Supplier supported training events around the UK next February and early March will help garden centres target, educate and communicate effectively to new and existing customers to maximize sales of plants, seeds, bulbs, garden sundries, irrigation and bird care.
The key aims of the training are to increase footfall and average spend, particularly in core gardening, via as many channels as possible, and garden centres will be provided with full training and a range of materials to make this simple and practical
The one day training events will cover:
- Reasons why sales of core garden products and many plants are nowhere near their full capacity despite potential customer demand
- How to target customers of all ages and abilities by various means, both internally and externally
- Training on appropriate plant and product groups with quick and easy references
- Tips on identifying needs, anticipating and overcoming obstacles to buying
- Ideas to help increase the average spend
- Thinking outside the box to sell even more effectively
- Keeping it cohesive to make the most of all resources and opportunities
- Making it happen in the garden centre in a strategic, sustainable and realistic way
As well as enhancing staff product knowledge and selling skills there will be significant focus on marketing, inspiring and educating customers and raising overall awareness via materials supplied. The course is intended for planteria and sundries staff, owners, managers and marketing staff and centres will gain the maximum benefits if each area is represented so that they can coordinate the various tips and resources effectively once back at their businesses.
Delegates will be provided with a range of useful materials including:
Two re-usasble wallplanners per delegate, one of which will be blank and the other part completed with month by month suggestions for
- Hotspot stock items
- Signage ideas to enhance sales
- Marketing, PR and social media suggestions
- Staff training topics in line with (course notes and appendices supplied)
- Display ideas
- Other promotional activities
These will all dovetail with each other for maximum benefit. Many suggestions for Tweets and Facebook posts by month will be given in the course notes, in addition to general monthly gardening tips so that there will be a substantial pool of useful data which could be used for signage, on websites, for social media activity and general e-marketing.
Useful reference material for staff and customers:
- Vegetable seed sowing and harvesting calendars highlighting key attributes such as value for money, easy to grow, great taste/gourmet
- Flower sowing calendar highlighting aspects such as easy to grow, attracts bees/butterflies
- Bulb planting calendar, highlighting kley benefits
- Fruit trees and bushes for small spaces
Memory sticks with:
- Course presentation in pdf format including display and merchandising ideas for future reference
- Images for use with social media campaigns
Text for consumer factsheets, uploading to websites etc:
- Organic gardening
- Growing fruit and vegetables in small gardens
- Efficient use of water in the garden
- Bird care throughout the year
Key supporting companies include Bayer Garden, Gardman, Hozelock, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and Mr Fothergills. Other suppliers supporting the initiative include Agralan, Maxicrop, Neudorff and Taylors Bulbs.
Liz Hutson, the course trainer and organiser, commented: “Whilst many garden centres have an amazing catering offer and attractive indoor and outdoor lifestyle departments, plants and core garden products remain something of a mystery to many customers.
"A great deal of work and thought has been put into the course content and materials to give garden centres everything they need to join the dots in terms of internal and external marketing, staff knowledge and reference materials, enhanced selling skills and customer education.
"Whilst many other departments may be peaking in terms of potential there is still a long way to go in order to make the most of the sales opportunities in core gardening in most centres.
"Improving product knowledge and increasing staff confidence and awareness has been demonstrated to have a marked impact on the bottom line, and if this is combined with better internal and external communication with the consumer it can only enhance sales further and help centres make the most of every square metre of selling space.”
2016 Training dates and venues:
- Maidstone – 16th February (Marriott Tudor Park)
- Guildford – 18th February (Barnett Hill Hotel and Conference Centre)
- Cambridge – 23rd February (Menzies Hotel)
- Birmingham – 25th February (Holiday Inn)
- Chester – 29th February . (Carden Park Hotel)
- Perth – 2nd March (Murrayshall House Hotel)
Prices per delegate start at £70 plus VAT depending on numbers per centre and if the £10 per delegate early bird booking applies. This includes a hot, two course lunch, refreshments and all course materials
The HTA will be mailing out course details and booking forms to members. Garden centres may also book direct through course organiser Liz Hutson (01531 631592, firstname.lastname@example.org) or online (www.bookwhen.com/growprofits)