With grass seed experiencing a renaissance and spring jobs beckon gardeners, now is the perfect time to take a look at your lawncare offer. DIY Week asked Johnsons Lawn Seed consumer manager Guy Jenkins what retailers need to know to help maximise sales in the category.

Overseeding is the next lawncare job, presenting opportunities for sale of grass seed and supporting products

What’s happening in the market? Currently the lawncare market is enjoying modest growth, with grass seed playing a key role within this increase. A major component of the lawncare market, grass seed is enjoying a renaissance in line with the ongoing growth of UK households, albeit with smaller gardens. This increase has helped to offset

the reduction in home ownership and the rise in the rental market where renters usually spend less on their gardens. In the case of lawns, renters are unlikely to spend hundreds on laying a new or replacement lawn, but will improve the appearance of an existing lawn through repair work – this is where lawn seed comes into its own.

What to watch out for Value for money and a consistent offer remain the two most important factors for UK customers. However, many suppliers are cutting corners and the quantity and quality being provided is reducing year on year, leaving consumers dissatisfied with the products they are using. As a result, we have been campaigning for increased awareness amongst both retailers and consumers regarding both these issues. In

the is a case of trend that quantity, this started in our

supermarkets and is now shaping much of the wider UK retail market. It has become apparent that many suppliers are reducing the overall content

of their product. Total

weights are being reduced whilst packaging continues to increase in size to give the illusion of added value, however prices are remaining static. This means that many retailers are being short-changed by this trend, with consumers also feeling the impact in their pocket as the value for money decreases. When it comes to the issue of quality, it has become clear that some suppliers are also taking advantage of pricing sensitivities, as well as the fact that many consumers do not necessarily understand the differences between lawn seed types and their characteristics. As a result, we have heard of several cases of agricultural grasses, including annual ryegrass, being used in domestic blends. This will not only result in a poor-quality lawn but can lead to long-term lack of consumer confidence in lawn seed products. Retailers need to be aware that quality and value for money are not mutually exclusive – and therefore should be working with their supply chain to ensure that quality and quantity expectations are maintained to ensure the long- term future of our business and industry reputation.

Cutting down on chemicals There are no impending legislative changes

affecting lawn seed,

however, with the ongoing discussions surrounding chemical usage in the garden now is the time for customers to think about how they can eliminate chemicals in the

Seed that delivers a high-quality lawn boosts consumer confidence and reduces the need for too many chemicals]

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garden. A high-quality lawn is a great way of removing the need for additional chemicals, as the seed has been designed to create a denser lawn, leading to fewer weeds and greater resistance to disease.

Grow your sales

The biggest challenge – and also opportunity – for retailers is the need for greater attention to link sales of individual products. For example, where customers


buying a mosskiller or selective weedkiller, retailers should be encouraging the purchase of lawn seed as part of the process because simply removing the moss or

weed will only result in a patchy and unsightly lawn. This linked sale could be achieved by a closer integration of lawncare products onto one fixture specifically for the spring season, backed up by appropriate POS. If retailers are going to concentrate on one thing in the coming months I would wholly recommend that they focus on the ways to drive linked sales in-store. Also, be aware that now is the season for scarification and weeding. Overseeding should be the next step in this process, so retailers should be looking at ways to encourage sales of these supporting products as well.

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