6 April 2020
The garden industry is not well-known to be the most forward-thinking industry out there. Many stores are still struggling to manage their IT systems and only the front leaders are running successful webshops. But the corona crisis also shows the other side of the industry: there’s no lack of creativity to keep the business running, even in these challenging times.
We’ll share a few examples with you. One of your peers might inspire you to boost your own garden centre!
Garden centre Leurs in Venlo (the Netherlands) opened a drive-through on its’ parking. Customers can drive along a huge selection of plants, explain the team of Leurs what they want and can pay via a PIN terminal - without leaving their car. It helps to attract customers who don’t want to go in-store and is perhaps the healthiest drive-through you can visit!
The impact of corona also has an impact on garden centres in the US. To keep their event program running, Rockledge Gardens (Florida) is selling boxes with tools customers need to participate in events.
After picking up the box, customers can log in to follow an online webinar. It’s by far the best solution we’ve seen to keep the event program running!
Photo: Rockledge Gardens
Open a webshop!
UK and Belgian Garden Connect customers were stunned when they learned they had to close their garden centre just days before the Spring season started. The timing couldn’t have been worse. With stores stocked up as much as possible, closing down means many centres are struggling to sell some of their inventory.
Many UK centres were able to launch delivery services within days and are taking orders by phone or e-mail. We noticed the popularity: customers are calling so frequently many garden centres can’t be reached by phone, even for suppliers like us!
Some centres immediately launched webshops. That’s exactly what we did for Lacoste Garden Centre in Winnipeg: within 8 days after approval, their webshop was launched and over 15 orders were taken within the first 24 hours.
Use Facetime to take orders
Some centres are even more creative and are using Facetime to take orders. Customers are asked to call the staff and while walking around, the staff is writing down everything the customer wants.
Although we don’t think it’s the most efficient way of taking orders, at least it’s innovative!
Sell via marketplaces
The last week, we’ve integrated many webshops with platforms like Amazon. Selling on Amazon has pros and cons, but the main reason for retailers to do this just now is to get rid of some stock. Every piece sold means there’s cash in hand for the months to come. And even with the commission Amazon is taking, it’s possible to be profitable.
Some webshops we’ve integrated got their first orders minutes after finishing the integration: that’s a good sign of how many people are shopping online!
So yes, times are challenging. But garden centres are showing their flexibility and many are able to recover some of the revenue they are losing while being closed down. It won’t make up the horrible start of the season but it also shows every crisis gives opportunities.
Do you want to learn how we can help you to increase your online sales via webshop? Contact us via +44 203 475 5541 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
PS. Although we like to see garden centres trying to service their customers, it’s more important to safe and protect the loved ones around us by staying at home and keeping everyone at a secure distance.