You’ve seen it before: your customer has a full cart and is standing in a long line up, waiting to pay for her bedding plants and a new hose. It’s the first weekend of spring, her tension rises, and you can practically hear her thinking, “I have a LIFE! Please, just take my MONEY!”
Seconds later, she shoves her cart to the side, grabs her purse and storms out of your store.
That’s the exact moment you wish you’d bought that new Point-of-Sale system last year, during the slow season.
In the life of garden centers and nurseries, there are a few precious days per year where getting customers through the checkout line quickly can mean the difference between sending your kids to Harvard and putting them into community college.
Imagine if your checkout process was so efficient that you could completely eliminate cart-dropping, shut down a till or two, and not hire extra untrained staff every spring?
Or even better, leave your experienced staff on the floor to help customers fill their carts, increasing your average revenue per transaction?
Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
This is precisely what award-winning garden centers using Windward System Five integrated business management software do every day.
But let’s go back for a minute, and look at the real costs of not having an efficient checkout system in place in your garden center.
Bottlenecks and Linebusting: Why Payment Speed Matters
A slow checkout process creates a bottleneck in your business. Long lines at the checkout result in people dropping their basket or leaving their cart in line. "Linebusting" effectively eliminates line-ups so that customers can complete their transactions efficiently.
Did you know that a whopping seventy-eight percent (78%) of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience? (American Express Survey, 2011)
As a garden center owner, you may not think it’s a big deal if a frustrated mom throws her basket of basket-stuffers down and walks out.
"It’s her problem," you tell yourself.
But in truth, long lines result in a large volume of profits going down the drain.
Let’s look at the math for a second:
• Say, your average customer typically spends $50 per transaction.
• If four customers a day drop their cart, that’s $200 per day you're losing.
• That equals $4,000 to $4,800 per month, if your business is open 20-24 days per month.
• That’s potentially $48,000 - $57,600 per year of literally “dropped” revenue.
Don’t forget to add the fact that you have probably lost all of them as return customers, too (4 x 20 days per month = 80 customers per month).
Statistically, 96% of customers don’t voice their complaints. But 91% will never come back if they are not satisfied. (Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner).
At Windward Software, we’ve been working with garden centers for decades. We know your business has peak seasonal times that are critical for a large percentage of your annual income.
On Mother’s Day weekend, for example, many of our garden center customers count on upwards of $10,000 revenue per day.
That’s why Windward has designed features for garden centers in our software that ensure quick payment processing and offer insurance against internet or electrical glitches that could impede sales on a busy day.
So, how do you get faster payments happening in your garden center?The secret is to implement a system of processes that work together, not just a faster debit machine or internet connection. Windward System Five does all of this for you, from point-of-sale to back-end accounting and inventory management.
Take for example, Behnke Nurseries of Baltimore, Maryland, which was able to reduce the number of tills from five to three – and their payment processing is still faster than it was with their old software.
This experience was echoed by Bylands Garden Centre of Kelowna, British Columbia. Owner Maria Byland had this to say:
“Being able to get the customer through the cash station very quickly and efficiently is certainly a plus because the customer in a garden center can be in here for an hour or more, but once they make the decision to make that purchase, they do not want to stand in line for very long.”
Interested in learning more about how Windward System Five can help your Garden Center operate more efficiently? Check out our recorded webinar, which presents "How To Turn Problems Into Profits".
Click here: Watch Our Garden Center Webinar!