Leverage Outdoor to Create a Shopping Destination

Written by David Niedzielski

March 4, 2024

outdoor retail independent gozney

Independent retailers face various challenges in today’s competitive market. Continued inflation and ever-pending economic scares have staggered retailer confidence. Consumers continue to buck those trends with their spending habits, but how much longer can we continue to count on that?

With so much uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for retailers to strategically diversify their product offerings. One way to accomplish that is by tapping into lucrative sectors that not only drive higher profits but also create an enjoyable shopping experience for both the retailer and the customer.

Outdoor living has proven to be a category that fits that bill. This fun and margin-driving category covers a wide range of products, such as outdoor grills, seating solutions and heating options.

1.Enjoyable Selling Experience: Why not have some fun while selling? Unlike other home products that customers typically purchase under duress, the outdoor category offers a fun and exciting selling experience. Customers are generally enthusiastic about outdoor activities and leisure time spent in their yards or gardens. By engaging with customers in this category, Independent retailers can create a positive shopping environment. Sharing knowledge about different grilling techniques, showcasing the latest outdoor seating designs, and discussing innovative heating solutions can foster genuine interactions, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2.Higher Margins: One compelling reason for Independent retailers to venture into the outdoor category is the potential for higher margins, which often range from 30 to 50 percent. Outdoor products, such as grills and patio furniture, can command higher margin percentages compared to other retail categories, especially when incorporating accessories and consumables. Currently, 19 percent of the revenue in the grill category come from accessories, which, from most brands, offer a profit margin of roughly 50 percent.

That’s because accessories and consumables for outdoor grilling tend to lead to increased foot traffic, as customers continue to revisit the store to replenish their consumable needs. This provides an opportunity for Independent retailers to generate increased revenue per sale and, consequently, higher profit margins. By capitalizing on this trend, retailers can strengthen their financial position and reinvest in the growth of their business.

3.Outdoor Grilling: Outdoor grilling has become a popular social activity, with many individuals and families seeking to enhance their outdoor living spaces. Research has shown that 35 percent of Americans said they discovered a passion for cooking amid the pandemic, with 75 percent saying they plan to cook as much, if not more, at home post-pandemic. Independent retailers can position themselves as the go-to destination for customers looking to upgrade their grilling experience. By offering a diverse range of high-quality grills, ranging from different fuel types like gas, pellet and charcoal, along with accessories and expert advice, retailers can establish themselves as trusted sources of outdoor cooking expertise. This specialization can lead to a dedicated customer base and increased foot traffic, driving overall business growth.

4.Comprehensive Solutions for Seating and Heating: Expanding beyond outdoor grilling, Independent retailers should consider offering comprehensive solutions for seating and heating. Outdoor seating options, including patio furniture, benches and loungers, present a significant opportunity for retailers to provide customers with comfortable and stylish options that enhance their outdoor spaces. Similarly, offering a range of heating solutions, such as fire pits, patio heaters and outdoor fireplaces, can extend the usability of outdoor areas, allowing customers to enjoy their outdoor spaces even during colder seasons. By becoming a one-stop shop for outdoor needs, Independent retailers can position themselves as a destination for customers seeking a complete outdoor living experience.

So, we challenge you, if you aren’t already, to give the outdoor living category a look. If you are an Independent retailer seeking growth and differentiation in a challenging market, you can’t go wrong by adding this segment to your product mix. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised with how fun this category really can be — not to mention the potential to bring in higher profit margins. Done right, you can establish yourself as the trusted expert and go-to destination for all things inside or outside the home in your local market. Embracing the outdoor category can not only drive business growth but also create a unique shopping experience that sets your business apart from your competitors.

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