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LS Retail | 22 March 2024

Why garden centers are selecting LS Retail POS and retail software

Why garden centers are selecting LS Retail POS and retail software

Today, when a consumer heads into a garden center, they might not be going with the intention of simply buying a plant. Instead, they might be meeting friends for coffee, looking to purchase a new family pet, attending a horticultural event, or browsing for luxury outdoor furniture.

Because they must offer such a diverse shopping experience, garden centers face a pretty unique challenge when it comes to meeting their customers’ expectations. And with some garden center businesses both operating a chain of stores and experimenting with how they can blend in-store and online, the demands they have on their IT infrastructure are only becoming greater.

To support all facets of their business, garden centers require a flexible retail management solution that has room for growth and diversification. It often means they need much more than a Point of Sale (POS). They might also require restaurant management functionality, the ability to plan and book events, loyalty scheme features, and much more – with the possibility to add only some of this functionality, or to decide to add more along the way. Solutions like LS Central support garden centers by delivering the robust POS and inventory management capabilities they need, as well as the scalability and industry-specific additional features they increasingly rely on to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Managing complex inventory 

By their very nature, garden centers have complex stock and inventory management requirements. Live plants are often stored in different areas of the store, depending on what temperature they require, while items such as furniture are usually held in warehouses. Making sure that everything is in the right place, and that there is space for everything, while balancing the right inventory levels to keep up with demand requires sophisticated inventory software. At the same time, staff also need full visibility of what’s available, in transit, and in other locations, and the ability to quickly check stock

NZLS is a landscape supply business in New Zealand. It purchases materials like compost and sand in tons, but sells them in cubic meters, and works with different customer price groups and payment methods, requiring advanced functionality around inventory and pricing.

In LS Retail software, the inventory automatically updates as soon as a sale occurs anywhere, which means NZLS always has a clear picture of how much inventory it has. This makes it easier to ensure it always has the right products in stock at its different locations. “The result from the deployment is a platform that we are in complete control of, has the functionality we need now, and the scope to evolve as the business continues to grow,” NZLS told us.

Guaranteed uptime

Garden center businesses can always rely on LS Retail solutions to make sure their sales and inventory systems run continuously, even in the event of a power cut or internet outage.

For Bradford Greenhouses in Canada, it was important for business to continue as usual, even if there was a network disconnection between its different stores. The company operates its greenhouses year-round, so it relies on its inventory and sales systems running flawlessly. With LS Retail technology, it can be confident that its business is always operational, regardless of whether individual locations can communicate with the main server or not.

Garden center-specific functionality

Garden centers need an effective all-in-one system that meets their specific requirements, allowing them to track real-time inventory levels, customer details and preferences. What’s more, they want access to software that is constantly being kept up to date with new functionality. Today, multiple Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) retail sites run on LS Retail technology. The UK gardening charity uses the software to manage its retail and sales business, including supply chain, sales orders, order fulfillment, and financing. In one platform, RHS can manage:

  • Retail activities in its garden centers
  • Finances
  • Books and gifts eCommerce sales and inventory
  • Events
  • Product, sales and customer data.

“LS Retail certainly satisfies our requirements as a charity,” said Lynn Moore, Senior Project Manager at RHS. “From a POS perspective, the system is very good at the tills; it does all the replenishment.”blog-in-garden-center-POS

Improve the customer experience 

Garden centers use LS Retail software to retain customers and boost loyalty by delivering responsive customer service.

Chessington Garden Centre, one of the largest garden centers in the UK, is one company that’s been able to improve its customer experience with LS Central. Its customer service department can track each individual transaction from the POS, making it possible to accommodate refunds and exchanges even when customers have lost their receipts. Staff also benefit from intuitive and easy to use tills, meaning they can be deployed anywhere in the shop to ease queues.

“We have also been able to measure the success of product lines and events, forecast better and ensure effective resourcing of staff at busy times,” said Tim Hickman, IT Manager at Chessington Garden Centre.

Future proof and scope for scalability 

It is increasingly important for garden centers to select a retail management system that facilitates scalability and growth. As their businesses evolve, they need to be able to easily add new functionality and quickly roll out the system to new stores.

Just six months is all it took for Plantorama, one of the largest garden center chains in Denmark, to get up to speed on its new LS Retail software system, covering 13 stores and 400 employees. Upgrading to the latest version has allowed the company to introduce new hand-held scanners for printing shelf labels and scanning barcodes.

“In the end, it is all about spending more time with the customer,” said Torben Castenskiold, CFO at Plantorama. “Having an upgraded LS Retail software solution and hand-held scanners helps us achieve just that.”

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