Friday, April 17, 2009

What Not To Do

OK, I realize it’s April. It’s not like it’s Mother’s Day. But we’ve been popping in to a few local garden centers recently and I’m not liking what I’m seeing. Or rather, what I’m not seeing.

I’m not seeing clean floors, or wide aisles. I’m not getting asked if I can be helped, and in one case I seriously questioned whether the garden center was even open.

It’s going to be 70 degrees here on Saturday, and these retailers should be hopping. But if customers question whether the store is open, I’m not sure they’ll be reaping the benefits of our good weather.

There are things to be done in April, even in Cleveland. Early baskets full of pansies should be flying out the doors, especially after the long and dreary winter we’ve had. So here are the don’ts I’ve come across recently:

  • Don’t barrage your customer with product at the door. I walked into one retailer recently and instantly didn’t know where to go or what to do - there was product all around and I didn’t inspect any of it.
  • Don’t hide what your customers need this spring. I saw a display (if you could call it that) of garden fencing leaning up against the wall at one retailer. With herbs and veggies exploding this spring, this stuff needs to be cross-merchandised with your edibles and not in the same place it’s taken up residence the last five years.
  • Don’t push your benches so close together only one person can walk through at a time and call yourself a garden retailer. How do you expect me to shop this? If I can’t get a cart through, I’m only buying as many plants as I can hold - and without getting dirty I’m going to say that’s two.
  • Don’t try to sell product that’s faded, torn, worn, out of the package or just plain dirty. I’ve seen an awful lot of that in the last week, and I wonder why you think I’d want to buy a product that looks five years old.

OK, that’s it for now. I’ll be working on my new bird sanctuary this weekend, so I’m sure I’ll be stopping at more retailers.

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