How Independent Garden Centers Can Prepare for the Rest of 2021

Although the global pandemic was a tragedy, there was a renaissance type of effect for many industries. Independent garden centers were one of those that was able to come out stronger than before due to the stay-at-home workforce and their desire to spruce up their living spaces. There were many ups and downs with garden centers needing to adjust as they went. However, things such as online shopping, curbside pickup, and loyalty programs added great value to those who adapted. 2021 is in full swing and it is important for IGCs to look at last year’s trends and see how they can prepare for the rest of the year.

Lawn and Garden Retailer co-hosted a webinar with Epicor where speakers Ian Baldwin and Sam Kirkland went through the key takeaways from the pandemic affected gardening industry of 2020. Epicor, a business software company, took a deeper look at garden consumer’s buying habits as well as the way that garden centers changed their business models to reflect this global pandemic. As we stated in a previous blog, 16 million people claimed to have started gardening in 2020. Along with that astounding number, local business was elevated with people turning to their closest garden center for all their needs. The webinar looked at consumer trends that are most valuable to note for Spring 2021 and here are some of the key points:

  1. Garden center consumers are older and more affluent than the general public. They are often more comfortable at home or working from home.
  2. Your target market is those middle-aged couples with money in their account because they are not currently traveling due to the pandemic. They instead are putting that money into fixing up their home.
  3. Consumers changed brands based on what is available in-store.
  4. Convenience is something that consumers will pay for (example: curbside pickup fees).
  5. These changes have been made and we do not need to educate consumers on these trends that are already happening.

Keeping all these ideas in mind, it is important to strategize ways that your garden center can go about using this information. A main suggestion is to invest in social media and engage with your customers. This allows you to build trust with those who shop at your store and also allows communication about new/popular products, sales, and even DIY projects. Aside from hearing from your customers, it is also important to look at what is selling in the first half of 2021 and only buy what is selling well for the second half of the year. Lastly, product shortages were a major problem for retailers in 2020. Make sure to order ahead and lock in what you need for the beginning of 2022.

When it comes to the gardening industry, Oster and Associates has years of experience to help you with all of your marketing needs. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or to schedule a free consultation. We would love to hear from you!