How garden centers can benefit from selling craft supplies
If you're not currently offering craft supplies at your garden center, you're missing out on a golden opportunity.
Not only do these products enhance your own displays, making them more decorative and eye-catching, they also provide an additional revenue-generating opportunity. Petitti Garden Centers, for example, uses Darice products in many of its displays.
"Darice's products really help bring our displays together," says A.J. Petitti, vice president of operations for Petitti Garden Centers, a Northeast Ohio-based garden center with nine locations. "We look for items that are a great value to the customer and of good quality, then go from there."
Choosing the best products
When selecting which craft items to include in your store, think about your customers and their preferences. For example, if they request environmentally friendly weed and insect killers, try offering paint without volatile organic compounds, or offer recycled paper products.
Are your customers mothers with young children? Try displaying children’s craft kits, stickers or stuffed animals.
And never skimp on home decor products. Place items such as candles, picture frames and coffee mugs near your houseplants to create a cozy vibe and give customers ideas for a room idea.
"If you're not working within home accents and outdoor living, you're missing a big opportunity," Petitti says. "These items really help create an environment in our stores, and it's been one of our best categories for the past five years."
Also look at current fashion and home decor trends to see what people are interested in. For example, vibrant colors, especially teal and yellow, are popular now across the board, as is inexpensive crafted jewelry.
Consult with your vendor for ideas about what is trending, or browse Pinterest, a social networking site that allows users to showcase their own projects and ideas.
Finding displays that work for you
Themes are great for garden center displays — not only do they catch the attention of shoppers, they give them an idea of what the items will look like in their own homes and paired with similar items.
And while you can reuse some displays year to year, especially if they are popular, look for new ways to refresh them. For example, if you've had fall displays in the past that have done well, rotate the featured plants and the theme of the display. One year, feature an apple theme; the next year, try leaves.
While many garden centers think of plants first and craft items second, it is also advantageous to build a display around products. For example, if you want to offer home lighting items such as candles, night lights and lamps, create a display around the items that features easy-to-care for houseplants that can be placed on end tables or hang from the ceiling.
Work with your craft vendor to learn how it and other clients display items and ask for suggestions for future displays. In addition, attending craft and garden center shows allows you to see what others have created and gain inspiration.
"We get a lot of ideas from vendors at shows, and then have a brainstorming session with our team where we discuss how we can bring them to life," Petitti says.
Selecting seasonal items
Seasonal items always move well and are perfect for displays, Petitti says.
For Valentine's Day, you can feature red azaleas and pink orchids, along with heart picks that can be inserted into pots, as well as wreaths and scarves.
Customers who come into the store to buy a plant for Valentine's Day and who see the items displayed together showcasing their use are more likely to purchase both items than if they are scattered around the store shown separately.
Christmas, in particular, is an excellent time to feature craft store items in your store. Rotating displays in this season is also a good idea; one year you could feature snowmen, while the following year could be Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed.
Having at least one seasonal display at all times can help promote sales. Move from winter and Christmas to Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, spring and Easter.
From there, move to Independence Day and summer; fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving; and finally, winter and Christmas again.
Getting customers to think about craft products
Marketing promotion is key to informing customers that you have craft items in your garden center store.
Petitti says that marketing platforms such as billboards and radio, television and magazine ads have been particularly successful. Social media and email marketing are also effective.
"You've got to let customers know you have a product," Petitti says. "It often takes some time to build up your reputation as a destination for, say, holiday items, but eventually, you will become known as a source for both garden and craft products."
Offer something unique to drive demand for a certain product and bring customers into the stores. One year, Petitti's offered ornaments featuring Cleveland landmarks, such as the Westside Market and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
"Your plants will always be the driver, but show customers what else you can offer them to maximize sales," Petitti says.
For more information on Petitti's, visit their website here.