2 November 2021

The Christmas season has started with an uptick in online sales: John Lewis reported in early September their sales were already 1,300% up compared to 2020 and the Christow webshop reported an increase of sales of 570%. Christmas started early this year - and Christmas started online. 

But how can garden centres benefit from the shift in consumer behaviour? And what opportunities are available online? Garden Connect gives you 3 easy-to-apply tips to boost your Christmas sales.

1. Shortages are pushing demand

Many of our customers reported shortages: some containers won’t be in till late November, other items won’t come at all. That’s a challenge but also creates the opportunity to apply one of the 6 principles of Cialdini: scarcity. And scarcity helps to boost online sales.

Make your webshop communicate clearly:

  • If you have an item in stock
  • When it’s possible to get it delivered to the front door of the customer
  • The location of your centre for click & collect orders

According to Google, 70% of UK consumers are open to buying from retailers they haven’t shopped with before: if you have products, you should be able to get some of them to come to your garden centre or webshop.

And what if your containers are still stuck on a container ship or at customs? An automated stock notification will help to inform customers as soon as your stock is replenished. Ask your account manager at Garden Connect for more info. 

2. The 50 to 64-year-olds are driving online sales

Do you think millennials are pushing online sales of artificial Christmas trees? Think again. According to a survey of GFK, 19% of the artificial trees sold in the age group 50-64 is sold online.

The reason why they buy online is the convenience of delivery: boxes with artificial trees tend to be quite heavy. By ordering online, they don’t have to carry the box all over your car park nor do they have to take it from their trunk to their living room (and we have to assume their trunk is spacious enough for the box in the first place!)

41% of consumers consider the option for delivery an important reason to buy online. Other reasons why this age group is shipping online:

  • Reluctance to visit stores due to Covid-19 (54%)
  • Convenience (42%)
  • Easier to find a specific product (27%)
  • Price (27%)

But apart from selling trees online, there’s another lesson you can learn from this survey: if so many people struggle carrying a box, why don’t you let them buy artificial trees in-store and deliver them to your customers later on? Apparently, customers don’t fancy carrying heavy boxes and who can blame them?

3. Christmas villages are still popular

Who doesn’t fancy looking at the Lemax villages in garden centres? Lemax and similar brands have a huge group of enthusiastic fans. We’ve reported before, those fans start looking online early: the number of Lemax-related search queries on Google has a low late May, but starts rising as soon as the summer kicks in.

The peak is reached in the first week of December when people are finishing their Christmas village and want to have a new centrepiece to top it off.

But how can you benefit from this ever-growing trend? Here are a few tips:

  • Many of the Lemax buildings do have lights & sounds. But unless you display a video, your customers won’t know what lights and sounds it has. Be sure to embed YouTube videos to boost your online sales.
  • Every brand has multiple themes and fans usually prefer one theme over another. Make sure it’s easy to filter on themes.
  • It’s all about the price and many retailers offer combo deals on Lemax. We don’t like it, but if you want to sell these kinds of products online you’d better keep an eye on the price your competitors are asking for their products.
  • Make the link between the product & your garden centre. Consumers are looking a lot online but who doesn’t fancy a day out to see a nice Christmas village in a garden centre? Make sure you promote your centre on every page of your webshop.
  • And last but not least: it’s not over till it’s over. We know many of our customers are sending out a newsletter on Boxing day to promote the start of their Lemax-sales. Some centres even start at midnight and yes, customers are buying at midnight to secure a good deal - even during Christmas!

Online Christmas shopping

Consumer behaviour keeps changing and the internet will play a more prominent role in 2021 and the years to come. But not just to buy online: customers want to know what stock you have and what they can expect if they pay you a visit.

Make sure you’re ready to answer their questions to boost online sales & in-store footfall. 

Online Christmas for garden retail industry
Edwin Meijer

This article is written by:

Edwin Meijer

Marketing director

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