Promotions - do they work?

Promotions - Do they work?

Are they cost effective?



We at Garden Retail Success work closely with many garden centres in several countries. With those we work with there are always some who are proactive and at the leading edge with ideas, and some slower to adopt for a variety of reasons.

A9-Verbenas-signsml.jpgEarlier this year we had an experience with a garden centre owner who had rarely participated in group promotions, questioned they were worth the effort and doubted they worked. His store is located in a small provincial city in a reasonably remote location.

A situation arose where the garden centre ordered twenty five quince trees by mistake. There had been an opportunity to purchase a few in a group deal but they had never sold any previously nor been asked for them in the past. They realised they had made an error in the order. They meant to order two! How on earth would they sell twenty five quince trees.

Because of their location, returning them to the supplier was not an option, hence the only solution – promote them and try to sell them. Using a newsletter to their data base, an article was written about the benefits and uses of Quinces and their place in history. A sign featuring Quinces was placed at the entrance to the garden centre and the trees were featured prominently in the centre and well signed. Three weeks later there were only two left.

Our man was now warming to promotions and by this time it was late summer, the quietest trading month of the year. What to try next?

The garden centre offers an onsite garden advice service priced at $15 for up to one hour which is refundable if the customer purchases plants. Results had seen a steady reliable stream of customers for the service, mainly in the busy months, with each customer resulting in $500 plus worth of sales. Why not try promoting this service in the quiet month of late summer?

Once again a special offer was promoted in their email newsletter offering the garden advice service free for the month. Thirty customers responded which is a good result for this small provincial garden centre. Each of the thirty spent the normal $500 plus as a result of the service. And all sales were at full price – it did not need a discount to make the sale.

The owner is extremely happy with the result and hastens to add the additional spin off benefits:
  • The garden centre develops a close relationship with the customer.
  • When the customer visits the store, he / she is known to the staff by name.
  • The customer feels good at being able to discuss their garden with the person who has seen it and given advice.
  • The garden centre has another very loyal customer.

Another retailer who is now a ‘promotions’ convert. This is just one small example of two simple ideas that got a garden centre out of a tight spot through the use of a proven retail technique to increase sales.

Bill Brett

Read our bulletin Implementing Successful Promotions, and get in touch with us if you would like help.