In the horticultural retail business management class I teach and during extension presentations I deliver to green industry and produce industry growers and retailers, I talk quite a bit about identifying the primary customer and using proven strategies to meet their needs and wants. Most likely your primary customer, who is the gatekeeper for what is purchased for the household, is female – just as it is for the audiences I help educate. A fair number of resources are available, ranging from books to websites, which provide tips and describe techniques on how to best appeal to females, who on average make 80% to 85% of the purchasing decisions for the household.
So, with such valuable information available what can an agricultural business owner/operator do to turn shopping into an exceptional retail experience? Let’s take a “walk” through the outlet and consider some easy and quick fixes that will encourage her to walk throughout the store and shop as long as possible. According to Paco Underhill, a cultural anthropologist and author, it takes a woman only 3 seconds to determine whether or not the store she has entered is the right store for her. Three seconds for her to walk through the doorway, look right, look left, and either continue forward or turnaround and leave. Think about what you can do just around your entrance to encourage her to stay, rather than flee.
Take a look around your parking lot. Would containers with flowering plants add value to your outdoor space? What else could you consider adding to make the space inviting? Consumers find the sound of running water to be soothing – is there space to add a fountain or water feature?
Now that she is approaching the door to come into the outlet is the entrance and exit clearly marked? Is there ample space in the “decompression zone” (area just beyond the door) where customers can take off their sunglasses and coat and adjust to the inside setting before moving into the store? Keep this area clutter free so that customers have ample room to make any adjustments but also keep in mind that customers tend to overlook merchandise placed here.
Stay tuned until next time when we talk about merchandising tips and techniques to use in the retail outlet.