29 October 2020
In a normal year, consumers would start to flock to garden centres by now to get inspired by Christmas displays, have afternoon tea and rush to register for events and Grottos. But 2020 isn’t a normal year so garden centres (and we at Garden Connect) need to adapt to a new reality. How will customers do their Christmas shopping during a lockdown?
Its likely customers will spend more money online than they did before. Just like the Spring season, there’s a lot of pressure in the UK & abroad to stay at home, work from home, have dinner at home and have a Christmas holiday at home.
And what do people do when they are stuck at home? They shop online. Many garden centres had to temporarily suspend their webshops during the Spring season and we think that will happen to a lesser degree in the weeks to come.
Google surveyed US consumers recently and half of the US shoppers said they would stick to online shopping rather than visiting stores. That’s challenging for garden centres who want to inspire customers during the Christmas season.
Consumers plan ahead online
Do we think garden centres will remain empty during the busiest weeks of the season? No of course not. In fact, since garden centres have a lot of floor space, we think garden centres can be a safe place to visit. And with many pubs and restaurants closed, it’s one of the few places you can visit to relax.
But shoppers will stay less long in your centre. According to the same survey of Google, 67% of the shoppers will plan ahead before visiting your garden centre. They will check items and offers online before they are visiting your store. It makes shopping a bit more pragmatic and less fun (although i’m sure some men won’t feel very upset about this!).
Click & collect
Another trend we’ve seen during Spring is the rise of Click & Collect. Yes, we know you didn’t have any other options to sell products in the Spring during a lockdown (apart from deliveries) but Click & Collect will be popular in the upcoming weeks again.
In fact, 47% of the consumers answered they would use a form of Click & Collect to do their Christmas shopping.
We think Click & Collect can be very useful for garden centres since some of the products are hard to ship. A few years ago, we set up a webshop to sell real Christmas trees nationwide and although shipping isn’t that complicated, quality issues were giving garden centre headaches. Since then, they’ve used Click & Collect and local deliveries and managed to grow their business significantly! The picture below shows an example of Click & Collect, our client Frosts Garden Centre is ready for this season!
What to do?
We recommend that you make sure your real & artificial Christmas trees are all available online. If you don’t want to sell online, at least make sure customers can check your availability. The upcoming Christmas season will be very different than the previous years and having a proper online presence isn’t a luxury: it’s a necessity.
This article is written by:Edwin Meijer
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