Bridget Behe’s American Hort presentation on merchandising was an enlightening look at how growers can improve for the spring season. The actionable steps are simple, but effective. To add to her data-backed suggestions, here are our own from observing current trends.
Create an Inviting Environment
According to Behe’s findings, a chevron display layout makes it easier for the customer to see more since they don’t have to turn their head as much to view the product. Imagine if you’re entering the store at the top of the images, making your way down. With the flat display, you have to turn your head as you pass each aside. With the chevron display you merely need to move your eyes. Make it easier on your customers and show them more.
Consider The Overall Environment In-Store
Another simple trick is to make sure there’s no puddles on the ground. Customers naturally step around them, which can block them from getting to the items they want to look at. This creates an undesirable experience.
Display height is another consideration. Behe suggests 2 foot benches where products are exposed to customers’ eyes, but aren’t too low. Benches that are too high make it difficult for shorter people to get a full view of all products on the display. Make it accessible for everyone.
Basically, Create a Welcoming Environment
Our suggestion is to create a welcoming environment, as suggested above, but also keep your displays in good condition. Outdated looking displays with chipped paint, cracks, or rust say a lot to the customer. Make the space modern and clean. Black is a classic color that disappears into the background. Black benches are a great option in making your products shine.
Understand What Draws Customer Attention
Bridget Behe had fantastic, data-based advice on what naturally draws customers’ eyes. These simple takeaways include:
- Signs in the center of displays are more engaging than when placed on the sides
- Use images of people engaging with the plant to make a human connection with customers
- The more crowded a display is, the less likely customers are to buy
- 6 plants of the same genus was most effective
- People are more likely to buy plants on the right side of the display, while faster purchases were made with plants on the left (possibly because we read left to right)
- More purchases and faster purchases were made using the front row
Demographics need to come into play as well. Are you hoping to draw in young gardeners to build a life-long hobby? Create eye-catching displays in windows, or outdoors that use succulents and air plants. Hoping to catch the attention of a retired home owner with lots of gardening experience? Build displays that introduce them to new ways to envision old classics. Or, introduce them to a new variety surrounded by popular options.
Labels & Packaging
Hanging baskets can be converted to combinations, so advertise that on your labels. As mentioned above, show people using your products to create a human connection. Imagery in general communicates much more than words on your labels ever will. Entice them with a DIY project, make an emotional connection by using a model, or incorporate labeling technology to go above and beyond their expectations.
Hedonic vs. Utilitarian Merchandising
Hedonic, in this instance, refers to the beautiful blooms over the utilitarian herbs. Behe brilliantly suggests combining the two to create surprising and delightful combinations. Foodscaping is a trend we’ve been exploring over the past year, and one that seems to be on the rise. People expet to pay more for hedonic products, especially when displayed in a hedonic environment. It serves as inspiration, and there’s value to that.
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