From the moment a customer enters your premises the retail journey begins. The fact that a customer has walked through your door shows that you have drawn them in by some method; it could be great roadside or shopwindow appeal, word of mouth and they have come to check you out, social media, google or some digital form of external advertising, regular customer etc etc. Now that they have entered the store the decision to buy comes down to a few basic principles. Getting all of these right is a must for success. The first one of these that I will touch on is the LAYOUT. This simply is the direction that you lead your customers on in your store. As a retail consultant to garden centres, I have worked with over 50 store layouts and honestly no 2 are the same. Generally garden centres evolve over many years and few are purpose built. Some have challenges in the showroom of low ceiling, high ceiling, no ceiling!! It goes on and on. Outside I have seen slopes that are great for goats but a challenge for the average gardener and definitely forget wearing those heals…Good news is that every time there has been a solution using the Garden Retail Success principles of great merchandising. To summarise my tips for unique independent garden centres are;
Layout the store to have customers see as much product as possible. (If they see something they like and the value and appeal is right then woohoo, the till starts ringing). Yes, this means having your highest demand product at the back. The old milk story.
Small stores work best with a central pathway and larger stores work best with a ‘racetrack’ loop.
First impressions entering the store should be high in appeal with a great seasonal display at eye level.
It should be obvious where the location of the checkout is but not a blockage to entering the store.
Make it easy for customers to walk to the left and journey around the store without sharp turns and supermarket style isles.
For garden centres, the order of product is giftware, impulse and seasonal, end use displays, seedlings, shrubs, hardware, plant care, checkout. Large trees on the boundaries.
I have worked in many decorator and homewares stores and most of these principles apply but that is another blog for another time…