Track Your Social Media
by Sara Tambascio, Online Editor
Even if you don’t think you’re participating in social media, you may be.
See what people are saying about your garden center in the social network by visiting the websites SocialMention.com and BackTweets.com. Check on how productive your Twitter and Facebook efforts have been with Twitter ranker Klout.com and stats from HootSuite or Bit.ly.
Don’t Make Me Leave
by Jennifer Polanz, Editor
Here’s an idea straight from a mom’s mouth to your ear. Changing stations are a life-saver, like the one pictured (I took this at Gale’s Westlake Garden Center).
If you’re looking to capture the 30-something crowd (or even 40-somethings these days), you need to accommodate them. If they have small children, that means a changing station in your nice, comfortable restroom. I’m using my sternest mom voice on this one – don’t make me leave your garden center!
Get A Fresh Set Of Eyes
by Richard Jones, Group Editor
When we write an article for the magazine, it never goes to the printer without at least two other editors reading it.
After slaving over a feature for a few days, I’m my own worst editor. It’s amazing all of the mistakes they find and improvements they can suggest.
You can do the same thing in your garden center. Invite a friend who’s not familiar with your store to come in and walk around for an hour. Have them make notes of all the things they like, and more important, all the things they don’t: the dusty shelves, the faded signs, the hard-to-find products. Their opinions are likely the same as many first-time customers’. Insist they be brutally honest. No hurt feelings. It’s all constructive advice.
Take it from me, you’re going to learn a lot of things you overlook every day.
Take Edibles To The Next Level
by Rick Welder, Account Representative
Your customers have been to your garden center to buy tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
They’ve nurtured their garden all summer and now they’ve got an abundance of vegetables. Here’s another opportunity to bring them back in.
Become the go-to resource for preserving their harvest by hosting canning and food preservation workshops in your garden center and give them a reason to visit your store again. Start with jams made from berries in early summer, cucumbers and pickles in mid-summer and tomatoes and apples late summer to follow the season.
Jarden Home Brands, the distributor for Ball canning products, is a great resource for food preservation techniques (check out FreshPreserving.com) and can teach you how to safely preserve foods so you can pass it along to your customers.
They also have a great retail display of canning supplies (pictured) that you can merchandise and sell during the workshops.