Cologne: 16.–18.06.2024 #spogagafa

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“One should always have a plan B for the summer”

27 Mar 2019

Summer in a garden centre – Photo:

Oliver Mathys is an acknowledged market expert and networker of the green industry. He develops sales concepts for garden centres and DIY stores and supports them with the implementation thereof throughout the whole of Europe. We talked to him about his ideas for POS design in the summer and about what garden centres should definitely pay attention to during these months.

Oliver Mathys – Photo:

Summer parties, BBQ evenings, sunbathing… These should no doubt also be the themes that one focuses on at the POS in garden centres this summer, don’t you think? The implementation of such lifestyle themes always goes down well…

Mathys: It is not quite as simple as that. For instance, before Christmas or in the spring one always knows exactly which themes should be emphasised at the POS. Even if it is not quite clear when the first sunny spring days will arrive and with them also the customers – this can happen a few weeks earlier or later – the themes always revolve around kicking off the new garden season: bringing colour back into the garden, getting the lawn back into order… Making forecasts for the summer is more difficult: It can be hot and dry, but in our part of the world it can often be cool and rainy. That is why garden centres should always be well-prepared both in terms of the product offer and POS design and have a plan B ready at hand. Last year’s Football World Cup proved that. Initially this event was the thematic focus of a lot of shops. However, when Germany got kicked out in the preliminary round, the theme could no longer be used to attract any customers in this country. This issue was intensely discussed by diverse groups in the social media networks. How should one deal with the new situation? After all, one had invested a great deal of time and money in the corresponding POS design… I observed that big supermarket chains often react to such changes and external factors faster and more flexibly than garden centres do.

Food Truck – Photo:

What form can a plan B take on? What should one do if it rains a lot in the summer months? Or if it is so hot that everyone just wants to go to the open-air swimming baths and nobody visits the garden centre?

Mathys: Creativity is definitely called for here. So that customers are motivated to come to the store even when it is extremely hot, one could for instance organise a beach volleyball tournament on the grounds of the garden centre. Or one could place a food truck offering culinary delights next to the entrance. If there is a cafe or restaurant inside the garden centre, the menu could offer refreshing summer cocktails or a “sorbet of the week”. And of course one can also contemplate going directly to the places where the customers are presently spending a lot of their time: For example what about the idea of opening up a pop-up store at the open-air swimming baths.

If the summer turns out to be a rainy one, workshops are a good idea. There are plenty of themes to choose from: Indoor summer gardening, making hanging baskets out of macramé, cooking jam, making tarts and patisserie out of edible blossoms… an author’s reading session about a garden thriller in the greenhouse, the performance of a theatre group or a musical event are conceivable. Plenty of space is frequently available during the summer months. Such events attract totally new groups of customers to the garden centre. Furthermore, during the summer holidays one should think about special offers for children.

Summer in a garden centre – Photo:

Summer in a garden centre – Photo:

Are there themes and product groups that one can definitely place one’s bets on this summer?

Mathys: Insects are still an important and also emotional garden theme for many people. The huge response that the so-called bee referendum received at the beginning of the year in Bavaria is evidence of this. It is therefore recommendable to offer and particularly accentuate plants that offer insects nourishment. For instance domestic shrubs or perennials. Incidentally, in the summer this environmental theme can be wonderfully combined with a workshop. Why not inform visitors about nocturnal insects in the outdoor area of the garden centre while enjoying snacks and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere?

Otherwise, I always advise garden centres to take a good look at which product groups sold particularly well over the past three years. For instance in the hot, dry summer of 2018 it was irrigation systems for the garden. So, one can assume that most customers don’t need one of these, because one doesn’t buy a new one every year. The same applies for garden furniture. The customers have purchased a lot of furniture over the past years. So, garden centres should thus perhaps place their bets more on accessories, such as cushions or seat covers, which the customers can use to brighten up their garden furniture or make it more comfortable.

 Further information:

POS Green Solution Island

POS Green Solution Islands

At spoga+gafa 2019 in Cologne there will be POS Green Solution Islands again. They are intended to serve as inspiration for retailers and offer concrete examples of the implementation of action areas at the point of sale. Once again, this year, the theme islands will be curated by Oliver Mathys.