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How To Create Displays In The Garden Center

Posted by Angela Jackson

Creating Attractive, Yet Effective Product Displays in Garden Centers

Attractive product displays can entice shoppers in, welcome a season, announce new items
or promote slow moving ones. Successful retailers tailor their designs to appeal to current customers while attracting new customers.  The display is there to create an environment that will inspire consumers and reflect the positive attributes that our industry offers.  Garden  Center retailers rely on the visual impact of garden displays to generate sales.  It is important to not let the display overshadow the product. 

Enhance your customer’s journey into your garden center by utilizing the flow of traffic.  Studies have shown that most people naturally look left first, then right as they enter a store.  Shoppers usually prefer to move right and walk counter-clockwise.  Wider aisles set up on the right can prompt shoppers to navigate to the right.

garden center plant display

Spaces must be designed to promote an enjoyable, hassle-free experience.  Aisle ways need to be large enough for customers to maneuver without difficulty.  

Many of the same principles used in landscape design, Unity, Simplicity, Transition, Balance,
Color, Line, Proportion and Repetition, can be used to create effective merchandise displays in your garden center, nursery or greenhouse.  Well designed landscaped beds at the outside entrance can be the first experience for your customer that captures attention and piques curiosity.   An illusion of depth can be created through color.  Lighter colors seem to be farther away, dark colors tend to look closer.  A display garden at your nursery can be an effective tool in the sales process to sell more plants, or to promote your design/build services.

A store front with windows is one of the most proven forms of advertising. Windows are the
eyes of your store; they should tell a story and entices the customer inside.  One design technique, Transition, can be used to invite customers in.  Create multi-layered colorful plant designs inside the windows using hanging baskets, benches and designer containers in different sizes.  The best way transition can be achieved is by the gradual, ascending or descending arrangement of different elements with varying textures, forms, colors, or sizes.

There are many ways to build beautiful displays indoors or outdoors using basic merchandising elements.  Note in the picture below how a mirror is used in a back corner of a display area to give the illusion of depth.

  plant display using a mirror

Elements of Effective Visual Merchandising:

  • Balance-Asymmetrical rather than symmetrical balance of display.
  • Size of Objects-Largest objects should be placed first.
  • Color-Sets mood and feelings
  • Focal Point-This is where the product and signage and background come together.
  • Lighting-Should accent focal point.
  • Simplicity-Less is more; don’t add too many items.

Up front, use lower shelving units with shorter pegs and narrower shelves.   This gives the look the store is full without stocking too much merchandise.  Also, customers can see farther into the sales area.  An eye-catching display of bright colors in the front of your garden center should make customers slow down.  Shoppers can stop to touch and smell fragrant foliage or flowers.  Scents can remind shoppers of happy times in their lives.  An appealing display can be created using a single color theme to grab attention and communicate your store’s image. 
Placing a compelling display at the end of an aisle will better lead shoppers farther into your store. Pictured belowrows of brightly colored flowers leads shoppers through a gate and across a driveway to another display area.

displaying plants on shelves

A prominent focal point near the center of your business will draw your patrons toward it as they navigate through sections of plants for sale.  Use this display to resemble a focal point within an actual garden.  Use unusual foliage, exfoliating bark, fragrant plants and colorful flower in your displays the way you do in a landscape design.

plant display with a focal point

A long aisle can lead customers to a new department laid out perpendicular to other racks.  Aisles that are laid out parallel to the store’s wall are most efficient.  Retailers can create more visual interest by placing aisles at an angle.   Whatever design you choose, remember to keep them wide enough for ease of navigation.  Create breaks in aisles.  Uninterrupted aisles don’t get people’s attention; merchandise can be skipped over.

Studies have shown that people are attracted to round and u-shapes.  Get people to stop at a display by arranging tables into a u-shape.  These make shoppers want to stop and enter the space, which some see as a person extending their arms for a hug. Areas where plants are displayed utilize tables at different heights to accommodate varying container sizes. There must be areas to accommodate the proper sun exposure and water needs for plants.  Design sitting areas that offer shoppers a place to rest.  Remember to not clutter benches that are intended for sitting with displays.

 u shape plant display

Integrate elements like backyard wildlife, patio pavers and water features into your displays that tie in those departments from your store.  Companion products such as fertilizer and pest-control products can be incorporated in plant displays as long as they do not distract from the featured item. Group plants together that have similar cultural requirements such as light, water and fertilizer needs.

To encourage repeat customers, displays should be changed often, at least once each season.  Keep customers coming back by providing a fresh experience.

A special Thank You to Bowood Farms of St. Louis, MO for allowing me to take pictures of their display areas.

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