Every day is a battle in independent small business, especially where you have a giant of a competitor outspending you on advertising. This is so true in the garden centre space.

We think the best way for any independent garden centre to compete is to leverage your points of difference, at every opportunity.

Software from Tower Systems has facilities designed specifically for garden centres, to enable them to do this, to leverage their point of difference at each touchpoint.

This non-tech article outlines these facilities. It represents business level advice we provide to garden centre owners and managers using our software. It reflects advice in addition to comprehensive technical advice, help and training on our software.

We believe that the more you leverage the specialisation in your business the more you differentiate your business from big business competitors. We are in an era where specialisation matters in businesses like yours, and ours.

  1. Special customer orders. This is the ability to order stock from a supplier for a specific customer. On arrival of the stock item, a barcode is printed with the customer name, for placement on to the product. The software can be set to send an alert to the customer by text or email, advising the arrival of the goods into the store. Customers love this personalisation. Better still, pitch an offer to customers prior to ordering from suppliers. Pre-sell. Get a non-refundable deposit. Then place your order.
  2. Share knowledge. On receipts and other touchpoint documents, include local knowledge by product or generally that shows your business as being expert. The more you do this, the more you share knowledge about garden care in your local area, the more you differentiate your business.
  3. Make what you sell. Using the manufactured goods facilities in the software it is easy to make goods. For example, you might put together a plant, a pot and a bag of nutrients as a pack. This is your pack, only available from you. It is easy to setup, sell and manage. This is a valuable point of difference.
  4. Reward your regular shoppers with a coffee card type offer. For example, buy ten plants priced at $15.00 or more and get the 11th plant for free. The software can track the purchases, ensuring your shoppers get their reward if they buy within the rules you establish.
  5. Club / community group deals / pricing. A great way to win new shoppers is through a community group. You can publish a card or voucher enabling members of a group to present this for a discount on each purchase. The software can track the purchases and at a designated time you can give the group a rebate in return for their member loyalty. Consider being flexible of what constitutes a club. It could be that people who like to fish with a particular person are in a ‘club’. The more groups and people you have talking about your business the better.
  6. Instant loyalty rewards. Another way we can help maximise sales is with an instant loyalty reward. This is particularly useful where you see shoppers once a year or quite infrequently as is often the case in fishing and outdoor businesses. Using rules that you control, a receipt can include a voucher offering a specific amount off the next purchase if that purchase is made in a timeframe you set. An average 19% redemption rate for the vouchers with a third redeemed the day of purchase. Male shoppers are far more likely to redeem the day of purchase. This instant loyalty reward facility is another way we serve your type of business. In the software, we call it discount vouchers.
  7. Easily create a quote based on what a customer wants. If they decide to proceed, the quote can be actioned quickly and easily.
  8. Hazardous goods. Include appropriate warnings on documents provided with hazardous goods for the protection of your customers and your business.
  9. As plants in-store grow, report them and increase their sale price.
  10. Label for outdoors. Using our weatherproof labels, confidently label products out on the lot so they can be scanned regardless of weather conditions.
  11. Leverage events. Using this new facility, added Q1 2018, you can market to shoppers based on interests, past purchases, birthdays and other date related events in and around their lives. For example, you could run an email campaign for all who purchased a particular type of plant and offer advice on seasonal care to local conditions.
  12. Sell by weight. This is easy and accurate.
  13. Your marketing group or product suppliers can provide data files for any catalogues in which you participate. You can load these into the software making it easy to offer catalogue prices through the term of the catalogue offer.
  14. Gift vouchers. Sell customers who can’t decide what gift to purchase a gift voucher. Load on to this voucher any amount the customer wants. You set the rules on expiry and other voucher handling.
  15. Supplier comparison. Since you can purchase some items from multiple suppliers, use smart reports in the software to compare the performance of your various suppliers.
  16. Integrated in retailer is this buy now pay later finance option. You are settled quickly by the funder and the costs are like credit card costs. This can work better than LayBy in that you do not need to manage the goods in-store.
  17. You have complete control over how this is setup including the terms, rules and more.
  18. Manage remotely. Plenty of our business owners are not in their businesses regularly. Our software has facilities that enable easy remote tracking and management. Some are obvious while others are hidden and secure, giving you peace of mind that you can leave your business.

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