The garden centre I'm visiting today is a little different, if only at this time of the year. The front half of the garden centre has been transformed into a Christmas shop. It's full of colourful tinsel, glowing decorations and happy people. If if the customers aren't there to buy Christmas decorations they are there to look around. They car park is full, the café is full and the customers are mingling, talking and generally enjoying themselves.
As with all my blogs, I look at the success and failure of others to see how it can transform things for all of us. I think that a large part of retail is looking at how others operate and applying that to our own business. In this case, it may not just be Christmas that is the winning formula but how it is approached. I spoke in the last blog about garden centres on the need for making the front of the shop something to shout about. And this garden centre has done just that.
The message here us to carry out anything that you do as though you really mean it. Having this Christmas shop has made the garden centre a destination. Like Fenwick's Christmas window in Newcastle, it has become part of some people's Christmas tradition. This makes you a winner straight away because customers will walk through the door as a matter of course.
Think about your own shopping trips. There will be stores in certain towns or cities that you will walk into and look around out of habit. You may not be looking for anything in that category but go in there anyway. It may be their coffee shop, the fact that they have different things every time you go in or their displays. You need to find your reason for shoppers to visit and make the most of it.
Think long and hard about what you do, what you want to be known for and then work hard with your team and your marketing to make this happen.