Hot Water in the Bathtub

Hot Water in the Bathtub

by Danny Summers

I know what you're thinking... What does this have to do with Garden Retailing?

This is a visual illustration of a concept I learned a long time ago. It relates to both balance of sale as well as ways to raise your overall margin percentages.

My retail experience began when I was in high school with a part-time job at Sears Roebuck & Company. At the time, Sears was the largest retailer in the country and an amazing place for learning. Within a couple of years, I move to a full-time position with Sears and soon was invited to go through their management training program. One of the areas we studied was balance of sale and ways to improve a department's margin (Sears called this gross profit) percentage. This is where I saw the Hot Water in the Bathtub illustration.

Here's the overall concept...

The water already in the bathtub represents the overall current margin percentage of total sales. Let's consider this "lukewarm." And just for this illustration let's say it is at 50% margin (we know it should be higher for Garden Retailers).

If you identify a product or group of products that have a much higher margin percentage, let's say... 75% margin, and you are successful in showcasing them in a way to increase their sales, these high-margin sales are like pouring scalding-hot water into the bathtub of lukewarm water... and it can help raise the overall temperature a few degrees.

In the Sears training, we focused on the highest margin items and how these could be positioned as add-on sales and of course, selling maintenance agreements on anything possible. If you are "seasoned" enough to remember Sears maintenance agreements you know very well what I'm referring to... Sears felt any income from maintenance agreements hit the bottom line immediately (with very little cost).

Fast-forward to today and the benefit of the teachings of Steve Bailey and Tim Quebedeaux when they have been on-site with our Centers and they help you run a Margin-Dollars Ranking Report. Recognizing a couple of the top margin performing items and positioning them in a way to build their sales and turns can have a similar effect...just like Hot Water in the Bathtub!

All Centers have items that should be considered add-on sales and many of these can be high margin items. These suggestive selling items should be seen as helping your Guests be successful in their garden. Make sure they have the right soil amendments, plant foods, and containers. Does your team have everything in mind to suggest these items needed for success? You could create a shortlist for each department or cashier to have to have in their pocket.

Several years ago, Behnke's Nurseries shared a Prescription for Success pad (sort of an Rx pad) they developed for each team member to use as they worked with Guests to remind them what they needed to help complete their plantings. This form can be found in The Group WebSystem under the POWERtools page.

Van Wilgen's actually sells a Success Kit for plants as an add-on and even doubles their warranty when used.

In recent years we have added an Average Items per Transaction as part of our Weekly Department Review (WDR) reporting. While Average Sale and Transaction Counts are the most important, also emphasizing Average Items per Transaction with staff can help to emphasize the importance of this process of what's needed to be successful.

All of this can help your Guests be successful while adding "Hot Water in the Bathtub!"

These are HUGE weeks you are having right now. Help keep your entire team focused on serving every Guest!

Mark Your Calendar - September 19-22, 2022 - You'll be busy and out of town!

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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