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Impulse Buys and Effective Displays

Making the POP! Work in Your Business

When a garden center is a member of a state, regional, or national association and wins an award, it is not because they have more sales volume than anyone else. The same is true for awards given by wholesalers and growers.

Ask a consumer why they shop for live goods and supplies at a particular garden center and again, it will not be because that shop has more sales volume.

Instead the associations, wholesalers, growers and customers, they all give awards based upon the way the business looks and operates. The term, POP is often used. POP is an acronym for point of purchase. The point of purchase is the place where the customer is deciding to buy.

The awards given by organizations are usually plaques and citations that look good hanging on the walls of your business. The award given by customers is called "repeat visits and additional sales". And of course, it looks good as it shows up as money in the register.

How do you win these awards? Here are 15 ideas designed to help increase your sales and profits.

#1. Utilize signs - Signs sell merchandise. When the customer walks down an aisle, do they see several signs? Is there is a sign on a pallet of bags of fertilizer? Does every end cap have a sign? And they do not have to always say price.

Imagine a sign with a picture of a dollarweed and a picture of a bottle of atrazine. Next to the dollarweed can be the message, "Got this?". And next to the bottle of atrazine can be the message, "Get this!"

#2. Display high profit items at eye level - The acceptable range for merchandise is from knee level up to six feet. The ideal place for merchandise is at eye level. The products that you make the most profit with should be the items at eye level.

#3. Have whole goods at eye level - You probably sell pump up sprayers and the repair kit for them. The sprayers should be at eye level and the repair kits well below them. You can even place the sprayers on a shelf above the chemicals you sell. This way every person coming to your store to buy chemicals has to see the new sprayers. It is a great way for an add on sale.

#4. Place the staple items in rear - This is just like the milk in a grocery store. The products that you know customers are coming in to purchase should be displayed in a location to pull the customer through the store.

#5. Have an attractive exterior - When the customer drives down the street they need to see merchandise that is screaming, "This is a garden center. And you need to come see everything we have!"

#6. Have an attractive entrance - When the customer walks in the front door, there needs to be a space and time where they can stop and take it all in. Allowing the customer to walk in the door and look around for 20 to 30 seconds before they are spoken to or faced with a display of sale merchandise, lets the customer get a feel for your business. As the customer looks about, your "grab their attention" display should be on the right.

#7. Design your traffic flow - Customers tend to walk just like they drive - to the right. So your store floor pattern should be just like a well designed community. There should be major aisles that are wider than others. And none of the aisles should lead the customer to a dead end. As you want the customer to see the entire store, design the aisles so that as they stroll through the store, they are drawn from section to section by the attractive displays.

#8. Merchandise from front and rear - This is especially important if you have a service counter at the rear of your store. The customer coming into your store looking for an item will look at little else until they have found that one item. Once they have secured the item, they are more receptive to seeing what else you have to sell.

If they have found that item at the rear of your store, and as they turn to walk towards the front, do they see the backs of your displays or are they seeing attractive merchandising?

#9. Utilize end caps - A well designed end cap can sell as much merchandise as one side of an 8 foot run of counters. While it should be neat and clean, the customer needs to believe this is an end cap to take merchandise from as compared to one that is to be just looked at.

#10. Have a display with add on items - Everything you sell should have something that can go with it. The important factor is that the two items are displayed near each other so your sales person and the customer can look at both of them. When you sell a shovel or rake, the sales person needs to be able to point to the gloves and ask the customer how their current pair of gloves are holding up.

#11. Display impulse items - These are often your high margin items. How about putting the small packet of Rootone in a number of places around your store? The same goes for fertilizers, or any number of items that you can suggest to the customer as a last minute pick up.

#12. Display a season ahead - Garden centers can do just like the department stores do. When you walk into their store in August, you are already seeing winter coats and sweaters. This places the thought in the mind of customers that this store will have the product when they need it. Depending on what part of the country you are in, July may be the month to start telling customers you will have the products on hand when they are working on their yards for the fall.

#13. Utilize sight, sound & smell - With these we are looking to stack the deck in our favor as the customer shops. As a customer is in your business, the more senses you can appeal to, the more likely they will buy.

Light jazz has been shown to be the most appealing music. Need to improve the scent of your shop? Try adding an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie shop. The cookies not only smell good, but they are a great impulse sale and a fairly profitable one.

#14. Have related items face each other - I remember when we bought our store years ago, that the previous owners had one counter for all of the chemicals. When we changed the chemicals from back to back on one counter to facing sides on two counters, how many customers remarked about all the products we now sold. There was no difference in quantity; just a change in the presentation.

#15. Colorize your products - Think about the plants you sell. Do all of your customers ask for plants by their correct name? Or are there customers looking for, "something that has purple flowers"? Try merchandising to how customers ask for items as compared to trying to teach customers how you merchandise. When the customer feels comfortable and "at home", they spend more time and money.

We have all walked into a business where we have had this level of comfort. For many of us, when we left we did so having spent more than we planned or perhaps spent money when all we planned to do was look. We did so because the store was planning for our arrival. And they knew how to greet us with that POP!

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
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