Are customers looking at garden sheds at your garden centre.. and then frustratingly going away and buying online instead? What can you do? This guide, by Power Sheds, reveals some top secret tips on how you can convert your visitors and not lose them to online competitors.
1. Convert your visitors into sales
One of the main reasons a customer would buy online is that it’s cheaper. Think about what a customer would do. If you can go on Google and search for the name of a shed (or brand) on your show site and find it online cheaper, then they will buy online instead of from your garden centre. What can you do about it?
- Speak to your shed supplier. Will they offer you an option to sell the shed un-branded? Can you re-brand the shed so they can’t find the same shed online? You may be able to negotiate the shed supplier to supply alternative branded / unbranded brochures as well. This way, when they search for that shed online, they won't be able to find it.
- Can you negotiate trade prices to compete? As you have to endure the cost of retail space which online retailers don’t, can you have a deal or pricing structure to allow you to match the online prices?
Getting the sale
Most customers like to go away and ‘think about it’. This usually means they want to go away and try find it online for a cheaper price. Therefore it’s important you give them a reason to buy from you on that day rather than going away.
- Is there scope to offer a price match if they find it online cheaper? You need to make sure you know the online prices to make sure you can honour this. This might mean it will give the customer the confidence to buy right away.
- Can you negotiate with your shed supplier anything that can be offered with the shed if they buy from you on that day, which they couldn’t get for free online e.g. free treatment, a free shelf etc.
- Do you sell sheds on your website? Can you give the customer a promotional code which allows the customer to get this free item if they come back and buy online from you.
- Staff training – Another big reason a customer would leave a show site is that they do not see the shed that they want, even though the style or size might be something which can be offered even if it’s not on display. It’s therefore important that staff are on hand every single time a customer walks on to that show site to assist or answer questions. The staff member should be aware of all the models that can be produced and details on what can be done if the customer wants a bespoke model. The shed supplier can often offer this training if you ask – this can be one of their reps coming down to your garden centre to train your staff, or if that’s not possible, ask them to train over the phone or run a webinar. The FAQs which a customer can ask include:o Can that shed be made in a different size?
o Can you move the door to a different position?
o What is the lead time?
o Do I need a base?
o Do you offer installation?
o What is the difference between overlap and shiplap?
o Is the shed pressure treated?
Ensure your staff knows the answer to all of these questions and can comfortably find the prices on a price list. Make sure they know how to encourage the customer to buy that day with the tactics mentioned above.
- Point of Sale – if your sheds need point of sale, put this back on your shed supplier. Ask for them to supply brochures, branding, and informative posters which provides specifications and key features of the sheds. Ask them for banners for the front of the show site to advise customers you have sheds for sale. If there is a promotion or sale on, ask them for marketing material (including banners for your website / social media) to help promote the sale. If they don’t offer promotions, ask if they will do one for you to drive sales.
- Maintenance – it’s important your sheds don’t look tired or damaged. If there is a damaged board, piece of broken glass, or a door doesn’t close properly, make sure it is fixed right away. Your shed supplier may fix this for you if you ask them which would save you having to do it. Try re-treat the shed annually or change the show model every couple of years to keep it looking fresh. A year in the sun will see the shed quickly fade. If you need a new show model, negotiate with your shed supplier for a discounted model – or if you’re particularly good at negotiating, try get a show model which you will pay for once it has been sold as an ex display after two years – rather than paying up front.
2. Encourage more people onto your show site
There are many ways to get customers onto your show site. If someone in your area searches for ‘garden shed’ on Google, does your garden centre pop up in the local listings? There are ways you can encourage customers to come view sheds at your garden centre:
- Google My Business – make sure you have an account set up on 'Google My Business'. Enter as much information as possible which will make it more likely your garden centre will show on Google. Citations are vital to appear higher up the local listings – therefore make sure your garden centre is on all local directories, listings, review sites etc. These include Yell, Yelp etc. It is important your details (garden centre name, address etc) match exactly to each citation on your My Google Business listing so maximise the chance you appear.
- Paid ads – the current most under priced way to advertise online is currently with Facebook ads. There are lots of information online on how to set up Facebook ads locally but the main benefit is that you can target the local area and choose your demographic. For selling sheds, do not assume people who are 'interested in garden sheds' are wanting to buy a shed. You will need to try different paid ads to different target audiences in your area to see which works. My advice would be to tailor the ad to the target audience you set in your ad to see the highest possible engagement.
- Your shed supplier – does your shed supplier encourage customers to visit your show site from their own website? Do they have a store locator on their website? Can you ask them to build one? Do they advertise your show site on their social media? Can they pay for ads in your area? If they have sheds on display in your area they may get a higher return on their marketing spend if they increase their spend on marketing around where your garden centre is than marketing in areas where they don’t have their sheds on display. Are they aware of this? Speak to their marketing team and see what can be arranged – it may just need a few pictures taking of your show site and they can put these images out on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels etc.
For information on the Power Sheds retail partner offering, visit our trade sheds page.