Garden centre retailers need to ensure they are being more innovative in their approach to their retail offer if they want to ride the wave of increased consumer spend in the sector.
That is according to Seb Smith, Managing Director of Stagecraft Displays Ltd, one of the UK’s main designers, manufacturers and fit-out of retail display systems speaking at this year’s GLEE, the main garden and outdoor living tradeshow held at the NEC Birmingham this week.
Latest figures show a four per cent rise in garden centre sales in the UK in the last quarter compared to 2015 and while consumer confidence post Brexit took a dive, garden centre owners confidence is up as they look to the year ahead, according to figures released by the Horticultural Trade Association (HTA).
Mr Smith warned, however, that garden centre retailers needed to ensure they surpassed customer expectations, instead inspiring the consumer to spend more and to attract return visits.
"The rise in sales is encouraging, but the garden centre sector is highly competitive and customers expect much more on their visit than they did five or 10 years ago," said Mr Smith.
"The retail arena of a garden centre has to be much more about the customer experience. Being innovative with such approach is critical to converting what could be a single sale into multiples and to ensure a customer plans to return.
"If a customer has a good experience they are more likely to recommend the retailer to others and to return themselves."
He added: "This is where retailers need to look at how they display products and the layout of their centre is vitally important, both internally and externally."
Earlier this year Stagecraft released its mobile range of display systems that allow retailers to easily move or change displays based on offers and seasonal changes.
After celebrating its 30th anniversary last year at Glee, the Mid Wales-based company has invested in new design technology and has completed the design, manufacture and fit-out of several high profile garden centres in the UK, as well as small independents.
Projects have included internal and external display systems and structures for Wyevale, John Lewis, Next and Waitrose, as well as small independents such as The Old Railway Station near Brecon, Powys.