Tina Patel, Relationship Manager at Garden Connect explains what garden centres tend to look for in a website. “When I visit an existing customer or garden centre who needs a new website, their needs and level of knowledge is always different. Some garden centres want a virtual version of their garden centre, which allows customers to feel like they are visiting the actual garden centre. There are also those who just want to provide customers with an insight in to what is available so that the customer actually visits the centre. Ultimately, the combination of online visits and footfall to the garden centre is crucial.
For garden centre websites, it is usually keen gardening enthusiasts seeking gardening information and tips. Finding out information about plants is very important, whether it’s searching on the website or on a handheld device. Garden centre staff do not always have the time or horticultural knowledge to know in-depth details about all plants. Garden Connect have created the Plantfinder to help customers. Garden centres can add the plants they sell instore so that customers can get more information on the plants. The Plantfinder also comes with professional examples of gardens with plants from the garden centres list to help inspire customers.
The website is just one way to communicate to customer and should be mobile friendly. Mobile apps are the new way of communicating. Garden centres should implement affordable solutions to reward loyalty. This has been done through reward cards over the years, which can be costly. In reality, we must ask, how many loyalty cards can a wallet or purse hold? And crucially, how can you advertise or communicate with cards that never get registered? Does the garden centre actually know who they are rewarding? The solution is the customer’s smartphone and an easy to use app. Instore promotions are a very effective way to generate more impulsive sales. Founder of Garden Connect Edwin Meijer explains how the GardenDeal app has helped retailers reward customers in garden centres. “With the use of iBeacons, retailers send customers instore discounts and coupons straight to the customers’ phone. The retailer can change these coupons at any time, so they can change offers to meet seasonality or to be integrated with instore promotions. The app is also a good tool to ensure that customers who have not visited the garden centre are still targeted”. The app works with email marketing to ensure you generate more traffic from your existing customers and by also staying in touch with less loyal customers.
So should garden retailers adapt to new technologies straight away? No, of course not. However it is important to use new technologies to move forward depending on the current state of your marketing mix, it could be a new website, webshop or app.
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