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Looking After the Bird in the Hand - Liam Kelly

With so much techie driven information being thrown at us from every angle it is very easy for garden centres to get too wrapped up in QR codes, e-shops and Facebook pages to the detriment of floor sales. With such a dreadful start to the season, garden centres should be making the most from the dedicated souls that do venture in to their stores. 

So it should be back to basics! Skills such as up-selling, link-sales, effective merchandising and basic customer care should be at the forefront of any business at the moment. Garden centres need to be making the most of - and from - each and every customer that crosses their threshold, as these are customers with a purpose and purchase in mind. They are the seasoned gardeners not the impulse driven, fair weather ones that the sector relies on in good weather. They are the ones who will listen to your advice, and trust and act upon it.

Although the customer count may be down the customer spend should be up as staff should have more time to spend with them and sell to them, utilising all the tricks of the trade plus of course timely and relevant advice. With less traffic through the store there should be no excuses for shoddy merchandising, not meeting and greeting customers and not practicing the lost art of selling. Apart from everything else it's good practice and training for when the season does kick off.

Because it really is true about 'The Bird in the Hand', now more than ever.

Key points to remember:

  • Make sure staff actively engage all customers with a smile
  • Never miss an opportunity to up-sell or tag on that added sale
  • Get staff to sell themselves as gardening gurus!
  • Merchandising should combine inspiration with link-sales
  • Don't drop your prices but do have value promotions
  • Don't complain to customers about how quiet it is – be positive!
  • Thank your customers for visiting
"Liam Kelly established Retail Services & Solutions in 2007 to help Irish garden centres reach their full potential. He is a highly enthusiastic, passionate, retail-orientated individual and believes his experience, together with his knowledge and ability in areas such as people management, purchasing, layout, merchandising, KPI monitoring and sales has proven invaluable to many businesses

After evaluating a clients needs, he works with the owners and staff to improve weak areas and create new opportunities. His problem solving ability, honesty, discretion and hands-on work ethic make him unique in the consultancy world. He can also appreciate the day-to-day challenges of running a garden centre, as he knows the products, mindset and ethos of the Irish garden centre sector better than most.

His clients include many established businesses, and he has assisted in the setting up of a number of new garden centres. He also writes articles for national gardening magazines, trade magazines and local newspapers. Liam spent 20 years working his way to the top of one of the largest and most progressive garden centres in Ireland. During that time he was one of the main driving forces in the organisation and was instrumental in transforming the business from a small urban store to a large, destination lifestyle centre."

Contact details:

Retail Services & Solutions,
118 Dolmen Gardens,
086 8221494 or 059 9130176

Source: HortiTrends News Room