It may come as a surprise, but one of the most important parts of any garden center also happens to be one of the most overlooked.
It’s not the benches, or the greenhouse, or even your product flow… it’s the parking lot.
These days, the real challenge for everyone is time. From customers to growers to garden center owners, getting in and out of your garden center quickly and efficiently is crucial.
That’s why having a reliable, inviting, and easy-to-navigate parking area is super important for keeping your customer happy… and coming back for more.
Convenient Parking: A Big Benefit Over Big Box Stores
Garden centers have one major advantage over big stores and suppliers when it comes to designing a parking area: you can organize your parking to meet your customers’ needs, rather than to fit as many people as possible.
That means you can set up your garden center parking to give customers easy access to your merchandise within just a few steps of their car. That makes getting back and forth from your aisles and your registers easy, even for customers buying large loads or heavy plants.
It’s also important to remember the multi-trip shopper. For those neighborhood garden centers with regular customers, it’s not uncommon to see the same people come by to pick up items two or three times in the same weekend.
The more you can do to minimize your customers’ walking, hauling, and travel time, the better experience they’ll have—and the more likely they’ll be willing to stop by to grab that last, crucial item.
Use Your Parking Area(s) to The Fullest Extent
Believe it or not, your garden center parking area is much more than just a place for cars. It’s also one of your most important marketing spaces.
Whether your customers are passing by on a weekend or glancing by while stuck in traffic on their regular route home, having a clear view of your products from your parking area can offer a huge benefit toward inspiring spur-of-the-moment gardening ideas. Putting your best products front-and-center might just convince them to swing by and shop.
It’s also a smart idea to offer a few different parking spaces at your garden center, especially if your shopping area is spread out over a large area. By giving customers options as to where they can park, you can simplify the shopping process and guarantee a better shopping experience. This is also crucial if your garden center has multiple registers or checkout locations, helping save the long walk from checkout to the car when it comes time to load up.
Keep Your Parking Spaces In Tip-Top Shape
Giving your customers plenty of places to park is always a good idea… but if your parking area isn’t in good condition, it could be more of a turn-off than a convenience.
Your customers shouldn’t have to java a four-wheel vehicle just to park at your garden center. Make sure your parking area is free from potholes or muddy sections, and always be sure there are no loose screws or other tire-damaging bits and pieces lying around where your customers will park.
Here’s a pro tip: paved parking spaces are always a worthwhile investment. Not only will this help preserve your parking surfaces from damage, but it will also improve drainage outside your garden center to prevent mud puddles from forming. Plus, clearly-marked parking spaces will help cut down confusion, prevent fender benders, and maximize room for customers to stop by and browse.