Hello and happy Christmas in July to everyone. How can supermarkets sell more Christmas trees? First we must ask what the customer is looking for. Most people today move at a fast pace and don’t have a lot of extra time to shop for a Christmas tree. So we need to try to make their shopping experience as convenient and enjoyable as possible.
We also need to recognize our population is aging. Most people are not willing to carry heavy trees into their house or apartment and work on setting them up. Although some are still willing to put up the larger trees, we also need to cater to those who want a smaller tree, easier to handle.
Planning is everything. Begin early, choosing a tree species with the characteristics you want, such as deep green color, great fragrance and stiff branches. Also be aware of which species have the best needle retention.
It is important to have a grower you can work with because of many variables that require decisions. A good example is the weather. If a tree has not had a few frosts, it may not be completely dormant. If this is the case, the retailer and grower may need to adjust their cutting schedule. You need someone you feel is a partner, not just a vendor.
Another important aspect of selling trees is the care they receive at the store. Remember, your partner, the farmer, has taken good care of the tree for six to seven years. You, at the retail store, need to continue that care. Ensure the trees are stored in a cool, shaded area — and it would help if the trees were watered. It’s important how you display your trees. Display as many trees as possible — make it convenient for the shopper to pick the one they want.
Many shoppers are looking for smaller, tabletop trees, from two to four feet tall. These are becoming popular and are easy for most supermarkets to carry. Tabletop trees are shipped in Gaylord boxes that can be used to display them. These small trees are favorites of children and people with limited space. They require no set up and can be disposed of easily.
To enhance sales, improve your advertising. You run specials on other products, and if you run specials on your trees, you can add traffic for both your conventional products and your Christmas trees. Prime time to sell a tree begins at Thanksgiving and continues through the first week in December. You will continue to sell trees after the first weekend in December, but peak sales time has already passed.
Last, but not least, remember to continue your service to the customer after they buy their tree. They will need a fresh cut and help loading their tree. This extra service will help bring the customer back year after year. A combination of quality, price, and experience will determine your success.
Rusty Estes and son Beau of Peak Farms near Jefferson, NC, have been growing Christmas trees in the mountains of North Carolina for wholesalers and supermarket buyers since 1979. Fraser fir, blue spruce and white pine are among the varieties they grow. Peak Farms has won the honor of supplying the White House Christmas tree twice in the past five years.