Maximising sales and promotional opportunities during the Easter period
Because Easter weekend is one of the busiest periods of the year for garden centre retailers, businesses that make a successful Easter promotional effort can generate a significant boost in sales figures.
However, there are several challenges which garden centre retailers face in planning and executing a successful Easter promotion. Some retailers may be stretched to capacity by the footfall they already see over the Easter weekend. Other retailers may need to innovate to attract customers for whom the traditional beginning of the gardening season is not a draw.
Sponsor an event
Many garden centres are stretched to capacity over the Easter weekend and can't spare staff and other resources to run a promotional event. If you don't have the time or resources to host an event in-store, an easy alternative is to sponsor an Easter event in your local community. Many schools and local organisations hold Easter egg-hunts and other fundraising events. You might be able to supply a prize or other resource, and in return get some great brand-boosting exposure at a key time of year.
Focusing your promotional efforts online is another way to make the most of your resources. Social media allows you to reach younger customers, who are less likely to be coming for the start of the season. Take your egg-hunt online by hiding colourful eggs around your website or in your social media content. Don't forget to be egg-stravagant with your egg puns.
Many garden centre retailers already enjoy heavy footfall and a festive atmosphere over the Easter weekend. An Easter-themed event can be a great complement to the existing fun, as well as drawing in customers who aren't enticed by the traditional beginning of the gardening season, like families with young children.
Customer spending on Easter-related products (above all chocolate!) has steadily increased over the last decade, and Easter is fast becoming one of the most profitable promotional opportunities in the retail calendar.
Seasonal promotions are great for boosting sales, and just as importantly, they foster a sense of community amongst your customers, encouraging them to think of your store as a living place where the changing of the seasons matter and something is always happening. This creates long-term loyalty even amongst customers who aren't tempted by the added value of a promotion.
The classic Easter event is, of course, the egg hunt, and few retail spaces are better set-up for egg hunts than garden centres. However, you can do more to boost sales by thinking creatively. Instead of an egg hunt for kids, why not have an egg hunt for adults? Place egg stickers on promotional items to encourage your customers to seek out discounts or create a scavenger hunt with clues that encourage customers to explore your store, learn about your brand and share their experience on social media.
For garden centres, an Easter bonnet-making is the perfect promotional event: it brings customers in store and also encourages them to explore your product-range. Offer a prize for the best bonnet—or better yet, offer a prize for the best picture of a bonnet to encourage customers to interact with your brand on social media and create great marketing content. Bonnet-making is a perfect family event, but craft-based events are increasingly popular with adults. You could also capitalise on this with an egg-painting competition.
The beginning of spring can also be a great time to sell left-over winter stock at a heavy discount, as a further enticement to get customers through the door.
Baskets of bundled items are a great Easter promotion: woven baskets are a traditional Easter symbol, and you can make your baskets even more event-specific by bundling Easter- or Spring-themed items.
For many people—especially families with young children—the focus of Easter is chocolate. Lots of garden centre retailers already stock chocolate treats, and it's not necessary to stock chocolate eggs instead: just create an Easter display with your existing stock.
Planning your promotion
The key to choosing the right promotion is to know what you want to achieve and to be realistic about your resources. For instance, some businesses do not allow exchanges during the promotional period to free up staff to make sales. It doesn't affect customers' statutory rights, but it will need to be clearly explained at the point of purchase.
Short, sharp promotions are most effective for many businesses. Target a single day, or even a morning, when you want to see increased footfall and more conversions and focus your promotional efforts there. Actively challenge yourself with important questions, such as why aren't people coming in the same numbers that day? What can you do to reverse that trend?