SMS Marketing for Garden Centres
After an unseasonably cold and wet Easter weekend, the weather has finally turned to something that resembles spring, with temperatures finally reaching double figures and some lengthier dry spells – and with this the opportunity to invest some quality time in our gardens. According to a report published by Horticulture Week, the UK gardening market will grow at a 1% compound annual growth rate at constant 2016 prices, leading to sales of £4.3 billion by 2021. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the trade association for the UK garden industry, reports that that over two-thirds of British adults visit a garden centre every year, spending around £1.5 billion each year on plants alone for their gardens – before we consider lawn mowers and other garden power tools – which gives the home and garden sector combined a total value of close to £34 billion as at the end of 2017.
Whether you are an established chain or an independent local garden centre, SMS Marketing is a great way to increase sales, and now is the ideal time to make the most of it. Our experts look at 5 ways SMS can be used to drive profits.
1. SMS Marketing for new products and ranges
With the new gardening season comes a plethora of new products and ranges, from gardening power tools and equipment such as mowers, strimmers and pressure washers to plants themselves, including seeds, bulbs, shrubs and trees. Then there are essential hand tools and of course items such as fencing, edging and trellises. With so much for customers to choose from and so many opportunities for upsells and cross-sells, reaching both new and existing customers with offers tailored to their interests and needs is a highly effective way to draw in those sales – and SMS Marketing is a great place to start.
For online customers, you can use their order history to send out messages of specific relevance to them individually. For example, if your records show that a customer purchased a new lawn mower two years ago, now might be a great time to introduce the upgraded model. An SMS message might read something like:
“Dear Mr Anderson, have you seen the latest model of the Flymo Easi Glide 330VX, with improved efficiency, greater accuracy and better than ever handling? Now available at Harry’s Garden Centre. Click here to learn more…”
Where a purchase history is not available, such as for customers who purchase non-guarantee items in store, SMS Marketing can be used for a more generic offering, for example:
“Is your lawn looking worse for wear? Make sure the grass looks greener on your side with 10% off Evergreen Extreme Green when you spend £50 or more at Harry’s Garden Centre this week…”
In this second example, the offer for a discount with a minimum spend entices customers to increase the value of their transaction, whilst the time-limited offer adds a sense of urgency to increase conversion rate.
2. Special events
From flash sales to celebrity visits and expert talks, there are plenty of opportunities for garden centres to use SMS Marketing to share details of special events. The long weekend that marks the early May bank holiday on 7th May, for example, is a great time to run a range of different events. With longer, warmer evenings, consider running a three-day special promotion on barbecues and related products – this might take the form of a fixed percentage off every product within the range, or special offers based on basket value. Either way, SMS Marketing is a great way to make sure customers are in the know. Try an SMS message such as:
“For 3 days only this May Holiday Weekend 5-7th May, get a sizzling 15% off our entire BBQ range! See you soon at Harry’s Garden Centre…”
If you’ve managed to secure a gardening expert such as Charlie Dimmock or Matt James to host an event or give a talk over the weekend, then a similar approach is a great way to maximise attendance.
Don’t forget that family-friendly events are also a great way to bring in sales – why not set up some themed, garden activities for children to participate in such as seed planting, garden adventure trails, etc.
3. Opening hours by SMS
If your customers are going to spend their money at your garden centre, then it is important that they know when you are open for business – and SMS Marketing is the obvious way to keep them up to date, especially if, like many centres, your hours vary on a seasonal basis. A simple, periodic SMS message is all it takes to make sure everybody knows exactly when your doors open and close –
“Spruce up your garden this spring with Harry’s Garden Centre – now open from 9am – 7pm daily, 10am – 4pm Sundays…”
4. SMS Marketing for gardening tips and tricks
A great way for your garden centre to add value to customers and increase engagement and loyalty is to offer advice and information to help them make the most of the gardening season. A blog is a great way to do this, however, your customers need to know when new articles and features are available – so why not distribute your updates via SMS?
Every time you update your blog, send out an SMS message with a brief introduction to the article such as:
“Learn 5 expert tips to keep your lawn looking lush this summer – check out the latest blog at harrysgarcencentre.co.uk…”
Remember that most smartphones support clickable links, so customers will be able to access your link directly from the SMS message – meaning they can go straight to your website even if they happen to be in the garden at the time.
5. Rate your visit
Customer feedback is an essential part of customer relations, and an important way to make sure your garden centre is living up to expectations – so giving customers an opportunity to rate their visit is very important. SMS Marketing is a simple and effective way to do exactly this and because of its simplicity tends to get a high response rate.
For best results, ensure you ask the customer if they are willing to participate before beginning:
“We’d love to hear your feedback on your visit to Harry’s Garden Centre today. To participate in our short survey, reply YES. To decline, reply NO…”
The survey is best run using a short series of questions that can be rated on a numerical scale, for example –
“On a scale of 1-5, where 5 is the best, how would you rate the customer service you received today?”
“And how easy was it to find what you were looking for?”
To incentivise customers to respond, consider adding a special bonus for participation such as a discount voucher code.
To get set up with SMS marketing in seconds, give the award-winning team at Fastsms a call now on 0800 954 5305.
Here's a great real life example of how a retailer used text messaging to offer out a discount voucher to customers who had visited their store. Their approach is simple and intelligent and very focused on one segment of their customer base, those who had recently visited a store.
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