The new reality for garden centres

Company: Garden Connect

Previously we’ve informed you about the way consumer’s behaviour is changing: the smartphone is not only a phone but also a good shopping companion for your customers. It is possible to stimulate offline sales by online marketing and the future of retail needs to be integrated between online & offline. That applies as much to yourself as to fashion stores. Smart retailers, and of course you’re one of them, adapt to this. A recent survey of Google gives us further insights.

Traditionally you had to generate traffic to generate revenue: no footfall, no money! A survey in the US shows since 2010 the number of store visits has declined about 55% during the holiday seasons. What would happen to your business if you had 55% less visitors than 4 years ago? Oops?

However, the revenues of most stores did increase even with the decline of visitors. That means the average purchase per customers has almost doubled! It appears customers visiting stores are better informed, know what they want and are ready to purchase. In other words: do you need more footfall or more footfall of customers who know what they want to buy? The internet plays a crucial role in the preparations of purchases. Consumers who have researched purchases online were also asked what kind of information they are missing during this process. The answer: information of which products are available in local stores like yours!

Meanwhile, the smartphone is still gaining ground. More information is accessible via the smartphone, data bundles are getting cheaper and older customers are getting used to new devices. Over 65% of consumers are using smartphones in-store to lookup information about products. Just like you are familiar with show rooms, the smart phone is just like this: customers who are checking products in your store with the intention to buy it but the showroom is online. Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, does have a clear opinion about this: “Once customers are in your store, it’s up to you if you lose the sale!”  A lot of retailers are annoyed by this behavior, but let’s turn it around. Apparently your customer is looking for answers on questions your staff cannot answer, therefore you haven’t provided enough information on your displays or you have only a limited product range. Do you notice price comparisons? At least you know 1 thing for sure: your customer is ready to buy and it’s up to you to get the sale!

The integration between online and offline also changes the way you should look at costs – and revenues. While most people feel that multi-channel sales should be measured in different channels and boxes as separate stores. However, there’s a strong correlation between online and offline and you can’t see them in two different boxes. Your webshop is an online marketing tool for your store! At Garden Connect we’ve got a Dutch garden centre focusing on just 1 product group. As his online sales were disappointing he wanted to shut down his webshop. Together with him we’ve checked the revenue of that particular product group of his store: nothing less than 50% growth in sales after they opened their webshop! A good example of online and offline are not to separate the channels but to ensure they work together in a positive way – and the customer is currently still having his webshop online, of course.

So online and offline can’t be seen as two different things, whereas online includes mobile, tablets and desktop computers. The number of visits to stores will decrease continuously, not only within the garden industry but overall. Retailers should adapt to this new reality to attract more buying customers: a challenge but also a great opportunity!

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