Gardening and horticulture have grown in popularity in recent years. It is therefore not surprising that new garden centers are opening to meet this growing demand! Are you one of these new owners, or are you considering opening a garden center? Keep reading this article to discover 9 tips to better manage a garden center:

  1. Start with the administration tasks.
  2. Create an attractive brand for your garden center target market.
  3. Choose the location of your garden center.
  4. Create a website to attract more customers.
  5. Choose your point of sale system.
  6. Optimize your inventory.
  7. Create an advertising strategy tailored to your vision.
  8. Manage human resources.
  9. Optimize the daily activities of your garden center.

Whether it is to put your finances in order, optimize the use of your inventory or create a pleasant corporate culture for your staff, managing a garden center will have no more secrets for you, thanks to this article!

1. Start With the Administration Tasks for Your Garden Center

Unsurprisingly, the first step in this whole process is creating your company (if you haven’t done so already). Go to the designated government agency in your area to register your company in a business registry! When this is done, it is time to manage the other administrative aspects, namely

  • Compliance with laws and legislation relating to your location.
  • Accounting management.

Compliance With Laws and Legislation Relating to Your Location

Government authorities supervise the business activities of any company to ensure the proper functioning of the market. Your garden center will be no exception to this supervision. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the legislation governing the retail universe.

Stay tuned; and consult with the competent authorities governing your territory (province, state, territory, city, etc.), such as the Canadian Consumer Safety Act.

Accounting Management to Better Manage a Garden Center

Indeed, you need to find a way to manage your company’s accounting through an accountant or the use of an accounting software tailored to your needs.

As a merchant who works in the gardening and horticultural field, you will have the choice of doing business with an accounting expert or opting for a more independent option, like doing it yourself. Either way, you’ll probably need accounting software.

What Is Accounting Software?

An accounting software brings together several computer programs and performs all the accounting tasks of a company. Here are some popular tools that offer you the necessary services for your accounting:

  • Quickbooks.
  • Acomba. 
  • Sage Accounting Software.

All you must do is document a list of your needs and shop for a software tailored to your needs!

2. Create an Attractive Brand for Your Garden Center Target Market

In continuity with the creation of your company: the creation of your brand.

You want people to know about your business. It is therefore essential to create a recognizable brand for your customers!

Define what your primary goals are and how you want to define your business by asking yourself questions like:

  • Am I a large-area greenhouse?
  • Am I a family garden center?
  • Am I a regional nursery?
  • Am I a horticultural farm?

Lastly, what is your identity?

Once you have these answers, it will be more obvious to you which type of business to classify yourself in. All these choices will become a solid base to support your brand.

The brand can be divided into several parts, all of which are very important:

  • The name of the store.
  • The logo.
  • The graphic chart.

The Store’s Name

Do semantic and semiological research on the words you want to use in your name to ensure that the message sent to your customers is the one intended. Again, the choice is yours. You can opt for a more conservative name such as Blainville’s Garden Center. You might as well pick a name that is more creative like Floralies Jouvence.

Make sure that your company name harmonizes well with your graphic charter to maximize the compatibility of these two elements and thus maximize the effectiveness of your future advertising campaigns.

It is easy to get lost in all this entrepreneurial world and the challenges that surround it. Do not hesitate to do business with a marketing agency if you need support during this step.

The Logo

Having a logo is crucial for your business at this stage. It is possible to do business with creative agencies to manage this step; however, you could also undertake this project alone if you master creative means such as the Adobe suite, Canva or any other similar tool.

Find the Perfect Colour for Your Logo

In order to design a company logo that is recognizable, memorable, and timeless, you will need to find a colour for your future branding. Research the meaning of colours and find one (or a mix) that best represents you.

Once this charter is established, your company will be able to benefit from a constant and thoughtful image that will speak to the customers of your garden center.

The Graphic Charter

Designing a graphic charter consists of choosing the colours, fonts, typography, and other graphic concepts to create the visual identity of your brand.

When developing your graphic charter, be open to originality. Play with styles, shapes, and colours. Create an attractive brand for the customers targeted by your garden center!

3. Choose the Location of Your Garden Center

The choice of location is done in a methodical and calculated way. Certainly, a site must be available for your business, but you will also have to do a market study to fully understand the strengths of your future location. The aspects you should consider when making this choice are:

  • The price per square metre per year.
  • The accessibility of the commercial premises.
  • If there are any competitions nearby.
  • The visibility of the site.
  • The flow of people circulating near your business.

Be sure to respect these aspects to make the right choice and set up your garden center when you are ready!

4. Create a Website to Attract More Customers to Your Garden Center

The last few years have put in perspective the ways of offering a product or service to consumers: physical stores or online. Weigh the pros and cons and determine what type of place you want to occupy.

In the case of a garden center, it would seem more logical to have a physical store, because you can offer a more interesting customer experience there. However, you are free to choose the option that suits you best. It will be up to you to make this decision which will determine what happens next.

However, even if you don’t want to sell online, it’s important to have a website.

Indeed, a website has become essential for any retail business. This brings several great advantages:

  • Visibility for your business.
  • The possibility of educating your customers.
  • Selling online.

Visibility for Your Business

The biggest advantage of a website for your garden center is simple: it increases the visibility of your business!

Don’t underestimate the value of SEO on Google. By having a Google My Business account, you can display your business on the map so people in the area can easily find it.

Having a beautiful website gives consumers trust and makes them want to come and shop! Put examples of products for sale on your website and advertise what your business has to offer.

The Ability to Educate Your Customers

The website can also serve as a support tool for customer service and allows you to answer questions online; thus, saving you time while you work.

The concept of the FAQ (frequently asked questions) allows you to answer the most frequent questions or concerns about customers beforehand, and thus save time in customer service.

On your website, also display the most searched information like opening hours. This will reduce the number of calls or emails you receive from your customers in a day.

In short, use your website to inform people and motivate them to come and pay you a visit!

Online Sales

Electronic commerce (e-commerce) has taken hold of the market in recent years and has become an attractive possibility for retail businesses. This way of selling online can attract a completely different clientele and bring sales to a larger scale thanks to online delivery and orders.

The popularity of selling plants online is growing visibly. This change can also be seen in the growing commercial activities on Facebook groups focused on gardening and on Marketplace.

 Why not join this trend and take advantage of it to grow your business?

pépinière avec une tracteur rouge

5. Choose Your Point of Sale System

Are you hesitating to invest in management tools for your business? It is understandable that you are reluctant to use certain technologies. To facilitate the management of a garden center, however, the use of technology can be very profitable for both you and your customers.

The point of sale (POS) system is precisely a technology that merchants cannot do without! With a good POS system, running a store is faster and more efficient.

Point of Sale Software to Manage a Garden Center

A point of sale software (also known as POS software) has features like inventory management, transaction management, invoicing and daily, monthly, or yearly tracking of statistics.

This essential tool allows you to manage commercial transactions in your garden center with your customers easily. Not to be confused with accounting software, a point of sale software will optimize most of your store operations. In some cases, these two softwares will be compatible and this will facilitate your work.

This type of software also makes it possible to secure your important data. For example, cloud-based POS softwares make it possible to save information on servers. This protects them in the event of an outage, theft, or fire!

There are several point of sale software companies. Making the right choice for your business then becomes essential to optimize your operations. Keep in mind the features you need when shopping for your POS software. Not every POS software is suited to the needs of garden centers!

Point of Sale Hardware

Once you’ve found the POS software you need, you need to purchase the equipment to run it.

Here is a list of point of sale hardware you should get for your garden center:

  • Scanners (for scanning item barcodes).
  • Card readers (to allow payment by card).
  • Display screens (to display the POS software interface).
  • Cash drawers (to securely store your money).
  • Receipt printers (to print invoice details).
  • Keyboards and mouse (to facilitate navigation in the software interface).

When shopping for your POS software, you will notice that some companies also offer the equipment you can use with it. This can be useful since you don’t have to do any extra shopping.

However, in these situations, you are constrained in the choice of hardware. It is therefore more interesting to opt for a point of sale software compatible with a range of POS hardware, which makes the possibilities unlimited to manage a garden center. If you ever want to change to a new software, your hardware can be reused.

6. Optimize Your Inventory to Better Manage a Garden Center

Before your store even opens, you need to have products in stock and ready to sell. It is therefore necessary to find your suppliers to place your orders! The implementation of a good inventory management method is then essential.

Supplier Orders

To please your customers, offer a wide variety of plants, soil, trees, and gardening products in your garden center. How can you find reputable horticulture suppliers? Several avenues are possible.

In particular, you can do your own research on the internet to find producers and greenhouses and contact them directly.

To help you choose the right suppliers, list what you need: varieties, quantities, etc. Consider the delivery time of the different suppliers to make an informed choice.

Also, if you prefer ease, opt for a platform like OrderEase which allows you to centralize orders to different suppliers. Integrating OrderEase with a POS software saves a lot of time and greatly reduces the risk of errors when entering data.

Once you have found your suppliers and ordered the products for your inventory, you will need to organize it!

Inventory Management Methods

Keeping your inventory in order makes it easier to manage your business. This logistical aspect is essential to identify the assets and liabilities of your business (all your goods and services).

There are several methods you can use to manage your inventory:

  • Online spreadsheets.
  • Point of sale software.
  • Paper inventory.

The following table summarizes the benefits of each:

Online spreadsheets (Excel, Google Sheets, Numbers)Point of sale softwarePaper inventory
Time saving
Data security
Ready to use

Which Inventory Management Method to Choose?

Choosing the right method to manage your inventory depends on your needs. However, for a garden center, using a good point of sale software is recommended.

You might be tempted to manage your inventory in an online spreadsheet (Excel, Google Sheets, Numbers) or by hand, to save money. After all, it’s normal to want to reduce your expenses! However, a good POS software will save you valuable time. You will quickly find a good return on investment.

You already have a lot to think about to properly manage a garden center. Make your job easier by using the right tool to manage your inventory. You will not regret it!

7. Create an Advertising Strategy Adapted to Your Vision

To some extent, you already have an advertising platform just by having your own physical store. Indeed, people in the area can find your store that way. However, there is a more effective way to increase your potential customers: advertising.

Advertising for Your Garden Center

In order to find the perfect advertising strategy for your garden center, consider establishing a clear guideline to stay on course. Your garden center ads will be more effective if you follow these guidelines:

  • Determine your target audience:
    • Young people aged 18 to 24.
    • People aged 60 to 74.
  • Determine the appropriate platform to reach your target audience:
    • Facebook Ads.
    • Google Ads.
    • Radio.
    • Newspapers.
    • Billboards.
    • Others, etc.
  • Determine the best time to start the ad campaign:
    • When garden centers open.
    • During the off season.

By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to establish a solid marketing strategy for your garden center.

To set up effective advertisements, do not hesitate to call on marketing agencies!

8. Manage Human Resources

Human resources management is important. Indeed, it plays a big role in the customer experience as well as your sales objectives.

Find Skilled Labour

One way to find staff is to promote your job offers the same way you do with your products: you must be compelling. Promoting the employer brand is effective in finding qualified labor in any type of business.

The employer brand is the image that your company projects both externally and internally. Basically, it’s what is said about your company (not to be confused with the corporate culture).

Tailor your job postings to attract your ideal employees. Be creative with the chosen medium and put forward the good working conditions that you can afford to offer.

Ex. Flexible schedule, dynamic team, competitive salary, employee discounts, etc.

Since you are the owner of a garden center, check with certain recruitment agencies for temporary foreign workers to have access to seasonal labour. This is what your competitors are doing! It’s a good way to find the help you need.

Retain Employees

Once you’ve hired your employees, you need to make sure you keep them! This saves you from always having to train new staff.

One way to create a pleasant working atmosphere in your business is to organically establish a corporate culture. 

Do not forget about schedules and payrolls! It is important to respect the employees availability and make sure everyone gets their paycheck on time. It is a way to build loyalty with your staff as well as mutual respect.

9. Optimize the Daily Activities of Your Garden Center

In businesses, a routine helps you save time daily. Your business will benefit from an organized structure.

Schedule time at the beginning and end of your workday to deal with opening and closing the cash drawer. Set up a specific space for receiving your goods to better manage the “delivery” aspect of your garden center.

Don’t forget the sale! Everyone knows how frustrating it can be when we don’t achieve the sales results we want. Unfortunately, not all of us have the skills of an outstanding salesperson—or the value of being one—but like any other skill, it is not innate, it is learned.

Related Products: Boost for Sale

An easy and effective solution that could allow you to improve your sales in the short term is to offer related products or items to your customers. For example, advise Pierre to buy two bags of potting soil with his new Dracena. This is a way to increase your income quickly and, in this way, offer a product that meets your customer’s needs.

Some POS software, such as Alice POS, has a feature where it is possible to manually link items and thus allow merchants to cross-sell. Equipped with this point of sale software, you will greatly facilitate the task of managing a garden center.

Choosing the right tools to work with will lead to success in your retail business!

When you start the project of starting a business in the horticultural field, you might as well do it the right way with the right equipment.

From the creation of the company to the management of human resources, you must remember that each decision you make will germinate and have a short—or long-term impact on the health of your company. Equip yourself with the best tools to overcome the obstacles that await you and thus build a solid structure for your garden center.

Your visual identity, your name and your brand will define your place in the market. Do not underestimate the importance of these components! The online presence is becoming more and more important, do not neglect this opportunity which is offered to you to improve your sales with a new advertising window.

Which POS software you use will influence how you organize and manage your inventory. Take your time to review the advantages and disadvantages of each to make an informed decision.

Finally, with all the tools now at your disposal, optimize your work with them; you will certainly increase your sales in this way!

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