Cotton Traders explains garden centre strategy

Company: Cotton Traders

A presence in garden centres is an instrumental part of Cotton Traders’ growth plan and ensuring we’re maintaining a physical presence for our loyal customers.

As part of our comprehensive marketing and contact strategy, we’re able to drive a vast amount of footfall to garden centres, by engaging with over one million customers on our database.

This is our third consecutive year of like-for-like sales growth within garden centres and during this time, we have nearly completed our comprehensive refurbishment and refit programme across our 64 garden centre stores and concessions, bringing these up to the same standard of presentation as our standalone stores.

A vital part of the brand’s growth and increase in footfall is attributed to an expansive marketing strategy.

We ensure we’re targeting specific demographics through geographically targeted social media advertising to promote new store openings, in addition to directional signage and advertising in specific locations.

Nationwide TV campaigns

Nationwide TV campaigns have worked hard for us to promote all our shopping channels (including in-store), whilst locally targeted TV advertising has supported specific stores including Polhill garden centre through Sky Adsmart.   

Doordrops and an OOH (Out of Home) strategy ensure we’re promoting in-store offers, which in turn drive footfall to stores.

Specifically for garden centres

We have implemented a new store email plan, specifically for garden centres, targeting our existing customers within a geotargeted area. This has involved a series of emails promoting each opening combined with a new store opening offer, in addition a dedicated store locator and store information on our website.

To support this, we have also communicated store specific product offers that customers can’t get on our website, to help drive in-person purchase.

Our ongoing direct mail and e-mail campaigns to our 1,000,000 strong customer database has helped to drive consistent footfall into our garden centre stores and concessions, ensuring we’re keeping them up to date with relevant offers and new-in product launches. 

Click and Collect service

As part of the refurbishment and refit programme, we have introduced a Click and Collect service within our concessions, which can be used for customers shopping with us online.

Furthermore, we have also introduced a free return to store service for our online and catalogue customers.

The introduction of both services has attributed to an increased footfall into garden centres and ensures that we’re able to expand our service offering to our customers.

Feedback has shown that our customers love using these services as it saves them a delivery charge and the cost of return.

They also enjoy the free parking at garden centres and see a free delivery and returns service as a brilliant opportunity to get out of the house and spend ‘the saving’ made from these services on a cup of coffee and a slice of cake in the garden centre café instead!

Moreover, we have also launched state of the art in-store digital screens across most of our estate, allowing us to promote key offers at the touch of a button. We have found these digital screens work effectively in introducing our garden centre customers to Cotton Traders’ brand ambassadors; Alex Jones, Jasmine Harman and Will Mellor, who they are responding to very well.

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