On this second working day of 2016 I want to give you 4 keywords which will be key in 2016. In random order:
On Christmas eve I visited my own local church: not for the regular Christmas Mass, no, even my own church realised they had to add some more ambiance to this tradition to get people back into the church. That's why they had a "Christmas Spectacular" with an original role-play of the Christmas Night via the smartphone, presented by local youths and told by the priest. The result: a loaded church including many children and millenials and a lot of positive comments.
So if even my old-fashioned church is successfully transforming their mass to something with more ambience which makes it an experience you can't stay behind can you? Experience is the number 1 keyword for 2016. Be sure you don't end up as "one-of-a-dozen" retailers since it will be the beginning of the end.
2. Big data
The days only big retailers were able to use big data are finally over. By using big data you can contact the customer at the right moment with the right information.
During the last month we've sent thousands of consumers tips on how to set up and care for their Christmas tree. If they followed the tips they didn't had a wooden pole without needles in their living room because the tree had enough time to acclimatise in their shed, was given enough water and wasn't placed next to the heating. Common sense for you but consumers spending £50 for a tree might not know this and will be disappointed if they do end up with a wooden pole without needles in their living room!
One simple e-mail solves the problem but you have to use big data to send the right e-mail at the right moment.
Thankfully I'm still part of this group aged between 17 and 34 years old so I'm happy to announce from 2017 & onwards millennials can spend more money than their parents do! It's important to prepare yourself for those super-spenders in your garden centre.
After the most logical things to do to get in touch with them (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) you have to consider scheduling workshops and events as well. I can tell you a lot more but it's way easier to read this article to update yourself. After reading you'll realise having a Facebook page is not enough to seduce me to spend my money at your centre. Prepare yourself in 2016 to make money in 2017 & onwards.
4. Have fun!
This is my own keyword for 2016. Since we started Garden Connect back in 2002 we made a lot of fun while developing the company and we will continue to do so in 2016. Some people make comments about the attitude of myself and the staff and wonder why we're always happy and optimistic. I think it's part of the culture within our company but it also helps we really like to do what we do!
But to be honest: within the garden industry some people spend more time on complaining than on having fun. The weather is never good, online retailers are growing too rapidly, banks aren't financing any plans and the staff complains too much to them. Well, you can't change the weather, online sales will grow in 2016 even if you complain about it, banks only finance proper business plans and you hired that staff yourself.
So my advice: keep on smiling, even when you're facing head winds. In case you won't make any profit this year you still had a lot of fun. But chances are you will make a profit with a smile. And that's something I hope you're able to make happen in this new year!
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