Real Solutions: How to sell more growing media

In May's edition of HW sister magazine Garden Retail, garden industry marketeers offer their tips on strategies to help improve compost sales. Here is a selection of their thoughts.

Marketing director

"New products and innovation are key. Consumers are constantly looking for products that save them time, hassle and money.

"Marketing is vital. It is difficult to attract the consumer's attention, so it is important to look at several ways of promoting and communicating directly to the audience.

"Consumers need guidance, especially with the variety of composts on offer. They need to be able to read point of sale and know whether that product is suitable.

"Bespoke product information boarding fixed above the pallets displaying product images always works best."

Keith Nicholson, Westland

Sales director

"Give your customers choice but don't crowd out the compost sales areas. Stocking a simple, complete fit-for-purpose range alongside multipurpose is key.

"Use category signage and point-of-sale material to make sure that your customers' shopping experience is as easy as possible. Make the pricing clear and train your staff to provide them with advice.

"Go the extra mile. Customers will appreciate a personalised service, especially helping them get compost from the sales area to the car. Offer your customers value for money - cross-selling is a great way to do this."

Jeff Kwiatkowski, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company

Garden writer

"Composts are usually tucked right at the back of the store. This really isn't the best place to keep such important products. Let's face it, all gardeners need compost, so place it nearer the heart of the store, or at least in an area of major traffic flow.

"Jeremy Blake of Reality Training tells how on arrival at one garden centre for a sales meeting, he noticed a woman in the car park struggling with a heavy bag of compost.

"He suggested at the meeting that bag barcodes were kept at the till to be scanned, and that the compost was close to the exit, where it could be loaded directly into the boot of the car. The idea led to more sales."

Graham Clark

Product manager

"Display is key. Making sure that consumers know exactly what they are buying, the benefits that product offers and for what price will help them to make the right purchase decision.

"One success story Scotts has seen across all channels is cross-selling. Offering a Levington Tomorite Planter with Levington Tomorite Plant Food and a tomato plant at a 'deal' price generated a huge uptake in sales.

"This kind of deal can be made on a wide range of different products - not just tomatoes."

Douglas Hamilton, Scotts

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