November/December 2016
A Sweet Experience By Abby Kleckler

Chocolate is a staple in life as far as I am concerned. Even if I ate a huge meal, you can find me less than 10 minutes later saying, “I just have to have a little something sweet.”

Needless to say, my taste buds were in heaven on a recent trip to Brussels, Belgium. We signed up for a chocolate and beer tour — no better pairing — and from the very first chocolate shop I was fascinated.

Each shop had its own culture, and the knowledge of the staff was unparalleled.

We’d spend more than five minutes hearing about the origins of the beans from tropical plantations all the way through to the production of this small praline.

Only then could we actually give it a try. From Earl Grey tea to lavender and salted caramel to peanut butter, there was a fair share of both classic and unexpected flavors.

I found myself asking (rhetorically, of course): Why are these chocolates so much better than the Hershey bar at the store or even the Godiva chocolates — a Belgian company — that you buy in the United States?

Of course quality of ingredients plays a role, but I’d argue that the exact chocolates wouldn’t taste as good if you hadn’t experienced the shop itself.

“Today success in retailing is less about WHAT you sell and more about HOW you sell it!”

This quote comes from Pamela Danziger’s article on page 10. She looks at how
one garden center has really elevated the experience to create not only a store with great products but also a shop that POPs.

Middle of the Road

Let’s look at pricing for a minute. Research tells us that people are willing to pay more when the perceived value is higher — something that was very true with the chocolates in the
Belgian stores.

In this month’s “Pohmer On …”, Stan discusses what people expect from the good, better and best options in your garden center, often at three different price points.

After reading his article, I looked at my own behavior and found that I normally go for the second-best option, from a price standpoint.

For example, as I stood at the store looking at wine (to go with some chocolate), I didn’t purchase the cheapest bottle or the priciest, but instead went with the tier that was the next least expensive.

Is this how people look at your hard goods? And if so, how does your house brand fall into the mix? Flip to page 34 for Stan’s tips on perceived value in your marketplace.

Abby Kleckler

Abby is the managing editor of Lawn & Garden Retailer. Contact her at [email protected]


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