June July 2018

colorad o nga.org LooseLeaf June/July 2018 8 Make Your Customers into Heroes—They’ll be Back Every Season By Rachel Guttman, MBA, Online Marketing Expert, SCORE Colorado Springs In either busy or slow seasons, merchandising is paramount. Offering seasonal products and displaying them attractively and in a way that demonstrates the value of a product makes it easy to shop. There are two ways to earn more revenue: 1) find new customers and sell them your products, and 2) sell more products to your existing customers. One marketing strategy may include featuring desirable products in advertisements to get people in the door in the hopes that they see something else they’d like and purchase additional products. During any season, garden centers are providing a depth of knowledge and breadth of products that customers cannot get at a big box retail location like Walmart or Lowe’s. Demonstrating this difference is critically important for the sustained life of a retail location. During slow seasons, garden centers may rely heavily on the knowledge base of their employees, holding specialized workshops and demonstrations with tips for all levels of gardeners. In the age of “I’ll just Google it,” offer something people cannot simply Google to find the answer. Be the gardening resource for your customers by having your staff tach a skill, or bring in a local expert to lead the class. Give something away during your event. And go for it—do not say you’ll put on an event and not invite people nor put money behind promoting it. Different seasons may attract different demographics, but do not change your brand or the value you bring customers. Consider taking inventory of who comes in during different seasons and what their needs might be. Targeting different customer demographics might be more investment than return because acquiring a new customer re- quires education and brand awareness. Studies show it can take seven to nine times of exposure before a customer makes a purchase deci- sion. Likely, an existing customer is an easier sell and less investment. Will Knowles, CCNP, General Manager, Creek Side Gardens The big summer color of bright annuals Lavender Festival at Creek Side Gardens Photos courtesy of Creek Side Gardens