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Thinking Small

Tips to Sell Small Gifts

Small gifts can get easily lost or hidden among larger store merchandise. What can you do to make them get noticed?

Margaret Csala, director, retail and business development, Shop in the Garden at The New York Botanical Garden in Bronx, N.Y., advised clustering smaller items near check-out counters so customers pass by them as they wait in line to check out. “This is very effective for inexpensive impulse items (e.g., magnets, pens, chocolate bars, etc.),” she said. “Another suggestion is to combine small gift items with larger pieces in a themed display.” The store creates eye-catching tabletop settings that feature a variety of items in several price ranges; that way any customer drawn to the display will find something they can afford.

Another strategy is to be mindful of price point, added Martha Anne Ellis, garden shop manager, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Shop, Richmond, Va. “Have plenty of items under $10, such as soaps, notecards, tea bags and potholders.”

Heather Pearce, a staff member at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. The shop offers plenty of items priced at under $10.

“You’ll also want to use good merchandising to hang smaller items (or risers) that give the customer a clear, easy view of multiple images, Ellis said. This is ideal for inexpensive jewelry, potholders, key chains and socks. Another suggestion is to tastefully place smaller items within a gift item, such as a cache pot or wire floral basket that is for sale.

David Betz, visitor services and gift shop manager, The Garden Store at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor, Mich., has similar thoughts. He said small gifts at lower price points should be massed out in displays to draw attention to the item. This can be done in similar containers, such as small gardening tools in flower pots or plush animals in peck baskets. “More expensive small items should be featured in cases or on pedestals to highlight their uniqueness and keep them secure,” he suggested.

Patti Hitzler, manager/buyer, Trellis Gift Shop at Green Bay Botanical Garden, Green Bay, Wis., also finds it best to group small items together using risers to show the ones in back. “Small pieces get lost if placed singularly. There is also an increased likelihood that visitors will purchase multiple items when they see them displayed in groupings,” said Hitzler, who likes to keep a theme with small items to cross sell, such as bird figurines with bird books.

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