West of the Wind Creative Ways to Merchandise Outdoor Art_2018 VILLAGE GREEN, Rockford Illinois

January 2021
Creative Ways to Merchandise Outdoor Art By Sue Pappas

Steal these ideas from IGCs for merchandising outdoor art.

Three years ago, West of the Wind initiated a “Display Contest” for our retailers, where they could win free prints. The response was terrific, and we were amazed at the unique and creative ways our outdoor art was merchandised. In addition, we were able to create a library on our website of these imaginative ideas for everyone to use.

Keep it Within Reach

One of the challenges we’ve found with our IGCs is the lack of wall space. When we introduced outdoor art 12 years ago, it was a new concept not only for our dealers, but for their customers as well. Starting out, many of them placed the art high on a wall. But with it being out of reach, we found out early on that customers assumed the art was just for decoration in the stores. Without being able to see the outdoor framework and quality of the print, sales were sluggish. When we suggested moving the art within reaching distance, they saw sales increase immediately.

For those that do have a large wall area, keep the images at eye level and below. Place extra stock on the floor leaning against the wall.  We’ve found that people love to flip through the prints this way.

West of the Wind_2019 WOODLEY'S, Columbia, South Carolina
Woodley’s Garden Center, Columbia, South Carolina

Woodley’s Garden Center in Columbia, South Carolina mixed a nautical print with colored compasses for a coastal presentation. Third Day Market in North Carolina has created a gallery feel by mixing up the sizes on a large wall in addition to placing in various vignettes through the shop.

Create Vignettes

Many IGCs are short on wall space, which actually influenced some great merchandising techniques. They found a way to incorporate the art into vignettes, using it as a focal point and theme for their home décor space or in the greenhouse surrounded by pottery and plants. Garden Views in Michigan created a vignette using accessories that picked up the colors in the print — vibrant and eye catching!

Luurs Garden Center in Illinois also creates beautiful designs throughout the year for each season, as well as using them as statement pieces with current trends such as honey bees and birding.

Greenhouse Art

Greenhouse displays help to qualify to your customer that our art can actually be placed in an outdoor environment. Your staff will also appreciate the waterproof qualities when maintaining a vignette that includes plants that require daily watering.

West of the Wind_2019 JOHANSEN FARMS, Bolingbrook, Illinois
Johansen Farms, Bolingbrook, Illinois

Johansen Farms in Illinois highlighted two outdoor art pieces on a flower cart surrounded by flowering annuals in the center of their greenhouse using bright pink geraniums to pick up the colors in the prints.

Take It Outdoors

With their weatherproof qualities, the art pieces can be placed in any outdoor location around the garden center. Madrona Ace Hardware in Oregon uses an outdoor courtyard area with other garden accessories. As each print has its own uniqueness, the surrounding display complements the theme of the individual print.

Fantastic Fences

Do you have a small wall area where nothing else really works? It’s just the right place for an outdoor print. Fences are a wonderful way to showcase the art while dressing up an otherwise dull area. One of our now-retired dealers in the Northeast had a regular customer who purchased 10 large prints for her backyard fence.

Add Water

Creating a water feature to display the art is not the quickest display option, but is well worth the effort. It is a fairly simple project for a garden center that already carries trellises, pumps and containers. Years ago, one of our reps suggested creating a simple display with water running over the print. Thanks to her, we have a portable water feature we use at every show. It’s always intriguing to see someone’s surprise when they view the print with water flowing over it.

We actually added another category to our display contest this year, thanks to a submission of a water feature built by Best Feeds in Pennsylvania. The contest judges were so impressed, they insisted on adding a special award specifically for water features, which we will be carrying forward in all our upcoming contests.

Outdoor Living

_2020 WALLACE GARDEN CENTER, IowaWest of the Wind
Wallace’s Garden Center, Bettendorf, Iowa

Another terrific merchandising technique is the complete outdoor living package. Many IGCs now carry a variety of casual furniture or at least garden benches and bistro sets. Some of our most successful customers create the perfect outdoor living space using furniture, pottery, green goods and, of course, outdoor art. The consumer enjoys the ease of a well-curated collection to update their outdoor space. Village Green Garden Center in Rockford, Illinois and Wallace’s Garden Center in Bettendorf, Iowa have been extremely successful with this concept.

Create a Retreat

With so much time now being spent at home, we all need some fresh air and maybe just a small space to enjoy it. A garden bench placed near a small fountain with an outdoor art piece on the balcony wall or a small walled patio relays the idea of creating a restorative retreat in that limited space. This works well for the garden center located in an urban area.

POP Banners

Our Point of Purchase banner is included with each print shipped. When placed on or near the print, these POPs signify that this is outdoor art. With so much indoor canvas on the market today, it is important that your customer is aware of the durable quality of our outdoor art that is created for outdoor or indoor use.

IGCs have the opportunity to merchandise any product well, graced with the beauty of flowers and plants, creative merchandising turns beautiful into sensational.  We are always excited to see what new and unique ways our outdoor art has been part of their displays.

Sue Pappas

For more information, visit www.outdoorartcanvas.com, call 800.399.0412 or email [email protected].