Analyzing Usage And Needs For Spring
Before you lock up the garden center untill spring or leave on that vacation, take some time to plan next year. Late fall is a great time to prepare for the crazy spring that will be here before you know it. Brainstorm with your sales team- what worked well, what didn’t go over well, how can you improve certain events, what are some new things you can do to draw customers into your location etc.
- What is the appearance of you garden center?
Is it time for a major remodel or is it time for a GOOD cleaning, a little paint and new displays? Take a close look at the sign out by the road is it fresh looking or tired and weathered. Service any equipment and detail them while you are at it.
- Check out the product line-
Do you base your orders on previous years sales? Read garden magazines to find the new trends, listen to ideas from vendor sales reps., read gardening blogs. Make sure you are stocked on items that are trending and in the color of the year.
Monaco Blue is the color of the year, look for it in flags, pots, flowers, gloves, boots and accessories.
Take time to check all vendor acknowledgements against orders placed for out of stock surprises. How many items have price increases that must be passed on to customers?
What other things influence the cost of goods (are you watching freight). Adjust orders as soon as possible for better availability.
Make a list of any new items to be on the look out for. Ask your sales representatives for ideas on where to locate them.
- Update your product manuals-
Draw up the schedule for what promotions are running and when? What items are being promoted? What is new? Contact your venders for providing any fliers on the new items. Schedule your advertisements for the news paper, radio, postcards, etc. And don't forget your plan for social media marketing.
- Classes for your customers?
Time to plan out winter and spring seminar topics. Your venders are always willing to help you with topics, litature, giveaways, and personal to talk.
- Analyze labor needs-
Did you have enough help? Are they coming back? What areas could they be better trained in? When should you run ads for help and are the ads ready? Set some goals for the year and let your sales staff in on them. Give them something to strive for with a reward at the end.
- Winter trade shows-
Pick shows which have good educational programs, new items to explore, convenient for travel and benefits your employees. These are great for networking with garden centers/ landscapers out of your area. Most of them are more than willing to share what works for them and what doesn’t. You might just be amazed at what you can learn from some one you share a table with at lunch! Some of the trade shows bring in national known speakers, very successful garden center/ landscape company owners. Some growers showcase their new plants, others have show specials to save you money. It’s a great place to notice trends and to spark your imagination. As an extra bonus the host hotel is usually pretty nice by offering discounted rooms, so use it as a much needed get away!
- Relax- you've earned it!
Work in some time off with either a vacation or incorporate a trade show with a couple days relaxation. As Mother Nature proved, she decides when it’s spring!