John Stanley has been called the leading horticultural consultant in the world today. His practical low cost ideas not only save his clients money, he makes his clients money.
An article by John Stanley
2012 will go down in history as a tumultuous year for retailing around the world.
Garden centres have had to cope with the weather, economic turmoil and the Olympics as well as the changes in technology and customer shopping habits.
William Taylor of Harvard University was not wrong when he called 2012 the year of disruption. While I feel I have kept the airlines in the air this year working in 35 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas.
Looking at retailers globally I have noticed that the retailers could not, or would not, keep up with trends have withered away and there are more still to go. Whilst garden retailers who have aimed to keep up with consumer needs and wants have weathered the year well, and I feel, are well set to have a good 2013.
There have been bright spots in the industry, especially in Eastern Europe, especially Czech Republic, as well as in Asia with China and Japan especially, developing a stronger garden retail industry.
I feel that the retailers that are focused on gardens and plants are in a stronger position to go into the next twelve months that those that have diversified into other leisure categories where they can be vulnerable.
Farmers markets continue to become a stronger link with garden centres. Many markets as standard alone ventures have lost their way and this is an opportunity for garden centres to pick this sector up. Many have done and are doing an excellent job in growing sales by bringing in these markets as an event at their garden centre.
The horticultural highlights of 2012 must include the opening of the Botanical Garden by the Bay in Singapore and the Floriade in Venlo, Holland. Both of which I thought were great learning experiences.
The key drivers of 2012 will I believe continue to drive the industry into new and exciting territory in 2013, they include:
• New ways of using social media to get more customers to engage with garden centres
• New innovative ways of plant merchandising, especially in outdoor sales areas
• Edible landscape concepts to grow the food side of the market
• Community engagement to make the garden centre more relevant in the community.
My diary is more full now than it has been for at least two years and I hope this is an indicator of a renewed confidence in the industry. Already I have bookings for a consultancy road show through Quebec, a keynote address at the IGC show in Chicago, two international TV companies talking to me about doing Garden Centre and Food style makeover programmes and return national conference engagements in China, Japan, South Africa and Italy already confirmed.
In February 2013 Linda and I will take 40 retailers from Australia, USA, Czech, UK, Ireland and Canada around the UK on a study tour studying farm retailing. This will be a huge learning experience for participants.
The winners in 2013 will be learning new skills, and producers and retailers are going to be working closer together to reap the benefits.
2013 will be a year, when plants will become more of a feature in retailing, but we need to get away from displaying them on straight rows on the bench and start creating the excitement and customer engagement. Some garden centres are already doing this and reaping the rewards from using this concept.
To everyone in garden centre retailing land let’s look forward to an exciting year ahead.
John Stanley has been called the leading horticultural consultant in the world today. His practical low cost ideas not only save his clients money, he makes his clients money. His practical solutions have made him an acclaimed conference speaker, retail consultant and author. For more information on how he can help your business grow, visit his website www.johnstanley.com.au, or email firstname.lastname@example.org