The industry is about to see the “millennials” customer become more interested in garden products as they develop their homes. These are your 20 to 30 year old consumers, who are moving into apartments and new houses and looking for inspiration to make their homes unique. Compared to older customer groups they are more distrusting of company advertising, are wary of in-house marketing and engage with each other and businesses in a different way.
What worked in the past to attract new customers to garden centres will definitely not work in the future.
The challenge we all have is how do we communicate with this new consumer and get them to visit our business rather than them deal with our competitors.
The good news is research in the USA indicates that millennials would rather shop with a local independent business than a larger global “shed” type businesses. But, those independent businesses have to relate to them if they are to attract them to their offer.
There are numerous ways we can attract those consumers as long as we remember that the method we use is not one many of us are used to, it is time to think outside the box or simply throw the box away.
Whose your Scumbag?
It is accepted that this generation does not trust traditional marketing techniques. One survey indicated that 80% of them distrusted advertising by businesses. They rely on their peers to make recommendations and the key to success is to influence their peers and let them do the marketing for them. One of the most successful peer marketing techniques is that used by Steven Fernandez aka “Baby Scumbag”. This young teenager has developed a successful income by recommending and wearing specific “cool” clothing and using sports equipment gifted to him by suppliers and then recommending it via his Blog.
The same technique is used with young mothers to promote baby products. A garden centre needs to develop an advocate who is not a team member, but is promoting products and gardening to their peers both in social media and traditional marketing techniques and is an advocate of the business.
The garden centre can gift in products to the advocate on the understanding they will discuss the product in their communications channels. In many retail sectors this has become a major marketing technique and gardening is an ideal vehicle for this type of marketing.
Are your customers taking “selfies”
There was a huge amount of publicity when the Queen was seen in a “selfie” at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Whether “selfies” is a fad or a trend is hard to tell, but take a walk around any major tourist venue and you will see tourists taking “selfies” of themselves near major tourist icons.
All credit to Blooms Nurseries in the UK for promoting Geranium “Rozanne” using a “selfie” promotion. This is an ideal way of promoting a new plant and could be used by a nursery producer or retailer to promote to the younger generation.”Selfie” pictures could be displayed on a board in the garden centre next to the plant promotion.
They can make a pizza, can they make a garden?
Domino Pizza have gained market share in recent years by developing a number of creative marketing strategies. One of them is the phone app, Pizza Hero, that allows the user to design their own pizza and then get the local Domino Pizza outlet to make it and deliver it to them. If other friends through social media also order this unique pizza the company pays the inventor a commission. This personalises the whole marketing environment and empowers the consumer.
The same principle applies in the garden sector. Phone apps are now available to design your own container garden, vegetable garden or patio. One of them is “PicaGardi” which allows the homeowner to design their own garden in the comfort of their own home.
The new consumer wants to engage with their local garden centre, and the local garden centre needs to think in the same way that they do and communicate with them in a way they can relate to the business. It is time to throw away some of the old ideas and engage with new ways to attract the consumer.