Creating the Guest Experience

Creating the ULTIMATE Guest Experience

by Danny Summers

We all have recently participated in Creating the Guest Experience as we have either hosted or been the guest of family and friends during the holidays. Crafting the Guest Experience is at the heart of planning for these gatherings.

What about your Garden Center's Guest Experience?

I know typical spring planning usually revolves around both Product Buying and Promotional Planning for the season or year. But how much time and effort have you devoted to studying your Center's Guest Experience?

Most likely, for most Centers, the answer is... not much.

If you have implemented or are underway with major improvements in your facility, then maybe you have done some study and had discussions about your Center's Guest Experience.

Whether you are making major improvements to your facility, or not, now could be a great time to engage your team to consider your Center's Guest Experience. While you can turn off all other distractions, walk your team through the entire Guest Experience.

Begin at street level. To you and your team, what you see looks normal. It's what you see every day. But that's not seeing through the eyes of your Guest. As I write this now I realize much of what to consider in this exercise is what is at the beginning of The Group Mystery Shopper Program reporting. Whether first impressions outside, parking, signage, shopping carts, or as they enter your Center, what are the impressions? And, most importantly here... "What do you want their impressions to be?"

That question... "What do we want their impressions to be," can be or should be a normal challenge each week for your team.

Realizing this challenge takes you to a different level far beyond typical topics of plants, products, pricing, and promotions. This does include all of those but layering over the top of these is your Garden Center's Guest Experience.

All of us have had a WOW moment as retail consumers before. Just think about any moment in the past when you walked into a retail store, of any type, and immediately said to yourself... WOW! For me, the biggest WOW moments were years ago, and in recent decades general retail has never reached that level since then.

The WOW moment is part of what this exercise is about. But it goes beyond that. Not just the initial WOW but the full experience... moving through your Center, interacting with your team, exploring great plants and products to provide visions of what it will be like at their home and garden.

And lastly, the purchase experience. How easy is it to check out, load their purchases into their car, and through all that, how many smiling and helpful faces of your team do they see and interact with?

And how about any post-purchase interactions? This is most likely an area most Centers have opportunities to improve. Do you have any way of connecting post-transaction to the Guest about their purchase... how you appreciate them coming in and selecting your Center to buy their plants or products?

And a quick reminder... The Group Mystery Shopper Program for 2024 is now ready and available on The Group WebSystem. Simply login and go to Clients-Only menu, scroll down to the Mystery Shopper Program link. On that page, you will see the 2024 Mystery Shop Order form as well as a sample shop report for training.

You can use the sample mystery shop report as well for studying your Center's Guest Experience.

The clock is ticking... Will you make a big difference in Creating the ULTIMATE Guest Experience?



Sharing is at the heart of The Group and your ideas are very important. If you have any trouble logging into The Group WebSystem, please let me know. Are you and your staff all subscribed to our eLists such as GroupEs, Retail-Grower, Retail-Landscape, Owners-Only, and a number of others? Need help subscribing? Let me know so I can show you how you can sign up.

Thanks for sharing!

Danny Summers
[email protected]
Tel: 678-909-7770
Cell: 678-761-7145

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Tim Quebedeaux, Sid Raisch, John Kennedy, Jean Seawright, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!

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