Choosing a Garden Centre EPOS System

by | Apr 19, 2017

Choosing a Garden Centre EPOS System

According to Verdict Retail’s 2016 garden report, garden centres are getting better and better. “We expect store standards to be raised,” the report says, as garden centres take advantage of the exciting opportunities available in-store and online.

There’s a real trend towards garden centres becoming year-round retail destinations. Christmas gifts and decorations are an obvious area where garden centres can build trade outside of the Spring and Summer peaks.

At the same time, garden centres that add a café or restaurant are seeing a boost to their turnover, and encouraging repeat business from loyal customers who want to ‘shop & stop’ over a coffee.

Visitors to garden centres are changing, too. Sales of gardening products still skew towards older homeowners, but younger customers want to make the most of their garden as a social area. That means there’s a great market for garden furniture, barbecues and garden games.

These are perfect for e-commerce or ‘click and collect,’ and a great way to find new customers. According to the Horticultural Trade Association (HTA), online sales of non-garden products are up from 11 to 26 percent over the past two years, so it’s a good time to log on.

How EPOS Helps a Garden Centre to Grow

If you’re managing a garden centre, you need a reliable way to make the most of these opportunities. An electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system gives you lots of benefits to help you deliver more products and better service to customers.

– Stock management – a garden centre stocks a diverse range of products from different suppliers, including perishable items that can’t stay on shelves indefinitely. EPOS gives garden centres accurate, real-time information on which lines are selling and which aren’t, helping stores to keep stock moving.

– Customer experience – using an EPOS system saves time at the till, giving customers faster, more efficient service. It also reduces the chance of undercharging or entering mismatched data into your system.

– Retail intelligence – if you’re looking for ideas on new ranges to introduce, EPOS helps them to make smarter business decisions. With so much data available on customers’ buying habits at the click of a mouse, you can easily spot the latest trends.

Choosing the Right EPOS for a Garden Centre

The key thing in choosing the right garden centre EPOS system is to work with a supplier who understands how you operate.

Some EPOS systems are Cloud-based and rely on a consistent Internet connection. That’s not always practical for garden centres in rural areas. What happens if the Internet goes down? It’s important to find an EPOS system that will allow you to keep trading in real-time even when offline but still uses the Cloud for essential back-up.

Does your EPOS suppler understand when VAT needs to be added? In a garden centre, some items are exempt from VAT, like edible plants or seeds. Uploading this information into an EPOS system will help store assistants to sell at the right price, without having to check.

How versatile is the EPOS system you’re looking at? There’s lots of value a garden centre can add by integrating its EPOS with different areas of the business. If you’re looking at e-commerce, a good EPOS system will link in-store and on-line activity so you know exactly how stock is doing. The same goes if you have multiple branches.

Customer loyalty schemes are a great way to boost repeat business. By hooking this into an EPOS system, you can learn more about your customers’ habits and preferences. That means you can send them targeted offers, or seasonal promotions to drive footfall all year around.

What about customer support? A garden centre’s busiest times are weekends and Bank Holidays, so make sure your EPOS supplier doesn’t only work during office hours. CSY’s helpdesk is open 8am – 8pm, 364 days a year. The only day we close is Christmas Day, like many garden centres

Garden Centre EPOS from CSY

We work with over 70 garden centres, including multi-branch retailers like the Blue Diamond Group.

We are also members of the Garden Centre Association and Horticultural Trades Association, keeping us up to date with the latest trends in the market.

Read more about our garden centre EPOS services.