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Adapting Your Business Model for the Dynamic COVID Landscape

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behavior worldwide. Retailers need to identify and implement current trends to help boost sales in an environment where less foot traffic is part of the ‘new normal’. Providing your customers with an easy to use, online shopping environment where they can remain socially distant but still purchase the products they need is crucial.

Our QuickCommerce online storefronts are focused on helping your garden center get up and running for online sales in minimal time, along with the features that consumers are now expecting of brick and mortar establishments, like local delivery (if applicable) and curbside pickup. Have
a special requirement? We can incorporate that as well. Our storefronts are easy to use, rapidly deployed and can help move your business into a landscape that is now ‘high tech’ instead of ‘high touch’.

If you’re not quite ready for a full-fledged online shopping experience, we offer customized solutions for however you would prefer to do business with your customers. Options like the ability to upload store inventory lists to your site for users to view and call in orders are a great,
simple way to let people know what you have to offer.

Lastly, make sure to inform your shoppers about what steps you’ve taken to put them more at ease when doing business with you. Let GCS help by designing newsletters, signage and other materials to help promote the changes you have made to adapt to their shifting needs.

Videos: The Latest Marketing Revolution

Video content is progressing rapidly as a vital component of your marketing plan. Are you taking advantage of this compelling tool? Here are some quick facts for you to embrace video content marketing:

  1. Video can lead to direct sales – 74% who watch an informative video about a product, purchased that item.
  2. Most information transmitted to our brain is visual – so videos boost engagement.
  3. Videos build trust – watching a video gives consumers more confidence to purchase the items you are featuring.
  4. Google loves videos – with longer viewing time, search engines are signaled that you have good content, hence moving you up in search engine rankings. 53 times more likely if you have a video on your site!
  5. Video is easy to consume – video preference is obvious – showing and explaining makes it much easier to learn or absorb the information.
  6. Email blasts with videos have a 96% higher click through rate – make sure you are using video in your email marketing.

No time to create videos? We’ve got you covered! Our solution series of professionally created horticulture videos are affordable, contain relevant copy and will make your video marketing SO easy! Call today or email to sign up!

2020: Reinforcing Your Brand or Confusing Consumers?

Although important, branding is so much more than an attractive logo or catchy tagline. Oh, if it were only that simple!

A powerful brand conveys what your business does and what can be expected of you. It’s crucial to your business to know that your brand begins with, first and foremost, your customers’ experience. Your brand is born and comes to life in actions and relationships and is only reinforced, displayed, conveyed and enriched with your logo, tagline, marketing materials, website and social media presence

Effective marketing increases sales. Together, solid relationships and a clear branding plan will increase loyalty, turning customers into advocates, even campaigners, for your business, helping to organically grow your reputation and client base.

Garden Center Solutions is one of the few leading marketing strategy companies in the country that specializes in IGC branding. We’ve been serving independent garden centers for 18 years. We guide our clients through the process of brand development with a distinctive and effective approach combined with exceptional design.

Our offerings include:

Brand Strategy
Brand Implementation & Design
Brand Management

Visit for additional branding information.


SEO vs. AdWords – Two very different ways of getting to the top

There are a number of variables involved when it comes to your site’s placement in search engine results. The term for this is SEO (search engine optimization). There is no 100% method to ensure that your site is ranked at the top of the results, so beware of anyone who tells you that they can guarantee this. There are however, best practices that should be put in place to help you get there. We take all of this into consideration when developing our sites. Some aspects of a well-developed site include proper meta tags, heading tags and other information that exists under what the user sees in their web browser. One thing that search engines value quite heavily is a steady flow of text content and information, like articles, news stories or things of that nature. When we combine best practices during the development, along with the article content that we provide, we have found that it helps to get our sites ranked very well. Some things that we would do to target specific areas or products would be to pepper extra relevant keywords into the site and adjust the meta information accordingly. Keep in mind though, that if someone were to search for ‘[your service] near me,’ google will take their geographic location into account and favor business that are closer to where the searcher is located. Another challenge would be the density of similar businesses in a specific area. It’s much more difficult to compete again ten companies’ websites than three.

Generally, best practices in coding and fresh content are key factors when trying to get a site ranked highly on google. There are other things that could be done to give you an extra edge, such as ‘claiming’ your business on google and trying to solicit positive reviews from customers (both for Google and Facebook).

AdWords places your website / listing above everyone else’s for certain search phrases that you specify. For example, you can have an AdWords campaign to show your listing at the top of the results if someone searches ‘[Service] in Springfield.’ A major consideration is that this can be costly — particularly if there is heavy competition. You would essentially ‘bid’ to show up instead of your competitors. You might bid $1.50 per click, whereas Bob’s Landscaping might bid $1.75. In this case, Bob’s ad would get preferential placement (for example, time of day). The major benefit of using AdWords though is that it can get you at the top of the results almost instantly, whereas optimizing a site for SEO can take weeks or sometimes a month to start placing your site in a favorable position on the search results. We can design and schedule the ads for you, generally you will set a budget for how much you would like to spend per click and how long you would like the campaigns to run.

List Acquisition

While your loyal customers are important, you should always be prospecting for qualified prospective ones to broaden your customer base and replace those lost to attrition.

Acquiring new customers is most effectively achieved through list acquisition, a service that we provide to our customers. Many marketing companies claim to have the “best” lists. All list come from the same source. We would like to be transparent and tell you how we come up with a mailing list that is uniquely constructed and most effective for your business.

We begin your list with those addresses in the area most likely to shop your location. This information is based on driving time, population density and project budget. Next, working with you, we identify and input the demographics that are conducive to your potential shopper (single family home, specific interests, income, age, etc.). Finally, our Axiom data source provides us with a list that meets these criteria.

If you currently have a loyal customer list, we run it through the new list to remove any duplicate addresses. This is referred to as ‘list suppression’. This procedure also provides important information used in market share analysis.

Our Fees:
List – .09 – .12 per name
List Suppression – $99.00
Market Analysis $150.00

Responsive Web Design and Why it Matters

People are no longer using only desktop PCs and laptops to view your website. With the ubiquity of mobile phones, tablets and other web-enabled devices, you need something that accommodates everyone. Responsive web design is the technique used to create websites that adapt or ‘respond’ to the different ways in which people access your website. By using a responsive layout, your website will look attractive on every device — and all of the new ones that come out in the future. Thirty percent of web traffic is through mobile phones and tablets, so don’t neglect these users! Give them an experience that looks great, no matter what they use to browse the web.

Congratulations to these Fortunate Show Winners!

Thanks for participating in our Raffle! Here are the prize winners.

Atlantic Garden Center – Virginia Beach, VA
A FREE onsite marketing consultation. Includes all travel expenses for Angela to visit your IGC and up to 6 hours of consultation. $2,500 approximate value (1 Winner)

Bosco’s Garden Center – Simsbury, CT
1,000 FREE Planting Guides. Customized for your store. $700 value (1 Winner)

Ashcombe Farm and Greenhouse – Shemans Dale, PA
Darling Ace & Garden Center – Marshall, MI
Louie’s Nursery – Riverside, CA
Perricone Garden Center – McHenry, Il
Tatterson Greenhouses – Port Haywood, VA
1,000 FREE Business Cards. Includes custom design. $200 value (5 Winners)

Don’t Let Opportunity Fly Away

Grab Your Share of the Growing Wild Bird Market

Wild Bird Feeding is a growing hobby. Consumers are looking to conserve nature, add beauty to their backyards, and involve their families at the same time. These are many of the same motivations that bring customers to an independent garden center for their gardening needs, but studies show that most consumers are still purchasing their wild bird supplies at the big box stores. According to Ask Your Target Market, more than 80% of consumers are buying their supplies at places like Walmart or Home Depot.

Change that, by offering things Big Box stores may not:

  • Offer Early Bird or Early Order Discounts on Wild Bird seed and feeders.
  • Hold workshops or talks in your store about wild birds and how to attract them.
  • Display signs and handouts detailing what feed, feeders or plants are best for the birds.

Get a piece of this growing market by being the helpful experts on wild bird feeding, fostering the same reputation as you have for gardening advice. Customers will reward you for your efforts.

GCS can help, with our all new Wild Bird program, including all the pieces you need to grab your share of the market.

Direct Mail and your marketing campaign.

With Direct Mail, your business can:

  • Determine the best audience for your message. Mail’s targetability lets you focus media dollars on those most likely to respond.
  • Choose what to measure – from offers to creative elements. You can then use this data to improve effectiveness.
  • Reach almost anyone – virtually every consumer has a mailing address and reads mail on his or her own time.
  • Tailor each mailpiece. Today’s technologies permit highly personalized messaging, offers, and graphics.
  • Tap into countless creative formats. Mail can touch literally every sense through product samples, QR Codes,® and more.
  • Learn more about your customers by sending a survey or including questions on a reply card.

Read the rest of the tips here!

Independence Day

Independence Day is next Friday and folks are getting their yards ready for the holiday. Help them out!

Today is the day to start pushing the red, white & blue. Pre-made planters in these colors are a sure sale for holiday bar-b-ques. And, talk about bar-b-ques, how about a deal on grills for the summer season. I heard that the mosquitoes are bad this year. We’ll be needing something to take care of that! July and August generally bring a drought. Push the rain barrels, hoses, drip irrigation systems, soaker hoses, timers, sprinklers, watering wands, etc.

You get the picture. They need what you’re offering, the key is – you have to offer! Do that now with a highly effective and low cost emailer. We can send yours out this week and as many times as you like before the 4th at no additional charge. We’re ready to knock it out for you. Give us a call.

Happy 4th!