Anticipate !

Anticipate? With price rises, uncertainties and doubts about the future of our society, consumers are sitting on their hands. But fortunately, we have already experienced this kind of situation... And in such cases, the rule is to go back to basics... Time to get to work!

It’s no secret that in the wake of the COVID period, which was a bumper period for gardening, the situation has become much more difficult.
Gone are the queues at the till for vegetable seedlings and seeds to improve or create their first vegetable patch.
Gardening and retail in general are having to face up to tougher times.
In 2023, the consumer price index rose by 5.9% in France (Insee).
The second quarter was a little less severe, but all the same... The damage has been done and consumers are making choices. Non-essential products, in areas such as gardening or homewares, could see a significant drop.
According to the consultancy Altares, mass retail recorded a record number of business failures in the second quarter of 2023, the worst figure for ten years.
It may be hard to accept, but as the old-timers would say, "we've seen it all before".
By using our “feet on the ground” common sense, and the dynamism so characteristic of our market’s players, we can get through this!

Special offers and pricing
Topping the list of actions to put in place is sales momentum.
Garden centres do not have a culture of spontaneous promotion. We give priority to quality, and believe that our customers will do the rest by choosing the right retail chain. In these more troubled times, however, we need to make the most of our capacity to reduce margins to avoid being left behind by the competition. We must 'dare' to cut prices on some 20/80s, and we have the means to do so.
It's not a question of wiping out the entire department margin, but rather of providing targeted offerings that are simply unbeatable.
By working together with producers, we can offer attractive prices. In the run-up to the JdC, it's time to prepare your questions... and your answers... to meet the expectations of our increasingly cautious customers.
Together, we can find the right solutions to meet consumers' demands while preserving our companies' businesses.

Dialogue is more important than ever!

Availability and advice
Once they're in the shop, our customers always need help and advice. The more technical the product, such as gardening and plants, the more it makes sense to provide support.
With staff cuts, the time we spend with our clients is mathematically decreasing!
Increasingly, the inevitable question is: "What's more important: having a clean shop or satisfying our customers' needs? Over time, we come to believe that if the shop is clean, our customers will be happy. The time spent talking to the customer becomes a burden for the salesperson, who has to finish his or her display as quickly as possible.
The choice between cleanliness and commerce is a difficult one...
Being available for people has become rare, as has the spontaneous "hello"... However, it is this time spent and our salespeople's technical knowledge that will help them stand apart from our mainstream competitors.
It's up to the manager to find the right mix. It's the manager who encourages his or her staff to build closer relationships with the enthusiasts and novices who frequent our points of sale.
With more available teams, our customers will rediscover the pleasure of buying from our stores!

Whatever sales strategy we choose, whether it's cleanliness, the welcome, customer greeting, depth of range, technology... on order to be noticed, we have to be remarkable. I have no doubt that in a few weeks' time, at the JdC in Marseille, there will be constructive discussions on sourcing the right products to meet new consumer expectations and finding the most "remarkable" partnerships possible!

By Roland Motte