1. What does a Proven Winners store-within-a-store concept look like?

Proven Winners Destinations — as we now call them — are a location in a retail display of plants where plants selected for the most recognized plant brand are pooled together to offer a central solution to a shopper’s desire to decorate their outdoor living space. A retailer who has such a display within their store will feature hot plants on endcaps that are useful across a wide range of applications, as well as those with peak interest during a given time of the year. Proven Winners Destinations may also include larger selections of annuals, perennials, and shrubs grouped together on a large bench to fill a design objective.

2. What are the benefits of merchandising products using the store-within-a-store concept?

All brands begin [with] the objective of providing solutions to customers — whether it be plants, fertilizer, or beverages. When a retailer points out the benefits of a certain brand to amplify the message of those solutions, shoppers are given clear and easy choices. And when deliberation is reduced, customers often can justify purchasing more of a product.

3. How have sales changed at garden centers that have used the store-within-a-store merchandising?

Virtually no one who has implemented a Proven Winners Destination concept has ever seen plant sales slip. At worst, the branded plants held their own while non-branded offerings slipped slightly. At best, retailers with Proven Winners Destinations in their stores saw as much as a quadrupling of turns for branded plants over previous year’s sales.

4. How does Proven Winners support retailers who have a store-within-a-store concept?

Product managers, such as myself, accompany a retail expert from the Proven Winners brand to an initial meeting with retailers who are interested in installing a Proven Winners Destination. We evaluate a retailer’s objectives, provide examples of existing Destinations, assess the retail space and prescribe ideas for how to effectively execute a Destination concept in the coming season. Our team helps design signage and marketing and shares a bit of the cost for the designated space, too.

5. What are best practices other garden centers have executed to be successful with this merchandising strategy?

Some of the most successful Proven Winners Destinations started with just a couple of endcaps. They built excitement and trust by featuring their favorite rock-solid, dynamite, fail-safe options.

As they added more varieties and became more experienced with our new items, they could expand their displays with plants they knew would hold the same value as their previous featured plants. Those who have been successful in the past were also very conscious of how the area looked — it was kept pristinely clean, stocked with the finest looking plant specimens, and had corresponding signage to drive home the message about how these plants could provide solutions to customers. Effective merchandising is always about making it simple for both the retailer and the customer.

For more information: www.provenwinners.com