A Better Traffic Flow = Better Marketing

A Better Traffic Flow = Better Marketing

by Sid Raisch

Part 3 of a Series with the Theme “A Better _______ = Better Marketing”
   [Go to Part 4 - A Better Pricing Effort = Better Marketing" - HERE]

Marketing is an important part of the job of everyone in a company. It’s everything a company and everyone in it does within, outside, around, and beyond. In this series of articles we’ll be discussing how different views of marketing make a huge difference in choosing, taking, and owning our position now and in the future.

Traffic Flow Rule #1 – We can’t buy what we can’t carry. Resistance is futile. We enter the grocery store and convince ourselves that we don’t need a shopping cart. We smugly believe we can resist the compelling assortment assembled to titillate and tempt our senses and save money by limiting ourselves to our two hands, arms, under the chin, and don’t dare use our pockets lest we become accidental shoplifters. This is where a shopping trip without a cart becomes a “fool’s errand”, am I right? We finally succumb to the shopping cart realizing the struggle is real, awkward, and not worth it because we really do want to buy the stuff we can’t carry.

Why talk about Shopping Carts in an article about Traffic Flow? Let’s keep the shopping cart in front of the traffic flow because if the shopping cart isn’t right, the rest of the effort won’t be as effective as it can, and as it needs to be.

A terrible thing happens when a customer shops without a cart or with the wrong cart - they don’t buy what they can’t carry so those sales don’t happen. A whole lot of nothing much happens without those sales that never happened. It’s hard to tell when those sales don’t happen because there’s no way to measure a sale that doesn’t happen, except with the terrible result of TMI – Too Much Inventory! Eventually, this leads with less buying, not more selling, a self-fulfilling prophecy, and a start down the death spiral. When we don’t have enough carts and then buy them they very promptly pay for themselves. When we get larger carts they also promptly pay for themselves. Once the carts pay for themselves they keep paying for other things, and now bigger things begin happening.

Why do so many of our customers shop without a cart?

The answers to this are wide-ranging and have a lot more to do with inspiration than with the location of the carts, although the correct location is the first step. The second step is inspiration to put the first thing in a cart. There’s a rule about shopping carts – the second thing can’t go into the cart until the first thing does. Where that first thing goes into the cart, and how it gets there makes all the difference. If we allow the customer to find the inspiration to put the first thing into their cart on their own, it will too often go into the cart too late. Every item the customer passes before putting the first thing in the cart is a lost opportunity, and latent excess inventory. If there were a way to get the first thing to jump into your customer's cart, right there at the entrance where your shopping carts are handy for them to get, you’d probably want to know about it, wouldn’t you? This is the best way to get more customers to take a cart which they can then begin filling before all that other opportunity is wasted. Watch and wait until we get to the upcoming article, “A Better Marketing Strategy = Better Marketing”.

Traffic Flow Rule #2 - We can’t buy what we can’t see. If we’re not blind, nothing we buy goes unseen, hence the rule, we can’t buy what we can’t see. Studies have shown that over 50% of items purchased were not planned. More items are unplanned on trips to the grocery store where impulse purchases reach over 70%, the racetrack around the store has become more like a very long cafeteria line for buying everything for dinner ala carte, not really shopping at all for most of us. Imagine how that compares to a garden center where so many of our customers don’t know what to buy or where to begin buying it. Sadly, most of this happens during the spring surge when we’re hopeless on providing the individual and specific service necessary for very many of them.

How WE can master the Gruen Effect?

Shopping science has a fairly long history, yet our industry is so immature in executing it. Knowledge of how it works on ourselves as well as our customers, techniques and tactics, and motivation are necessary ingredients. This short video about how IKEA has mastered the Groen effect will get you started.


Interesting concept there that you may have experienced but probably have not implemented. It’s not for everyone, but certainly would benefit everyone.

Why are traffic flow and marketing so critically linked, that it is the greatest reason why any of our customers COME BACK? It's because the number one reason anyone goes back to any store is this. It's to buy something they saw there before and are now ready to buy, or to buy again The more they see, the more they'll come back to buy. As usual simple is always better, but never easy.

There’s so much more to cover with how A Better Traffic Flow = Better Marketing and I’d like to help you individually with that. And for those of you I’ve worked with in the past, take a look at those notes. How well have you implemented? Have you strayed off track?

Yes, it is time we talked. Send a text or call 937-302-0423.

Your friend,


Before procrastination or other busyness steals another year from you Text or Call 937-302-0423 or send an email to [email protected] .

Sid Raisch is an advocate for family business leading growth, change, and results throughout US horticulture. Redefining the business future for consumer horticulture by understanding how the end-to-end supply chain needs to be redirected is a skill Sid has honed into an art. He has understanding and insight through inquisitive observations and extensive experience and has served as a trusted advisor helping transform both national and local businesses into more profitable and sustainable businesses. Developing national and international educational programs that create change in culture, community and company provides Sid venues with a front row seat creating effective and innovative business models.

Sid is a Certified Value Builder System Advisor, and currently serves as Chief Strategist and the Swiss Army Knife of Consultants to The Garden Center Group clients. Contact Sid at [email protected] or call or text  937-302-0423.

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

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