening from different avenues. Some enjoy the activity itself, while others use it as a means to an end. Knowing the motivation behind your customers’ gardening and how they approach their gardening can help ensure that you have the items they’ll need throughout the year.
For example, let’s say you have a contingent of customers who love planting produce. In addition to selling seeds and seedlings, you may want to carry large planters suited towards growing vegetables and plant food. Once your customers have picked their tomatoes, peppers, and other edible treats, they may need to preserve them (or make delicious salsas and jams), especially if they’ve reaped a bountiful harvest! Canning supplies and accessories can help them do just that, especially when you display them at the end of the season.
Customers who garden as an activity and to make their homes attractive may be drawn to distinctive planters, hanging planters, and garden decor such as arbors and benches.
Keep an Eye on Trends
Garden trends change over time. Thankfully, they aren’t as fleeting as fashion trends! However, new gardening trends do appear occasionally and many stick around (whereas fashion trends, thankfully, don’t). Understanding the trends in your area can help you order appropriately and provide the help your gardening customers need to succeed in their latest endeavor.
One trend that we’ve found interesting is the push towards planting pollinator-friendly plants. This can be done in garden beds and container gardens. To help your customers who are interested in planting some flowers for bees or butterflies, consider the types of plants that work well in your area and their needs. This list of pollinator-friendly plants that is broken up by region is a great place to start! Once you know what plants will work well in your zone, consider how it should be grown? Is it better suited for a garden bed or a planter? Keep the info on hand and be sure to have planters that suit the plant.
Another trend that isn’t going anywhere soon is hanging lush planters with a variety of plants. Make it easy for your customers to decorate their outdoor and indoor spaces by carrying a variety of hanging planters, coco liners, and shepherds hooks.
Keep the Holidays in Mind
In many parts of the country, the holiday season isn’t known for its gardening potential. However, that doesn’t mean that nature lovers won’t be on the lookout for thoughtful gardening or plant related gifts. During colder weather months and the holiday season, consider carrying planters for poinsettias and other seasonal plants, gardening “kits” composed of common tools and popular decor items, and items such as plant stands that can help gardeners transition their outdoor plants inside.
Partner with a Reputable Supplier
Plenty of retailers have had unfortunate experiences with unreliable suppliers. Whether it’s a shipment that doesn’t arrive when it’s supposed to, a product that looks nothing like the picture, or an unresponsive sales rep, dealing with an unreliable supplier isn’t worth the time and effort. While they may offer cut-throat pricing, quality will likely suffer as a result.
Partnering with a reputable supplier can help you ensure you’re properly stocked for every season. Whether you’re ordering months in advance for the upcoming spring or want to place a midseason order, a reputable supplier can quickly let you know what units are in stock and when they’ll ship so that you can plan accordingly.
At Austram, we’re always working to make our ordering process simpler and better. While we always enjoy speaking with our garden center partners on the phone, we know that isn’t always convenient for busy business owners. That’s why we also offer online ordering. We hope to continue improving our processes and are always interested in your input. Feel free to contact us with any suggestions regarding how we can serve you better or products that you’d love to see us carry!
Not yet an Austram dealer? What are you waiting for? Austram’s high-quality garden decor products come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors to meet your customer’s needs. Check out our online catalog to get an idea of beautiful planters, benches, and gazebos you could be carrying!