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3: Customer Care

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3 

Customer Care

The purpose of a retail organization is to offer goods and services for the customer to use in a manner that is profitable to both parties. Fundamental to this is the understanding of what a customer actually wants. This is often dependent upon knowledge of likely consumer behaviour (Chapter 2) and then presenting the product offer in a way that will be attractive to them. This is commonly known as marketing (Chapter 4).

Between these two stages the manager has to evaluate and identify the method and level at which their organization will provide products and services.

These decisions will affect the way a potential customer will view that garden centre’s ‘offer’ and help shape their view as to its position within the marketplace.

3.1  Customer Motivation

According to consumer behaviourists, a successful transaction will only take place if the garden retailer is able to match a suitable product to the wants or needs of the customer.

Understanding the motivation of the customer is the key to making an effective match. However, this may become muddled in many retailers’ minds as there may be a mixing of needs and solutions. The perception, for example, that

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7: Managing Safety and Security

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7 

Managing Safety and Security

7.1  Introduction

Reading most garden centre-related articles in trade magazines, visiting trade shows or interactions with supplier representatives, the focus is primarily on the development of profit. For any business this is indeed a primary consideration as without this the business will fail.

The business owner does have other social and ethical responsibilities which are implicit within the running of the business. These are not divorced from the focus upon profit but are intertwined with it. Indeed the success of the retailer will have a significant effect on the local community in terms of employment as well as the beneficial effect on manufacturing and service and service sectors that support it and help it to develop. From this standpoint, the owner or manager has a mandate to ensure the business is as successful as possible, albeit balanced with appropriate care and consideration for other partners and colleagues.

Each business will work within the context of the legal constraints of the country within which they are based, but in addition will be pressured by acceptable cultural norms; examples being the hours of opening, observance of cultural events such as a minute’s silence on Armistice Day (11 November), or the way it advertises products. In this latter case there may be a community backlash if the attempt to be clever and noticeable is deemed to be insensitive or vulgar.

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10: Future Responsibilities

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10 

Future Responsibilities

10.1  Introduction

The future influences the present just as much as the past.

Fredrich Neitzsche

Attempting to look ahead within any business is fraught with difficulty as it is truly a trip into the unknown. That said, the manager needs to be trying to interpret trends and fashions in order to stay ahead of competitors and to meet the future demands of their customers. As identified in the very first chapter, McNair’s Wheel of Retailing theory identifies that retailing does not remain constant. Only those businesses that innovate, adapting to changes within the marketplace, will survive. Sometime this means radical overhauls of practices and product offers.

This is not a new phenomenon, even in horticulture. Many of those businesses with a long horticultural pedigree have only been garden centre retailers for a matter of a few decades – their earlier fame founded on the supply of seeds, bulbs or as growers of nursery stock. As highlighted in Chapter 1, the size, style and ambience of garden centres has also changed rapidly, and there is no reason to perceive that in its current format it is indeed the finished article.

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2: Consumer Behaviour

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2 

Consumer Behaviour

It’s a simple question: ‘What does the person need?’ However, answering it is far more complex. The decisions and priorities that an individual places upon the purchase of specific products has been studied at length and help to form a framework within which a retailer may work, but there is a significant number of situations where human behaviour is not rational, too.

2.1 The Buying Process

Probably most fundamental to retailers is the understanding of the stages that surround the selection and purchasing of a product. These stages are often presented in the format shown in Fig. 2.1, all of which may be influenced by the retailer. Success is required in all these stages in order not only for a successful purchase to be made but also for repeat business to follow. It is easy for the retailer to over-complicate the decisions the consumer has to make.

Many garden retailers will pride themselves on the range of garden-care chemicals they stock (as a specialist retailer). However, if the choice of weedkillers

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4: Marketing

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4 

Marketing

4.1  Introduction

Whilst everyone uses the word, trying to define what marketing actually is proves to be more complex. Some will cite ‘advertising’, others ‘promotion’ or ‘display’. In many ways it is all these things and far more. The Chartered Institute of Marketing offers this definition:

Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

In other words, by studying and evaluating the market forces and factors affecting a business, the business is able to put itself into a position whereby it may optimize the benefit of its position.

Without good marketing, it is extremely difficult for a business to understand and meet the needs of its customers; with a potential gap between their needs and what the business has to offer, there is the opportunity for another competing business to meet their needs more closely.

While the focus is often on advertising or selling, marketing is a key process that in effect starts with the development and procurement of goods and services to meet the needs or wants of the customer. Interpretation of this may be very important, as the customer is not always aware of these themselves, and often the development of a product meets a need that thus far has not been recognized.

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