04 Dec 2023

Boosting Eco-Friendly Sales in Garden Centres: Strategies for Effective Merchandising, Communication and Sustainability Practices

In the dynamic realm of garden retail, there's immense potential to boost sales of eco-friendly products, regardless of store size. As consumers are increasingly starting to prioritise ethical and environmental considerations, garden centres are strategically aligning to ensure these offerings stand out. Effective merchandising principles become crucial, emphasising both environmental friendliness and catering to the eco-savvy shopper.

A crucial aspect is the thoughtful categorisation of green products. While the urge to group them together for a compelling narrative exists, the wisdom lies in integrating them seamlessly within their respective categories. Andrew Marley, Managing Director of Benchmark Retail Services, advises against complicating the shopper’s journey and advocates for presenting all options together within the main category.

In instances where space is a constraint, innovative solutions become imperative. Andrew suggests leveraging tools like shelf barkers, wobblers, and info-shades to convey eco credentials effectively without occupying additional space. These tools play a vital role in informing customers about recycled materials or sustainability, addressing both regular and conscious consumers.

Communication is a key factor, with the need to convey messages that resonate with shoppers. Andrew underscores the importance of avoiding overwhelming shoppers with complex statistics and instead focusing on bite-sized facts and simple messaging. An example involving Christmas lights illustrates how conveying the cost of using LED lights daily over the holiday season can be a straightforward yet effective way to connect with consumers during the cost-of-living crisis.

Staff training emerges as a valuable strategy to enhance communication. Equipping teams with key facts and a few simple green tips fosters an environment where staff can relay pertinent information to customers. Balancing the understanding that green products may carry a premium with emphasizing their benefits makes for an approachable and effective engagement.

Collaboration with suppliers becomes pivotal. While suppliers actively promote their products, the insights from store staff, positioned at the forefront, are invaluable. Garden centres, by sharing observations and suggestions for improvements, can influence the design of units entering stores, thereby enhancing the overall shopping experience.

Innovative merchandising practices, as Andrew emphasizes, can break the monotony of standard displays. Creativity in grouping products together to generate linked sales or creating room sets aligned with marketing campaigns offers a fresh and engaging in-store experience.

Considering the ecological footprint of merchandising practices is equally vital. Andrew advocates for viewing display units as lasting assets rather than disposable items. The challenge of waste management in busy retail operations is acknowledged, but the call is to reconsider the lifespan of promotional units and explore sustainable options, such as re-usable units made from metal.

In essence, the success of garden retail lies in the intersection of effective merchandising, clear communication, collaboration with suppliers, creativity in-store displays, and a commitment to sustainable practices. As the industry evolves, the adaptability and responsiveness of garden centres to these principles become paramount, ensuring a flourishing future for the sector.


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