With spring just around the corner, now is the time for retailers to think about promoting their pond products. Consumer trends have made the pond category more and more challenging over the past five years, but there is still plenty of opportunities for spring sales with existing pond-keepers and attracting new pond keepers into the trade.
The impact of trends
Socio-demographic trends show homes are getting smaller, so that means gardens are shrinking too. More single occupancy homes and people with less time on their hands mean people are looking for gardens with a hassle-free approach. Combine that with the fact that the ‘millennial generation’ spend less time outside, and you can see why there is a pressure on the category.
Despite this there is still a huge opportunity for ponds and by leveraging current consumer trends, which have also changed over the years. For example, we have seen a perceived rise in stress, increase in obesity and a trend towards the environment and sustainability. These trends mean people are encouraged to put down their tablets and smartphones and to get outside to enjoy the outdoors, great for the aquatics industry. As well as creating a relaxing and beautiful environment, ponds have the added benefit of attracting very diverse wildlife which has added benefits for the environment but also for educating children and families. For those that would like to create a pond, it can be done in a way that is as easy and hassle free as they want.
Make sure your store is in top shape
We always see a hive of promotional and marketing activity around spring time to entice consumers into all types of stores. Spring has always been a big focus for the garden sectors, which offers aquatic retailers the perfect opportunity to ensure fishkeeping is kept at the front of a consumer’s mind. Make sure your business is ready for this boom in activity. This isn’t just about a general cleaning of the shelves and making sure everything is tidy, it gives you an opportunity to revisit all areas of your store. Ensure displays provide a strong impact and are inspiring shoppers to visualise how something could look in their own garden.
This is a far easier approach than selling the dry goods on their own from the shelf or box. Some shoppers, particularly those with ponds, may not have visited your shop over the winter months, so it’s important to excite them when they walk in and create an impact. Inspiring, inviting displays will always encourage further purchases. This may require some investment but the rewards when it’s done will far outweigh the time and effort spent ensuring the store is in top shape for shoppers.
Within the displays, if you have room, try and cater for as large a market as possible. If you are lucky enough to have the space, then setting up a pond in store and having as many products as possible running is a great way of advertising your pond equipment.
Having staff that can talk about products with confidence will always help boost sales and make customers feel as comfortable as possible, so it’s important to remember that it can be just as daunting to explain the equipment needed as it is for the shopper buying it. Ensure you have a good product range, without making it too big as sometimes having too many options can complicate. For smaller ponds there are kits available and all-in- one solutions that help make it simple for budding pond-keepers. Don’t be afraid to ask manufacturers for advice and training if required. All good manufacturers should be happy to provide this.
Aftercare is key
Once the shopper has been inspired and has chosen the right pond for them, it’s important to run them through the basics of looking after their pond so their experience is as positive as possible. To really entice returning customers, recommend they come back to your store at key points for advice on the right products for this stage and explain the benefits, such as ‘come back when your pond has been filled and I can run you through the process of fish stocking’. This is a way of holding their hand throughout the journey, ensuring they are successful and creating a strong relationship with a new loyal customer.
Let’s not forget the existing pond keepers as they will often be in your store, no doubt spurred on by some good weather or the need to get the pond up and running again now the fish are starting to wake up and become more active. For these shoppers it is important to show the products needed to help make sure their pond gets off to a good start. For example, spring is an ideal time to prepare ponds for any algae blooms that may occur in the warmer weather. Ensuring shoppers have as much information as possible, in easy to digest ways will also maximise sales regardless of their expertise.
When it comes to ponds, retailers should take full advantage of the spring season, and the sales boost that this can bring. It’s also helpful to note the changes in the housing market and focus on smaller ponds built around a water feature or ponds with a wildlife or educational theme to engage consumers and inspire them to become creative with the space they have, allowing you to help lift the market.