I know most people are up to their neck in spring and don’t have time to read my ramblings, let alone hold meetings to implement new ideas. But I wanted to record what I am seeing out there just in case some readers were able to use it to help their customers succeed — the first time. The industry is changing because the customer is changing, as my analysis of this year’s National Garden Survey data shows.
Walk any type of garden store (I’ve seen 12 in the last few days) and watch shoppers, especially the younger novices. You can see confusion bordering on panic on some customers’ faces as they read every bottle or plant label, asking each other, “what’s the difference between these two?”
They have bought into the concept of outdoor fun with the kids or healthy home-grown food, but matching the dream with reality is another matter. “Fear of failure” is the main drawback to increased garden spending at times like this.
So, keeping it brief for the busy spring season, here are some questions/queries to use for your training or critiques in the next few days:
- Do displays/signs assure first-timers (e.g., ‘Easiest succulent we carry!’)?
- Is wording simple and encouraging, or botanical and fear-inducing?
- Are there simple bundles such as “Perennial Success Kit” or “Fresh Potatoes Without Digging”?
- Are the top 15 to20 selling plants accompanied by their essential tie-in products and how-to info?
- Are guarantee signs positive and pro-customer, or defensive and pro-company?
- Is there an information desk? Is it always staffed by happy, competent people?
- Are customer success stories and reviews shared online or on site?
- Are online how-to videos promoted at the point of purchase for customers to access as they shop?
- Is there help line/website reference or at-home consultancy available for after-purchase questions?
How much money from the customer’s “Fear of Failure” is being left on your table for another year?
Let us all know how this questionnaire played out!
Reprinted from consultant Ian Baldwin’s website, with permission from Baldwin.