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na tional gar den gift v oucher scheme National Garden Gift


Garden Centre Retail caught up with Tony Stacey, the Marketing Manager for the HTA’s National Garden Gift Voucher scheme, who told us about what the initiative means for garden centres in terms of profit, increased footfall and customer loyalty


industry and because it can be used nationwide it enables all the independents to be a part of a bigger scheme and share footfall. “It’s a not for profit promotion”,


Tony continued, “and the garden centres purchase the vouchers from us at a discount, and then on redemption we take a commission – the difference is three per cent.” Upon asking Tony whether it’s more beneficial to sell the vouchers or redeem them, he replied “if you’re looking at it purely in terms of profit, your best bet would be to sell as many as possible, but then if you’re looking at it as a tool to attract new customers then you should be looking to attract redeemers.” The HTA have supporting


National Garden Gift Vouchers, which are sold by garden retail outlets across the country, were launched over 50 years ago with


"On average National Garden Gift Voucher redeemers spend double the


voucher value"


the purpose of driving footfall. We asked why the HTA invest so much time into this, and what it means for members in terms of benefit. “For us, it’s a marketing tool for the industry rather than a product. The scheme locks money into the


22 APRIL 2014 / GARDEN CENTRE RETAIL


evidence of the increased footfall that these vouchers instigate, as they recently carried out research showing that the vouchers doubled the amount of spend. The average voucher purchase when this research was conducted in 2012 was £26, and it was roughly double that on incremental sales. “The customer buying the voucher often spends a little bit more – and we found that the redeemer spends almost double the voucher value.” So what is the HTA doing to


promote the campaign? “We have a promotional calendar booklet which highlights the promotions we do throughout the year. We help members to back the promotions by providing free point of sale. We also run various campaigns throughout the year. For example, for the 100


year commemoration of the First World War we are supporting the Royal British Legion and their promotion of the real poppies campaign. We have produced a £25 limited edition voucher and with each purchase consumers receive a packet of poppy seeds. We also run a ‘Design a Christmas card’ competition which helps attract children into garden centres to first pick up an entry form and then return to deliver their finished card entry. The winning entry is featured on a Christmas voucher wallet and all winners, and the garden centres that they entered through, receive media coverage. We also sponsor Cultivation Street, now in its second year. This campaign, spearheaded by David Domoney is designed to promote gardening


"A high proportion of voucher spend is on plants"


as a way to bring people together and rebuild community bonds as neighbours share plants and advice and get growing together. We were interested to find out if the


HTA received records of what products the vouchers were spent on and whether or not there was any correlation. Research that has been done on voucher spend reveals that a high proportion is spent on plants – which is good news for garden centres given they are a high margin product. When it comes to voucher operations


the process is fairly straightforward. The voucher will be spent in a garden centre, which then bundles them up and sends them through to the HTA in bulk. “We have then got a committed service standard of 12 days before the cash is back in the garden centre’s bank account, although we are pleased to announce that in February we managed to get cash back to garden centres within four working days. We’re


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