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Merchandising to the Max

Jessie Jacobson
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Hi guys! Jessie here from Tonkadale and we’re talking about my favorite topic—merchandising! Never formally trained, mixing plants with product is the best thing ever. We merchandise with a lot of “-isms” at Tonkadale. I can’t take credit for all of these. Here are some to live by!

Creativity thrives when organization is achieved. Merchandising is an extension of your brand and is a HUGE part of the customer experience in your store. I always say setting a display is 80% cleaning and 20% talent. Always have a bucket with warm water and Simple Green, micro-fiber rags, a Swiffer duster and a shop vac at your side.

Crate & Barrel. Line it up, like things together, easy to see, select and shop quickly. Do this when you just don’t know where to start and when you’re getting ready to add new items to displays. If all else fails, strip it down and start over.

Color tells the story. If you’re new to merchandising, group like colors together. Always present a selection of color blocks including neutrals, seasonal colors and trend colors. Know what colors sell in your area and which do not. This can change from season to season and year to year. Purple used to be a hard sell; now it’s making a comeback for 2023! Drive around to look at new construction in your area. Visit a few open houses. What would look good in these homes?

Pretty always sells. Period. Take risks on beautiful, higher-end products. The consultants and accountants won’t like me, but what do you have to lose? More sales? Elevated value proposition?

If you don’t have it, you can’t sell it. It’s not fun to shop if your shelves are empty and void of fresh, new product.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Step away from those croaking frog door stops. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. Curate your product assortment to support your brand. Your products, merchandising and displays must support your mission. At Tonkadale, we’re on a mission to enrich lives by creating plant-inspired experiences as we connect everyone to beautiful spaces.

Article ImageIt’s grab-and-go time! Feature fresh, seasonal items in a predictable place so customers can grab and get to going. Make sure these items are freshly planted and created with the newest and best product. No one wants to buy old news. Think seasonal container gardens, succulent planters, giftable arrangements, hostess gifts, teacher gifts, etc.

Everyday items with seasonal touches. Be sure to present a balance of items that can be used and enjoyed all year long. Seasonal items tell the story, but do this without being too themey or specific. My biggest “ews”: Jack-O-Lantern planters (just don’t do it), Turkeys (maybe a few), Santas (only handsome ones and never stuffed). Not everyone recognizes or celebrates the same holidays, but everyone wants a beautiful home. Decorate for the season, not just the day.

Invest in good bones. Spend actual money on display pieces and housing for your product. Think baskets, crates, trays. Build walls to divide up expansive spaces. Hang light fixtures, arbors or umbrellas to bring the ceiling down. Display pieces should be oversized and larger than you think.

Have fun and be authentic. You don’t have to love everything you sell, but you should love to sell. We have some of the most beautiful product of any retail setting to work with each day. When we all do better at merchandising, we all do better (and that means we can charge higher prices).

With spring just around the corner, crank the music and get into the groove ’cause we got a lotta product to move! GP

Jessie Jacobson is the owner of Tonkadale Greenhouse in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

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