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04/27/2022

Orgill steps up to spring

Blossoming ‘lawn and garden’ category at the heart of global distributor Orgill’s dealer program.
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Orgill Spring Is Here associate and customers

Spring is here – says the calendar.

And in most places spring really has arrived at last. Nature is finally in bloom.

So, this is a good time to talk to the world’s largest independent hardlines distributor Orgill, Inc., founded in 1847, all about its current “Spring Is Here” dealer program.

Recently, HBSDealer caught up with Alan Shore, director of seasonal merchandise at Orgill, to tell us all about it.

“The program was first launched in 2017 to support Orgill’s initiative to make its lawn and garden category a core competency within their business,” said Shore. “We knew that if we wanted to be more successful in this category, we needed to find new ways to make our customers more successful.”

The annual program, he said, “kicks off at our Fall Buying Event with our Spring Is Here preseason order program. For a dealer to participate, they are required to place a qualifying preseason, or booking order, of $2,000.”

The Spring Is Here preseason program is the most lucrative for Orgill customers, said Shore. “It provides the best booking discounts we offer. The deadline to sign up for Spring Is Here is October 31.”

This turn-key retail lawn and garden program is designed to boost sales and margin; differentiate their dealers’ customers from their competition; educate their staff and consumers; and improve the look and shopability of the in-store lawn and garden department.

“We partnered with key lawn and garden vendors for additional support. We needed to build an assortment that included brands that resonate with the consumer at both the national and regional level. These brands boosted the credibility of the assortment within the store,” said Shore.

“We have iconic national brands that are known throughout the industry,” he said. We also invested in many regional brands that are specifically important in our dealers’ local markets. Last, we implemented two brands of private label products: Landscapers Select Fertilizers and Homefront control products.”

The Spring Is Here assortment strategy is centered around having well-known brands, dominant breadth in all categories, competitive pricing, and exceptional quality. These features ensure that the customer’s visit to the store is a successful one.

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Orgill Spring Is Here aisle banner

Many of the vendors within the Spring Is Here assortment also support a dealer rebate program that pays out annually, said the director.

Upon meeting the requirements of the programs, dealers can earn annual rebates on qualifying purchases. Those rebates range from 2%-5%, based on their annual participating purchases.

The program also centers around improving education and awareness of the products and categories. The merchandising aids are designed to do exactly that.

“We have storyboards that highlight products’ highlights and features. Our category aisle violators include educational material to help the consumer make the right decision for their needs,” said Shore.

Also, Orgill provides pamphlets for each retail category that educate the consumer and provide helpful tips. And they have in-store training, he said, that helps the staff be more well-rounded within this complex category.

“This all goes back to doing whatever possible to help our customers be successful within the lawn and garden category!”

How do your dealers like the program?

The program, said Shore, has been a tremendous hit with our customers.

“Each year, we’ve seen participation increase within our dealers, and sales grow within our participating vendors; and in the lawn and garden category, as a whole.”

The director said these metrics indicate that, “the program is elevating the department within our stores and producing additional sales.”               

Also, one special internal benefit Orgill enjoys, said Shore, is their relationship with the Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) family of stores.

“When we originally launched the Spring Is Here program in 2017,” he said, “we first tested the program in some of these stores. We used alternative versions of the signage to determine what worked best.”

They continue to do this today with some of the Spring is Here elements. “We always say that CNRG is our ‘lab’ and this is a prime example of us utilizing the lab to create a better program!”

But Orgill wanted to hear from customers outside of CNRG as well. A year ago, they conducted a survey with their customers on the Spring Is Here program. “The feedback was terrific,” said Shore.

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Orgill Spring Is Here 2022 displays

The survey revealed that nearly 90% of the retailers participating in the Spring is Here program said they were satisfied with it. Over 85% agreed that the Spring Is Here program is easy to understand, he said.

Orgill also learned areas where they could improve the program.

For example, more than 80% of the program participants said they would be interested in adding digital marketing components to the program that would allow them to easily promote their lawn and garden offering online and through social media.

They’ve started to include this type of media through their Brand Base program, Shore said, and have plans to enhance this further in the future.

Another common complaint they heard through the survey was that the floor clings were problematic.

“We designed these to be visual aids for consumers when they were shopping in the aisles. Unfortunately, the floor clings became dirty very easily and the adhesive would wear off quickly. That’s a bad look for our stores and a waste of money,” he said.

“We decided to scrap that idea and utilize the hanging aisle violators as our primary visual aid for guiding customers to the right section of the department. We were also able to add some good-looking window decals to the merchandising kit as a replacement for the floor decals,” said Shore.

They also heard that many stores were not utilizing all the materials, as their stores had a smaller footprint and less staff. Therefore, he said, Orgill created multiple sizes of the merchandising kit for 2022. For these smaller stores, dealers can now buy a smaller kit that has less shirts, hats and pamphlets.

Lastly, he said, “we heard that the shirt sizes and styles were not great for the women staff. Our team that builds the merchandising kit reacted to this for 2022 by changing the sizes that we offer on the t-shirts and offering a female version of the Spring is Here shirt.”

Shore said that all this information was extremely beneficial as they work to understand the needs of their customers and determine the next evolution of this program.

“We’re reacting to what we’re hearing to make this program even more successful.”

Brands taking part in Orgill ‘spring’

There are many brands associated with Orgill’s program.

The director said that the lawn and garden department is very broad, and there are also regional preferences to consider, as well as varying price points.

A listing of the retail brands that are supported within their merchandising kits and are eligible for rebates within the Spring Is Here program are as follows:

  • Amdro
  • Bengal
  • Black Flag
  • Black Gold
  • Bonide
  • Chapin
  • Cutter
  • DeWitt
  • Easy Gardener
  • GardenSafe
  • Havahart
  • HomeFront
  • Hot Shot
  • Ironite
  • Jobe’s
  • Jonathan Green
  • JT Eaton
  • Landscapers Select
  • Lily Miller
  • Miracle-Gro
  • Ortho
  • Osmocote
  • Pennington
  • Rescue
  • Revenge
  • Roundup
  • Safer
  • Scotts
  • Sevin
  • Spectracide
  • Sterling
  • Sun Gro
  • Tanglefoot
  • Terro
  • Tomcat
  • UltraGreen
  • Victor
  • Whitney Farms
  • Woodstream

Merchandising is here too

Merchandising kit are sent to all participating dealers, and they comprise what Shore called the “centerpiece to this program.”

One addition that they’ve implemented in recent years is flex marketing.

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Orgill logo

 

“Spring Is Here is the dominant marketing strategy and, in all honesty, is the most important season for the lawn and garden department. But it’s also a very small portion of the total calendar,” said Shore.

Having an aisle violator printed with Spring Is Here makes little sense in August or December, he said. “So, we now offer alternative aisle violators for the alternate seasons that our dealers can utilize.”

With this, dealers will have some signage to utilize in their seasonal flex areas when they sell fall cleanup items or ice melt in the winter.      

One last perk he wanted to mention: “For our participating customers, we waived our bagged goods maximum quantities to them. For non-participants, they receive a maximum of two pallets of bagged goods. This is a huge benefit for many customers during the peak spring and summer selling season.”

Orgill’s Spring Is Here program supports all things lawn and garden for its dealers and their customers.

Because spring really is here now.