Posted by Trevor Countryman on October, 02, 2018 12:10 pm
To be successful in retail, whether you have a garden shop or clothing store, planning for seasonal changes is a must. In the garden industry, this is especially true since so much of gardening depends on the season. This is further complicated by the notion of “retail seasons,” which don’t always correlate with what most of us consider a season.
In this post, we’ll be sharing tips for balancing your seasonal garden shop items and making the most of your inventory.
Understand Your Seasonal Cycles
Most retailers follow a particular seasonal cycle that fits their industry. If you sell clothing, for example, you want to have swimming suits before the weather turns warm and coats before it dips. In addition, holiday items are a must. For a garden shop, the formula is similar, although there are two types of seasons to be aware of. Of course, when you’re in the business of plants, knowing the growing seasons is key. In addition, understanding how consumers shop during different times of the year and what they are typically looking for is essential for planning.
Depending on where in the country your garden shop is located, your seasonal cycle will vary slightly. This will generally depend on which zone you live in according to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. For example, if your garden shop is located in zones 10 to 13, you may want to carry items for nourishing tropical plants and landscaping year round. In colder zones, on the other hand, you may only want to carry some items for half the year or only showcase them for half the year.
The typical retail “seasons” are as follows:
January & February: Most retailers experience a lull in January after the holidays. Come February, however, love is in the air, and depending on your wares, you may see a bounce in traffic from those looking to support Cupid in his work. If your garden shop also has fresh cut flowers, you’ll want to be prepared with vases and accessories. Potted plants presented in a romantic fashion may also do well during this time.
March, April, May: With warmer weather comes the desire to be outside. Those with green thumbs may be itching to start planting. Color is important after the dullness of winter, with bright spring flowers being popular for their eye-popping hues. In addition to planting and transplanting plants, home gardeners will also be prepping their garden beds, fertilizing, and pruning. These types of items should be in stock by the end of February in many areas.
June, July, August:
Every weekend presents homeowners with a chance to play in the garden. Whether they’re adding more plants, pruning, or fertilizing, you’ll want to have all your gardening essentials in stock to meet demands.
Any items that are fall specific should be arriving this month as temperatures begin to dip in most of the country. Halloween has become a retail occasion thanks to the popularity of Halloween decorations. Garden shops have gotten in on the trend with pumpkin pots and more. Mulch, plant food, and other items aimed at getting gardens ready for fall and winter should be in stock.
Holiday tunes are hitting the airwaves and the smell of pine and spruce are everywhere. Small, potted Christmas trees and poinsettias have become very popular, as well as other seasonal decorations. Planters and plant food appropriate for those items should be in stock. This is typically the busiest shopping time of the year for traditional retailers, however, depending on what your garden shop carries and where you are located, your shop may be more concerned about planning for the upcoming spring.
Plan in Advance
In order to ensure that you have the right products in stock for each season, you must plan, budget, and order in advance. Otherwise, you may find that stock arrives too late.
To keep up to date on the latest products and advancements in the gardening industry, visit garden shows and marketplaces in your area. (You can see which shows Austram will be attending on our Events page.) Shows are a great place to garner ideas for styling and to pinpoint the latest trends. Attending shows will help you stay on top of what’s happening in the industry and help you become knowledgeable about what consumers may be looking for throughout the year.
When you speak to wholesalers at a show or on the phone, they will let you know when items will be available and when they will be shipped. Once you know what’s available, you’ll be able to draw up a budget and order. Knowing when items will arrive in your shop is important, especially when such items are seasonally specific. For example, you don’t want to receive your pumpkin pots in November. Instead, you’d want them in September when homeowners are setting out their fall decorations. Items that are season specific should arrive shortly before the season for which they are intended. Otherwise, you may not have enough time to sell through them. Keep this in mind when ordering.
Optimize Your Space
Even when you’re carrying the same products, it’s important to keep things looking fresh and new. The items which first greet your customer should be appropriate for the season in which you are in and should be enticing! Same for items at the cashwrap. Switch them up regularly (at least once a month) and shift items around once you start running low on something.
Seasonal displays that highlight your newest items can help consumers visualize how a particular product will look in their home or garden. They are a great way to connect with the consumer and to provide them with tips for using the products you carry. When your items first come in, it may not be the appropriate season for them, but the change will come quickly. Use promotions wisely to ensure you sell through your seasonal items.
Pair With Accessories
To increase the likelihood of selling more items per transactions, ensure that accessories are paired with their main components. If you’re primarily focusing on hanging baskets in spring, for example, cocomoss liners and hanging hooks should be nearby to make it easy for customers to find what they need. In addition, your team should be prepared to suggest “add-ons” that are appropriate for your customer or location. If a customer arrives at your POS with a hanging basket and liner, your cashier should be trained to ask the customer if they will be needing any potting soil today and to share any ongoing specials that may be relevant. This can help you increase your units per transaction and hopefully allow you to sell through your seasonal items.
In retail, you have to think seasons ahead, regardless of whether you have a garden shop or a hat store. A wholesaler that understands your industry is key for success. We hope this post helps you as you plan for future seasons and gives you some ideas for maximizing your sales!
And if you aren’t already signed up as an Austram dealer, contact us to learn more about why you should be!