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How Garden Connect is helping garden centres connect with customers

Source: Garden Connect

Garden centre customers expect a connected retail experience whether in-store, through mobile devices or the web



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11 March 2021

A year into the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions, it is apparent that the virus has had an extreme effect on the garden retail industry.

When garden retailers closed their doors during lockdown periods, many consumers switched their spending to online platforms. Leading online marketing provider Garden Connect has provided services to many garden centres to improve their online sales channels.

Edwin Meijer, marketing director at Garden Connect explained: “At Garden Connect we have seen a steady rise in online sales ever since the company was founded back in 2002. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, garden centre webshops broke record after record in online turnover with hundreds of orders coming in on a daily basis.”

Emergency webshops

Garden Connect realised that many garden centres without a proper webshop would suffer huge consequences. To help customers that wanted to move to online quickly, a so-called ‘emergency webshop’ was developed.

In normal circumstances it would take approximately two to three months to get a full webshop up and running. Since every webshop is developed bespokely and no templates are used, it takes time to discuss requirements, development solutions and make integrations with third-parties like EPoS providers.

“With the emergency webshop this extensive process was fully skipped,” said Sjors Hemmen, business developer at Garden Connect. “For Garden Connect customers this meant their new webshop was online in a timely manner in just under three weeks with a full operational webshop.”

Interest in online sales

During spring and summer 2020, Garden Connect delivered dozens of webshops, allowing garden centres to continue trading even though they were closed or at least not open to their full extent. According to the company, each retailer confirmed that having a tradable online presence helped them to allow their customers to continue shopping at their favourite garden centres.

As the pandemic continues, Garden Connect has added an Emergency Webshop package to its list with standard services as a Baseline Webshop. It said uptake on new clients starting a webshop has continued in recent months, with the rise of online sales not slowing down at all.

Bespoke apps for garden centres

As garden centre customers expect a connected retail experience whether in-store, through mobile devices or the web, Garden Connect also provides a range of innovative apps through its partnership with Davidson Richards.

Working in partnership, Davidson Richards and Garden Connect can help garden centres connect with their customers, provide a great shopping experience and increase loyalty. Both companies specialise in serving garden retailers and by combining their expertise and the latest technology they deliver a proven best-of-breed approach.

The OpSuite Apps powered by Garden Connect include Loyalty, Scan & Go and Hospitality and are designed in line with the garden centre’s branding.

The apps use real-time data for customers, products, pricing, promotions and loyalty already available in OpSuite, Davidson-Richards’ leading EPoS and retail management solution. Garden centres can transform how they interact with customers and reward loyalty through targeted activities. Campaign effectiveness is easily monitored, saving time, effort and costs compared to more traditional generic mass mailings.

“This demonstrates our pioneering approach for garden centres, in what we believe to be the first such launch of a Scan & Go App in the sector” adds Keith Bateman, director of Davidson Richards. “After having successfully partnered with Garden Connect previously regarding many integrated webshops, it made perfect sense to work with them to develop the OpSuite Apps and bring them to market.”

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