The Benefits of Selling the Outdoor Category for Independent Retailers

Written by David Niedzielski

July 7, 2023

outdoor grill pizza oven

Independent retailers face various challenges in today’s competitive market. However, by strategically diversifying your product offerings, you can tap into lucrative sectors that not only drive higher profits but also create an enjoyable shopping experience for both the retailer and the customer.

One such category is outdoor living, which encompasses a wide range of products such as outdoor grills, seating solutions, and heating and cooling options. Let’s briefly explore why you should consider getting into the outdoor category and how it can positively impact your business.

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, often command higher margin percentages compared to other retail categories, especially when incorporating accessories and consumables. Currently, 17 percent of the profits in the grill category come from accessories, which from most brands, offer a profit margin of around 50 percent.

Check out our recent Independent Thinking Podcast interview featuring David Niedzielski.

An added benefit of outdoor accessories and consumables for outdoor grilling solutions is that they tend to lead to increased foot traffic. Customers are going to continue to return to your store to replenish their consumable needs. This provides an opportunity for your business 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 their business growth.

Enjoyable Selling Experience

Why not have some fun while selling? Unlike appliances or other product, that customers typically purchase under duress, the outdoor category offers a fun and exciting selling experience — for both the customer and your sales team. Customers are generally enthusiastic about outdoor activities and leisure time spent in their yards or gardens.

On the sales team side, engaging with customers in this category allows you to 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.

Outdoor Grilling as a Centerpiece

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. This specialization can lead to a dedicated customer base and increased foot traffic, driving overall business growth.

Comprehensive Solutions for Seating and Heating

Expanding beyond outdoor grilling, 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 offering a one-stop-shop for outdoor needs, you can become a destination for customers seeking a complete outdoor living experience.

The bottom line in all of this is, if you’re seeking growth and differentiation in your local market, the outdoor category holds great promise. With the potential for higher profit margins and a fun selling environment, you can capitalize on your customers’ enthusiasm for outdoor activities.

By focusing on outdoor grilling and expanding into seating and heating solutions, you can establish your business as a trusted expert and go-to destination for customers in your area. Embrace the outdoor category to not only drive business growth but also create a unique shopping experience that sets your business apart from your competitors.

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