July 2020 - 22

DIRTY SECRETS
Two Sales Trends
on the Rise in the
Age of Coronavirus
By Christina Salwitz
I
n these crazy Tiger King, grandmas on Zoom, masks as a
fashion statement new world we find ourselves in today,
change is coming at a dizzying pace, despite our population
never being more physically distant. Retail may never get back
to the way it was, and business is adapting faster than anyone
ever thought possible. More than ever in the garden center
and landscape business, people are looking for experiential
shopping, PLUS they want convenience and excitement. So
how can you possibly marry experience with convenience now?
Certainly, we can all agree that time is often marked now as
B.C. (Before Corona) and I hope someday soon, we can all breathe
a mask-free sigh of relief that A.C. (After Corona) is here and our
future business planning is " back to normal. " But is that realistic
if it's a year down the road, or even two years? Many may need
to abandon the idea (if they haven't already) that there is no old
" normal " to return to. What existed in the retail industry before
March 2020 no longer exists and it's likely not coming back.
Even with the brutally exhausting, record-setting sales
garden centers are seeing with diminished staff, the structure
of future sales will be very different with availability shifts in
certain product lines like edibles, seeds and soils. We're already
seeing this dramatically at the height of the season. If you let
go of the idea that you have to preserve what was before, then
it opens up the horizon for what changes to expect in your
region and how to best take advantage of those changes.
What's Next?
So what's next in the new frontier of sales and marketing
for our beloved green industry? And, how can we embrace and
evolve on ideas that were foreign to many of us only a mere
few months ago? Doors have been closed, and some may not
reopen. Though we know these are some of the most resilient
and creative people on the planet, whatever the new normal
becomes, IGC and landscape company owners will be at the
forefront of shaping life as we know it. I personally KNOW that
some of you out there are masters of ingenuity, so here are two
intriguing current trends I think will stick around.
1. Selling to the Micro, Not the Macro
Many experts across the retail landscape are saying that, if
you're watching carefully, new success is coming from the rise
22 | LAWN & GARDEN RETAILER | JULY 2020
of the " Micro-Influencers. " No, it's not another robot spin-off
action movie, but a fascinatingly simple way to take retail sales
into several arenas that you might already be considering.
As big-name, high-end brands are having a difficult time
getting consumers to relate to luxury brand influencers
with millions of followers who have no concept of living on
a budget, focusing on locally sourced sustainable products,
or repurposing items, they are realizing that smaller-scale
influencers are turning this into a booming sales opportunity.
You might have always assumed that using an " influencer "
was budgetarily out of reach for your business, but now it's
never been more affordable. Small business is leaning into
the micro-pool and finding it to be incredibly warm, flexible,
effective and easy to cross-pollinate via numerous platforms.
This is an entirely new adaptation of a concept that many
garden centers have been trying out with making in-house
videos, often with the owner or manager in the video.
However, now the new twist is using employees on your sales
team, each with special gifts for selling specific things (unless
your team is made up of sales unicorns who can sell anything
well). But how well are you capitalizing on the potential for
sales from social media followers who already know and love
your staff, their families, and their friends?
You might have a staffer working in your tree and shrub
department whom everyone knows as a 10-gallon hat
personality, who customers rave about and come specifically to
see when they need something. Or maybe you have a container
designer who makes the mundane look magical, or an expert
on growing all things edible who feels passionate about
organics and sells both veggies and bagged goods equally well.
Make each of those people in your business stakeholders
in making more sales - even going so far as to incentivize
it. If Jeff in the tree and shrub department is seen making
extra money by helping the store make quick Instagram or
Facebook stories on " the tree of the month, " for example, and
other employees see that, it begins a rolling boulder effect.
Each person capitalizes on their passions, their strengths
and who they bring to the table in sales volume. Having a real,
relatable person from the local community selling the benefits
and features of that tree can drive sales like none other. It's
personal, it's fast, it's agile, it's simple and it carries measurable
results month to month for what's working and not working.
If you've ever seen the App " LIKEtoKNOW.it " this is a very
similar concept that retailers like Target, Old Navy, Sephora

July 2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thriveguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/november-december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/september-october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/august-2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thriveguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/november-december-2020
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