4 Stores That Get Their Customers

Jennifer Polanz

Sephora: Creating Custom Experiences

Sephora isn’t all that different from a garden center. The store carries a seemingly endless supply of beauty products, all from a variety of different vendors.

So what does Sephora do so well? It educates consumers on how to apply products in store for maximum impact. It also creates an emotional experience for shoppers, which encourages them to pay a premium price for makeup, perfume and other beauty supplies.

Samples are a huge part of Sephora’s business. It allows customers to try on products, either by themselves or with the help of associates. It has easy-to-read instructions on makeup application to take away the intimidation factor, and the handout includes space for writing down product details so customers can come back and find exactly what they need, time after time.

The Sephora model can be replicated in the garden center with mixed containers, or even small landscaping/decorating projects in which a designer helps the consumer walk through placement, plant choice and planting tips.

Anthropologie And Urban Outfitters

Apparel stores make their living telling people what to wear. But they don’t just throw the clothes out there and let customers choose. They set up mannequins and displays for a reason: Customers need help deciding how items go together, and that goes for everything from clothes to housewares and home décor.

Stores like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters take the guesswork out of apparel and home décor by displaying items color blocked so the product stands out and customers can see which colors work together. They dress mannequins complete with shoes for the outfit so customers can grab and go.

But stores like these also work hard to create an ambiance with unique fixtures that set the tone for the store. To gain a premium price, these stores have to tell a story with their products. That means no cheap-looking merchandising, a spotless store and investments in fixtures and ancillary products that set the experience (like live plants). It also means an investment into products that fit the demographic of the shopper.

It’s clear walking into Urban Outfitters that the demographic target skews much younger than Anthropologie. The feel of the store is more humorous and lighthearted (think a book called “5 Very Good Reasons To Punch A Dolphin In The Mouth”) versus the more sophisticated atmosphere of Anthropologie (books like “Vegetables From An Italian Garden”).

And while these stores, like most in retail, are faced with sluggish sales, Urban Outfitters added four new stores this year, while Anthropologie added seven.

The overall company, which also owns the Terrain independent garden center in Pennsylvania, is up in sales so far over 2010. And that means this premium brand is doing something right. Pay an Anthropologie or an Urban Outfitters a visit and see which elements you can incorporate into your own business–or your customer’s.

Crate and Barrel

Kristine Lonergan is the director of sales and marketing at Garden State Growers in New Jersey, but before venturing into floriculture she worked in marketing in the home furnishings industry. The industries have multiple parallels, she says, including the fact that both furniture and flowers are an emotional purchase. And with that emotional purchase comes an intimidation factor. At her previous job, interviewers were sent all over the country to find out what factors make people shy away from buying furniture. The main factor is the idea of making a mistake. Plants have that same mystique.

“Shopping for flowers is not a financial risk the way furniture can be, but it is still emotional,” she says. “When you start gardening it becomes more of a project; it’s all of a sudden more of a look.”

And that’s why her marketing team created a program that infused fun and whimsy into the furniture-buying process. It’s also why other companies like Crate & Barrel have done the same with lighthearted yet informative and detailed signage, appealing with displays that are color-coordinated for easy decisions. Crate & Barrel also offers helpful sales associates who are ready to match customers with the right home décor for their tastes.

The store has a wide variety of printed material available, from the general catalog to more detailed, room-specific literature. On-site designers are available to help customers coordinate colors to take away the intimidation factor.

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
Farwest2015

May 20, 2015

2015 Farwest Show Announces Second Annual Equipment Innovation Day

The second annual Equipment Innovation Day will be Tuesday, Aug. 25, prior to the 2015 Farwest show, which will be August 27-29 in Portland, Ore. Equipment Innovation Day, which was enthusiastically received in 2014, offers a real-time opportunity to see new heavy and automated nursery equipment in action. The demonstrations take place in manufacturing and nursery settings, adding value to the showcase. Attendees will be able to talk with participating manufacturers and learn first-hand from innovative growers who use the equipment in daily operations. The day-long event will be held at the main manufacturing plant of GK Machines, Inc., Donald, Ore. Further demonstrations of field equipment will take place at the nearby nursery of A&R Spada Farms, LLC. Bus travel to and from the event is planned, starting at and returning to the Oregon Convention Center. Attendees are welcome to provide their own travel to and from the site. Preregistration is required. The cost […]

Read More
Bee On Flower

May 20, 2015

White House Task Force Releases Pollinator Health Strategy

An interagency Pollinator Health Task Force commissioned by President Obama released its “Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators” on May 19. The strategy, released in accordance with the Presidential Memorandum issued last June, is accompanied by a Pollinator Research Action Plan, which outlines needs and priority actions to better understand pollinator losses and improve pollinator health. The recommended actions will be supported by a coordination of existing federal research efforts and accompanied by a request to Congress for additional resources to respond to losses in pollinator populations. Pages 47 through 52 specifically address pesticides and pollinators. The report calls out plant production, native plants, mosquito control and all urban uses in its Pollinator Action Plan. RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) says it supports the goals of improving pollinator health and habitat contained in the White House Pollinator Task Force’s release of its National […]

Read More
r3bv2 disease

May 20, 2015

SAF And AmericanHort Ask Government To Take Ralstonia Off ‘Select Agent’ List

The Society of American Florists (SAF) and AmericanHort want Ralstonia solanacearum, Race 3, Biovar 2 (R3Bv2) taken off a list of animal and plant diseases that the federal government has determined could be misused as terrorist weapons. SAF and AmericanHort submitted formal comments together on the horticulture industry’s science-backed position on the matter. According to Lin Schmale, SAF’s senior director of government relations, extensive research has proven R3Bv2 does not belong on the government’s list of animal and plant diseases that can be misused as terrorist weapons. Every two years, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requests a public review of the Select Agent list, asking for comments on whether plant or animal diseases should be taken off the current list or added to it. In the floral industry, R3Bv2 can have a devastating impact on geranium (pelargonium) crops, Schmale says, and both the potato and tomato industries also could be adversely affected by introduction […]

Read More
Latest Stories
Amy Daniel with daughters

May 20, 2015

Fall Creek Farm & Nursery’s Amy Daniel Suppor…

Amy Daniel, marketing and brand manager at Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, has a passion for marketing and branding that led her into the green industry early in her career, when she and a friend started their own agency, and she began helping her parents — then owners of a retail nursery — with marketing services. Daniel’s career in the field started in the 1980s, after she finished college with degrees in journalism and advertising. It wasn’t long before she began to feel frustrated with the status quo in the industry. She and a friend from college, agreeing there was a better way to do things, decided to start a business. “I guess now looking back, we were probably young and naive, but it all worked out really well,” Daniel says. “We started our own advertising agency/marketing and PR firm. I ran that for two decades. It was very successful.” […]

Read More
susie raker featured

May 12, 2015

Manage Costs To Increase Profitability

Business profitability and health is about more than just sales. Growers can get in trouble when they don’t look at the complete picture when it comes to cost accounting. Susie Raker Zimmerman shares how the team at C. Raker & Sons keeps costs and profits in check.

Read More
Suzi McCoy with GM Logo

May 6, 2015

Garden Media Group’s Suzi McCoy Urges Women In Horticul…

When Susan McCoy, owner of Garden Media Group, started promoting roses and shrubs for The Conard-Pyle Co. (Star Roses and Plants), she knew the horticulture industry was the right place for her. What she didn’t know was how much the journey would reshape her business for the better. Now, she encourages women in horticulture to invite others to be a part of the industry.

Read More
indoor-vertical-farm

May 5, 2015

World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Farm To Be Developed In…

A former industrial site in the Ironbound community of Newark, N.J., will be redeveloped into the world’s largest indoor vertical farm. The $30 million project was recently announced by RBH Group, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Prudential Financial Inc. and AeroFarms, in partnership with the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). The vertical farm will serve as the global headquarters for AeroFarms. “We are excited to redefine not only the Garden State but also agriculture overall,” says David Rosenberg, CEO for AeroFarms. “Partnering with RBH, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, the City of Newark and NJEDA allows us to bring our global headquarters and the world’s largest indoor vertical farm close to where the consumer is, offering a fresher, more nutritious and delicious product while also creating jobs in the community.” According to Ron Beit, founding partner and CEO of RBH Group, AeroFarms will anchor its broader Makers […]

Read More
fieldtovase

April 29, 2015

Field To Vase Dinner Tour Promotes American Grown Flowe…

For the first time last month, guests at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif. were treated to a four-course, gourmet, farm-to-fork style meal in the middle of the fields. The event was part of the 10-city Certified American Grown “Field to Vase” Dinner Tour. The tour is a series of private, intimate gatherings that place seasonal, local and sustainable American Grown flowers at the center of the table where locally grown food, beer and wine is served by a farm-to-table chef. The Flower Fields event was one of four dinners that will be held in the state this year. It featured chef Marissa Gerlach, executive chef at the Vista Valley Country Club, Vista, Calif. Mike Mellano, a third generation flower farmer with a Ph.D. in plant pathology, led guests on tours of the fields. Guests were given a floral arrangement as a symbol of the evening’s theme: Celebrating Local American […]

Read More
CrownBees_Blue-Orchard-Bee-Female_Artz

April 21, 2015

There’s Still Time Left In Crown Bees’ Camp…

There is a little more than a week left in Crown Bees’ Indiegogo fund-raising venture designed to give garden center retailers a chance to help increase awareness of native bees, and to increase the number of bees to pollinate local food. The company is raising $100,000 to redesign “Bee with Me,” a social network that connects, maps and empowers bee boosters across the U.S. Garden centers that take part in the campaign can: Be listed as a local resource for products and supplies in the online network Get access to and activate a new group of customers Be viewed as a leader in the community Be seen as a source of local expertise. Within your own store and brand, there are several ways you can also help to raise awareness about native bees, such as educating customers about the gentle nature of solitary bees. Visit CrownBees.com for some easy facts to pass […]

Read More
Todd Woodfield

April 8, 2015

Sustainable Horticulture Pays Off

Practicing holistic horticulture has saved money and improved plant quality for Abby Farms. Its manager shares where the operation has seen differences from conventional production.

Read More

April 1, 2015

Philadelphia Flower Show Draws More Than 250,000 Attend…

With more than 250,000 consumers attending the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show in March each year, it's a great opportunity to get flowers and gardening products into the public eye. This year's show displays took on family favorites at the movies, with a focus on Disney and Pixar films. Check out some of the highlights in our slideshow.

Read More

April 1, 2015

Peace Tree Farms Grows Its Customer Base

Over the past five years, Peace Tree Farms in Kintnersville, Pa., has concentrated on growing its business by providing plant material for the displays at the illustrious Philadelphia Flower Show. We caught up with Peace Tree Farms’ Lloyd Traven to ask about how the Flower Show figures into his business plan.

Read More
Bloomtown_Screen Shot 2015-03-10

March 24, 2015

Bloomtown Exposes Consumers To The World Of Horticultur…

A new web series called Bloomtown is all about the mud, sweat and tears of horticulture. Filmed in St. Louis, Mo., it chronicles the world of horticulture using local flower growers, greenhouses, wholesalers, florists, consumers, retail shops and arborists, with the goal of opening consumers’ eyes to the world of horticulture around them.

Read More
SAF CAD

March 18, 2015

Growers Ask For Immigration And Healthcare Reform Durin…

Nearly 90 growers, retailers, suppliers and wholesales attended the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 2015 Congressional Action Days March 9-10. The delegation, representing 18 states, arrived on Capitol Hill at a time when two major industry issues - immigration and healthcare reform - are especially prominent in national headlines.

Read More
Nexus Corporation's Cheryl Longtin Encourages Women To Seek Volunteer Leadership Opportunities

March 4, 2015

Nexus Corporation’s Cheryl Longtin Encourages Wom…

When Cheryl Longtin came to the horticulture business in 1994, she applied her experience in the automotive industry to promote the adoption of more technology in greenhouse production. Longtin says horticulture, with its rich family tradition, has long promoted women in the industry compared to other industries, but women in horticulture must continue to seek out opportunities to provide volunteer leadership in organizations that shape the future of the business.

Read More
Smart Herb Garden

March 2, 2015

Smartpot Uses Sensors And Cartridges To Ensure Success …

Click & Grow helps make it simple for consumers to grow their own herbs and spices at home, even if they have little experience with plants.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Student Flash Mob At TPIE Has Roots In Floriculture

The local FFA students who entertained TPIE attendees in 2014 and 2015 received industry donations of plants and a greenhouse structure to help expand their horticultural program.

Read More

February 12, 2015

GROW Perspective: What Is It You Do Again?

The industry is very good at talking about what we do and how we do it, but has almost completely lost touch with talking about why this work is important. As an industry, we need to promote our professions as vital to healthier living.

Read More
bee photo

February 11, 2015

26 Ways Growers Improve The Green Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW Initiative’s five pillars: How are you driving consumer success, cultivating new customers, demanding quality, investing in the industry and sharpening business management? Through your candid responses, we learned about some of the ideas you’ve implemented and steps you’re taking for 2015. Here are just a few.

Read More
Noble Foundation

February 3, 2015

Lloyd Noble Scholars Program Application Period Now Ope…

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation is offering college students an opportunity to work side-by-side with the Noble Foundation’s renowned agricultural consultants and researchers through the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program, a summer internship that provides students the opportunity to enhance their in-class education with real-world application and experiences.

Read More

January 7, 2015

GROW Summit 2014 Homes In On The Issues That Keep You U…

During Greenhouse Grower’s third annual GROW Summit in December a number of ideas, questions and calls-to-action transpired. Here are a few of the highlights.

Read More