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All you believe…may be ALL WRONG – Belief #6

Merry 2010 CHRISTmas to all! Did your business return a gift of profit to you this year?

(Read time approx. 3 minutes.)

This is the sixth misconception in a series of six. The concepts being discussed here will likely be counter to your beliefs. The comments left on the previous posts are quite interesting so you may want to go back and read them.

Click HERE to go back and begin with the first post related to this series.

“Was any profit left in your business this year?

“My salary is in the profit.”

“We don’t want to be ‘greedy’ about it.”

“If we do everything ‘right’ it will all work out in the end.”

“We leave all the profit in the business.”

“I get paid in the rent.”

Those were common responses to our questions about garden center profit going back several years:

Continue reading

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All you believe…may be ALL WRONG – Belief #5

Misconception #5 – Lower Your Prices and Make it Up on Volume

(Read time approx. 3 minutes.)

This is the fifth misconception in a series of six. The concepts being discussed here will likely be counter to your beliefs. The comments left on the previous posts are quite interesting so you may want to go back and read them. Click HERE to go back and begin with the first post related to this series.

Possibly one of the greatest travesties to befall the independent garden center as an industry is the fallacy that if you offer lower prices you will “make it up on volume”.

This is what I  call Fifth Grade Economics. The general level of knowledge about economics in our industry was learned in fifth grade social studies class. In my fifth grade class Mrs. Woods taught us about supply and demand, and how if you lowered the price you would “make it up on volume”. Unfortunately this same macro-economic principle has been perpetuated in higher education and has not been balanced with understanding of the micro-economic application in an independent garden center serving niche demographic and psycho-graphic customers.

Continue reading

All you believe…may be ALL WRONG – Belief #2

Misconception #2 – Garden Centers Should be ‘Full-Service’ – Says Who?

(Read time approx. 3 minutes.)

This is the second misconception in a series of six. The concepts being discussed here will likely be counter to your beliefs. The comments left on the previous posts are quite interesting so you may want to go back and read them. Click HERE to go back and begin with the first post related to this series.

Who says a garden center has to be ‘Full-Service’, and WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE to tell YOU?

Hint: (It’s NOT the consumer.)

Why fly your flag at half mast?

What would happen in your garden center if you were to do the things you must do to raise the flag of ‘annuals’ (for example) all the way up to the top of your flag pole?

Should you be building  taller flag poles for your core product lines?

“It is not enough to do our best. Sometimes we must do what is required of us to actually succeed.” – Winston Churchill

What is ‘Full-Service’ anyway? Continue reading

Fair Follow-up to Proven Winners Fair Test?

(Read Time, approximately 2 minutes.)

There has been quite an interesting dialogue of comments following the post here on August 28, 2009 titled, Is THIS a Fair Test? Mark Broxon and Dave Konsoer from Proven Winners and Kip Creel from StandPoint reacted with more information and their views on the research conducted at Churchill’s Gardens and Rolling Green Nursery, both located in New Hampshire. The additional information they provided did not include additional photos of their research, however there are new pics of the researched displays on Garden Center Magazine’s website.

Proven Winners Test at Churchill's Gardens

Click Photo to See Tested Displays

Are we to always assume reported research is different than it appears? StandPoint’s Kip Creel said, “You cannot fairly judge the quality of the research from one photograph and a magazine article.” (That was the original point.) While this is now apparently true, it is exactly how research is judged when one photograph and an article are all you have to go on. (At the time of writing this I have not found any other stories on this particular research on the Internet.) It seems like judging the quality of the research from the information provided would be prudent. Continue reading

Is THIS a Fair Test?

Read Time: Approximately 2 minutes.

NOTE: Click HERE to read a November 10, 2009 follow-up to this post titled “Fair Follow-Up to Proven Winners Fair Test?”

You’ve probably read or will soon about yet another recent case study claiming again that branded plants outsold non-branded 5:1. CLICK HERE to go to a report on the research in Garden Center Magazine’s OPEN REGISTER blog.

A Fair Test?

A Fair Test?

Maybe I just don’t understand how  anyone could dispute the results of the study after looking at the photo of the two displays that consumers compared. What were they trying to prove? I would HOPE that the display in the foreground would outperform the other.

Which bench would you lead a well-heeled customer to if the grass is even damp? One is on a gravel paved area, and the other on grass. What would we see if we watched the customers approach identical benches in the same physical environment? Continue reading

Horti-Zombies Come Alive!

Finding someone to blame for our woes helps somehow don’t you think? The weather, the economy, the fickle consumer, the grower, the banker, the liberal media, the conservative media, the government, the…oh those have all been covered. Well let’s talk about our own problems then. Continue reading

Zombie Stores and Zombie Departments

Death Spiral Economic conditions have caused many retailers (garden centers included) to reduce inventories. Whether they decided to reduce redundancy and confusion in their merchandise mix, or were simply over-buying and had too much inventory at the wrong time in the wrong amount, the net effect is less inventory on hand. Some retailers handle adjustment to reduced inventory better than others. This falls in line with my previous post on the Horticulture Zombieconomy, but takes it straight to the sales floor where the customer is involved directly.  Ted Hulbut suggests that retailers who aggressively reduce inventory may become Zombie Stores and Zombie Departments, but do they have an alternative?

What will happen when retailers adjust inventory to reduce unproductive items and to match customer traffic and sales levels? Continue reading

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