The lifeblood of your garden center or nursery is your customers. Every interaction offers the opportunity to build or diminish the strength of your bond with your customers. A robust POS system can offer you many opportunities to improve your relationship with your customer, and to build and sustain customer loyalty.
Connect With Your Customer
“You have to be no less than a customer concierge, doing everything you can to make every one of your customers feel acknowledged, appreciated, and heard. You have to make them feel special, just like when your great-grandmother walked into Butcher Bob’s shop or bought her new hat, and you need to make people who aren’t your customers wish they were.”– Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy”
When day-to-day business can fill every available minute, it is difficult to find the time to think strategically. Unfortunately, connecting with your customer in a meaningful way is one area that requires effective strategic and tactical thinking. To jump start this process, you can approach your strategy around customer connection with the following framework:
- Know Your Customer.
- Speak To Your Customer So They Want To Listen.
- Cultivate Good Feelings
- Measure, Assess, Adapt
For each of the platforms in this approach, a robust POS system becomes a window into your customer data, offering tools to support both planning and implementation of your strategy.
Know Your Customer
Garden centers and nurseries are linked to the local communities where they are based. In one survey, as many as 80% of garden center customers were found to live within 10 miles of the store where they shopped. While every store has unique demographics, data suggest that a majority of customers are females or male/female couples, that most fall between 25 and 54 years old, and the majority of shoppers are typically homeowners. These statistics form a starting place for the first platform of a garden center’s customer connection strategy — Know Your Customer.
Beyond demographics, your POS system can be the focal point for data collection about your specific customers. Through your system, you have the opportunity to capture meaningful information including your customer’s name, address, email address, purchase history, birthdays, anniversary. . . Knowing your customer at the individual/family/business level is crucial to any targeted engagement.
But knowing your customer also extends to understanding seasonal buying patterns, anticipating demand and having the plants and other products customers want in the store ready for sale. Tapping into your POS system reports can deliver compelling insights into your customers’ preferences and behavior.
Speak To Your Customer So They Want To Listen
Your POS system unlocks tools to communicate with your customer more effectively. Targeted email campaigns can be configured and launched with ease. You can use your POS to isolate and communicate with specific classes of customer (e.g., landscapers, designers, or consumers). Customer loyalty programs can give you a vehicle to reward customers for their purchases, and address store needs. For example, flash promotions to move sluggish inventory can be offered to loyalty program members, or quickly sent by email to customers most likely to take advantage of that promotion. Customers who haven’t purchased from your store in a while could receive a “We miss you” message. Customer rewards programs can be configured with a future discount to drive traffic into your garden center after the spring rush.
Cultivate Good Feelings
McKinsey reports that “70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.” Calling a customer by name, sending new customers a “thank you” email, having product location, availability and grow/care instructions accessible by your team in the yard with mobile POS devices, and moving people quickly through check-out lines all support the creation of positive customer experiences that lead to repeat business and referrals.
A Snapshot Gardening Program (with before & after photos) can engage customers, promote your landscape design services, and acknowledge artful use of your products by your customers. Customers can be invited to workshops that might be most relevant to their particular interest — imagine a pruning workshop being offered mid-summer to customers who purchased 5 gal rose bushes in the spring.
Your POS system quickly becomes the focal point of information collection and dissemination, and the launchpad of customer communications.
Measure, Assess, Adapt
Every customer connection is somewhat an experiment. What works wonderfully in one garden center may only have a mediocre response in another. Your POS system offers tools to help you measure and assess the success of your customer connection efforts. Knowing how many customers responded to particular promotions gives insight into how to modify future promotions. Tracking attendance and whether a particular workshop resulted in an uptick in sales of featured items helps guide future workshop topics.
Every marketing effort has a number of variables that impact its success. The timing of a gardening workshop directly impacts attendance levels. Some programs benefit from longer promotion times while others are more suited for quick action. Over time, your POS system can help you optimize your offerings by helping you understand what works best for your unique customer base.
Your POS system offers a powerful component of your customer outreach program. Creativity is the only boundary to the number and types of positive customer connections you can generate using this tool. Our Rapid Garden POS retail consultants are available to help you harness the capabilities of your POS system to help your customer relationships blossom.