Right about now Target might be wishing it hadn’t walked away from the lawn and garden business. That’s basically what the company did last year when it shuttered outdoor garden centers and eliminated live plants sales. Now, spring is under way nationwide and consumers looking to refresh their yards and outdoor living spaces are being forced to shop at competitors.
Oh sure, Target still offers a wide assortment of such outdoor living products as seating, grills, garden statuary, tools, chemicals, seeds, etc., but the products are merchandised inside stores in an area devoted to seasonal merchandising where the presentation is far less impactful. Shoppers in the market for lawn and garden products might be able to find what they need at Target, but that’s assuming they even come inside the store to shop the department.
This is where the absence of live plants is particularly hurtful. Without an eye-popping display of blooming impatiens, marigolds or other seasonal favorites calling out to customers from the entrance of a lawn and garden department as if to say, “Take me home and plant me in the ground,” Target is missing out on a major source of traffic and sales of outdoor living products are surely suffering from the reduced traffic. It’s a little like a supermarket chain asking food shoppers to take it seriously after eliminating the produce department.
The absence of live plants and resulting loss of traffic may not be felt immediately since more people are shopping Target more often due to the company’s PFresh initiatives, but paring assortments is a dangerous game. Just ask Walmart. Shoppers have an expectation that their favorite discount store will offer a certain breadth of assortment, and they get pretty miffed when those items are unavailable.