Ditch top gardening tips advice, Garden Retail Summit hears

Jane Lawler, formerly of Gardman and Bayer, says new gardening audiences are not interested in 'jobs for the week' hard work ideas and want finished solutions from garden suppliers and centres.

Lawler told the Garden Retail Summit organised by Horticulture Week last week: "My top tip for both suppliers and retailers is to review the needs of the new garden audience.  It might help to future proof your business."

Consultant Lawler said garden retailers know their core 'elders' audience well, but research shows that the group described by the HTA Spender data as 'Family Focus' "actually love their gardens and spending time outdoors.

But they categorically shy away from the hobby of gardening – it’s the thought of dirty fingernails and aching backs plus the bewildering complexity of what grows where and how to look after it. They are much more likely to respond to positive, passive and inspirational communications, bite –size and visual works best for them."

She told delegates:

  • Ditch ‘jobs for the week’ content from print and online. These consumers don’t want reminding about more work to be done, they are busy enough already.
  • Get away from content and events that are focused on problem solving. These consumers don’t know that there’s trouble ahead from slugs and greenfly. There’s plenty of time for them to discover that later!
  • Strip back the planting, pruning, feeding, care and use instructions on packs and point of sale to a minimum. You can offer additional help in person or online if they want to get more deeply engaged
  • Paint them a picture and inspire with the finished result. To hook this group it has to be ‘ready-made’ and impactful. They don’t have the time or inclination to plant a hanging basket.
  • Lighting and décor, furniture and barbeques, features and play equipment are where they’re prepared to invest in the garden. They’d rather have a hot tub than a fish pond.
  • They’re online and they’re mobile. If your brand offer is not instantly accessible (and attractive) from laptop, tablet or mobile you’ll lose them instantly to Amazon or Argos.

A report on the Garden Retail Summit will be published in the next edition of Horticulture Week. 


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