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The Battle of the Sexes - John Stanley

A Garden Centre, a place where you can take the family and enjoy selecting plants at your leisure, a truly family experience. This may be the image many people still have of their local garden centre, but the garden retailer of today may have other ideas. Research carried out over the years shows that women shopping with their female friends are the biggest spenders, whilst that family unit of wife, husband and the kids are often the lowest spenders.

If you want to make money it is time to split the family and target them as individuals. This may go against the original ethos of the garden retail industry, but many retailers are doing it and it is working.


Imagine walking into your local garden centre and being confronted with a pole dancer performing in the indoor plant section. If thissounds too farfetched then it is time you visited the award-winning Meier Garden Center in Dürnten, near Zurich in Switzerland. Erwin Meier has developed ladies night and this has proved to be a great success. But, to be successful and to attract the consumer, you need more than plants, that is where the pole dancers come in. The development of ladies night is nothing new, many garden centres around the world are realizing that to make sure that they are "Top of Mind" in the consumers mind when it matters they need to think outside the box to attract the consumer and more importantly to ensure their target market talks about them. In this era of social media conversations your target consumer needs memorable events to generate conversation.

Ladies night is appearing around the world. In the lead up to Christmas 2012 Merrifield Garden Centre in North Virginia, USA had a ladies night where they organized music, food, prizes and decoration tips for Christmas. The same was happening in Ohio at Petitti and Wilsons Garden Centre.

If women are you target market then target them with events, but provide more than your core activity is the key message.

But What about the Gents

The chances are that while the women are in the garden centre they are looking after the kids or having a night out with the lads. They would never consider walking into a garden centre, especially alone. If garden centers are forbidding places for gen Y consumers, imaging how forbidding they can be for many men who would never consider walking in on their own

The answer

Why not have an evening just for men. Now if the secret is a pole dancer to get women into your store, what is the secret to get men into your store?

Why not Beer, Burgers and Bouquets?

The Enjoy Centre is operated by the Hole family in St Albert just north of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. One of their secrets to success is a men's evening. Come along, we will give you a beer and a burger and you can then join in with other men and attend a workshop where you make your own bouquet and take it home for your partner. The first event was held just before Valentine's Day and linked into the Lois Hole Women's Hospital. It raised $14,000 for a great cause and attracted new customer base... Why not check out the event on YouTube

The Men's Sheds organization is popping up in many communities. This is where men gather to share knowledge and ideas and this organization could be a great networking opportunity for your business. Research in the USA reported in Nielsen Wire report indicates that over the last five years women are doing less shopping whilst men are doing more shopping; they are spending more time shopping in all types of retail outlets except drug stores. They have a long way to go to catch up with the hours women spend shopping, but they are increasing their shopping time experiences

Men's evenings are not as well established as Ladies Nights, but this does not mean they will not work, with a bit of imagination a garden centre could create an evening to remember for men, just do not do it on the same evening as the ladies night.


John Stanley is a Conference Speaker and Consultant. In 2012 he was awarded the WA Small Business exporter of the Year. He works in 35 countries and is one of the world sort after retail and small business presenters. His new conference presentation looks at the new consumer and how that affects your business. Follow John on Facebook John-Stanley -Associates or contact him at john@johnstanley.com.au

Source: HortiTrends News Room