Those grower retailers who have holiday shops have figured out how to keep sales and traffic high from October to Christmas. Come January, however, the store is dead.
Wingard’s Market in Lexington, S.C., developed a program a few years ago to lure customers back to the story post holidays and make them happy about doing so. After all, many casual gardeners feel guilty about throwing away a living plant, even if it is a poinsettia. Wingard’s gives them a way to get rid of their poinsettia guilt-free and drive sales during the slowest time of the year.
A few years ago, Wingard’s owner Wally Steinhauser implemented a poinsettia trade-in program. Customers bring in their poinsettias during the two weeks after Christmas and trade them for a nice 4-inch primrose (400 were purchased at $2 each for the promotion). The poinsettias are discarded and the pots are cleaned and reused in a Kid’s Day event in April.
All 400 primroses were quickly distributed (and 300 additional poinsettias were collected after they ran out). Better yet, 73 percent of the primroses went to new customers that weren’t already in the Wingard’s customer database. While Steinhauser isn’t sure the garden center saw a ton of incremental sales directly due to the promotion, they did add nearly 300 names to the mailing list in their POS to reach with future promotional opportunities.
“Its funny, once we started it, each year, people call or come in to ask, or just bring those poinsettia’s in and leave them in our parking lot. We use the pots to plant tomatoes in for our Kid’s Day event, in April,” Steinhauser says.