Gardening & Horticulture and why Mirror will help your brand bloom!

At Mirror we are lucky to work with some incredible horticulture and gardening-based brands. This has enabled us to see firsthand how the gardening retail landscape has evolved.

The Garden Centre market has shown great resilience despite the global pandemic… with growing in-store sales throughout 2020/21. It is a difficult sector to move online, with online transactions proving more difficult, so growth is a fantastic achievement. Some Garden centre groups have proved slightly more successful than others whilst dabbling with an online offering.

Gardening products are high in demand,  so other sectors have adapted their service offering quickly to include a wider and better range of horticultural brands and items. Supermarkets, DIY sheds, and discounters have all increased their horticulture ranges YoY since 2018. Adding to this, new retailers are also looking at how they can get involved – John Lewis is considering its options and Next has worked with Homebase to trial garden items within some of its bigger home format stores.

The Garden Centre retailer Dobbies has launched ‘Little Dobbies’ stores as a trial… locations include Edinburgh and Bristol, these smaller urban concept stores have been deemed by the brand as successful pilots.

Gardening & Horticulture brands are having to work hard to diversify their offer to suit the multiple points of purchase available, and it has never been more important to stand out from the crowd. It is now relevant to appeal to both a supermarket shopper, a bargain hunter or discounter, and your faithful garden centre shopper.

Point of sale, brief instruction, and ease of use (purchase) are all key for supermarket shoppers. Whilst, your Garden Centre shopper tends to be looking for more advice, detail, understanding, and visual impact… as the competition and ability to cross-sell can be much higher.

Garden Centres are reacting to the discounters, supermarket and DIY sheds with a more experiential and day out concept! There are some great examples of Pop-Up Yoga, Mini-Golf and Cookery schools, and Gardening demonstrations now available to entice customers to store. More space is being made available for brighter and better quality cafes and coffee shops. The Garden Centres are also diversifying their services – with the inclusion of farm shops, food, and home sections and crafting.

At Mirror we offer our gardening brands a varied and responsive approach when it comes to in-store marketing – these include merchandising, auditing, in-store sampling, and also the more complex solution of installing and removing displays seasonally… to ensure the right products are available and in prime position based when they are most likely to be purchased.

Our clients are impressed with how we work to the strengths of each sector, using our knowledge and experience to provide great results, whilst building strong in-store relationships.

Why not sign up for our newsletters or get in touch for more advice and support. We have some fantastic case studies and success stories we can share…

Collect Convenient sales… with you Christmas Presence

Where are we at for 2021 Golden’s quarter?

We know the golden quarter sales of 2020 showed a huge shift, with 48% of all customers spending taking place online, according to Barclays Bank. The switch to online has been continuing throughout 2021 and the Covid-19 pandemic has only supported in exasperating these figures. 

Before we start waving the white flag, we know as field marketing experts that the physical retail space is a tough cookie and out of adversity always comes opportunity!

Savvy Retailers…

Click and collect was more popular than ever last Christmas, for example, Argos saw a 24% uplift in click and collect in the week leading up to Christmas 2020. John Lewis was being savvy when it rolled out its click and collect proposition to an impressive 900 locations, including 500 Co-op stores and larger Shell Garages to offer their shoppers greater convenience…

The beauty of click and collect over online/home delivery… is that it provides a beautiful lifeline to those retail outlets providing the collection service, as extra customers are walking through their doors. Clever-thinking brands and retailers can use this to their advantage… An FSDU located near the click and collect can suddenly be quite a value proposition. The signage, store presence, and how it entices customers to shop whilst collecting their online purchase… can also assist in driving footfall and in-store sales through the till. 

Team Mirror…

At Mirror we offer a proactive and collaborative partnership, we use our expertise, knowledge, retail trends, and supporting data to work with our clients to create opportunities to drive sales and brand awareness. Our Field team has a wealth of experience in negotiating space, working in the convenience sector, and stocking, siting, and replenishing promotional presence. 

As consumers, we are naturally hard-wired to pay attention to things that contrast or are out of the ordinary. This is precisely why an out of the aisle FSDU will outperform an in-aisle display by a ratio of 5:1.

It’s important to not forget… Although these figures speak for themselves, the value we can offer is to replenish FSDU’s. The stats take a downward dive if the FSDU is badly stocked or even worse, has made an impact – but there is no stock on the FSDU. Retailers are tough, and empty FSDU has a tendency to be swiftly removed from the shop floor… than remerchandised (as it is the quickest option for them in the short term)

Beat the rush for the best Christmas Presence…

Who has ever watched a Santa dash or attended the local park run just before Christmas… It is a fabulous site of 100’s Father Christmas’ sprinting around the streets or parkland. At Mirror we genuinely believe shoppers will be hitting the shops early this year… so brands and retailers need to beat the rush for the best Christmas presence! 

We are already hearing of potential shortages and with a good percentage of businesses, factories, warehouses, and logistics having to cope with their employers isolating… It is playing havoc with the retail chain. 

From a shopper perspective, they don’t want to get caught like they did last year… with talk of future lockdowns and restrictions as we move in the cooler winter months. 

Get ahead this year… by using ‘Mirror Taskforce’ our extensive UK-wide field teams to get your product on the shelf, and your promotional material in prime position. Our teams can replenish and adapt promotions based on demands. We can even support stock management. 

Mirror is a cost-effective and all-encompassing field marketing operation. We can offer our clients warehousing and logistics as well as proactive account management and UK in-store implementation and direct-sales campaign. We are a one-stop solution for retailers and brands

Let’s learn from Last years Golden Quarter…

I know for many… looking back over the last 18 months can be quite a difficult viewing! So, let’s be brave and rewind halfway to retail’s commonly named ‘Golden quarter’. 

It was like Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol… and most retailer’s nightmare. Heavy investments in stock, presence, and promotion (At Q2 when the decision for Q4 was being made, we were all optimistic Covid-19 would not dramatically impact Christmas Shopping). Shoppers wary of venturing out, restrictions in place, and another lockdown looming.  

So what can we learn from last year?

With the world still deciphering its way through the Covid pandemic (or pingdemic). There are great learnings we can take from Christmas 2020. At Mirror we are confident the retailers and brands who will thrive through Peak 2021 not only have to sell the right product at the right price, they have to be more operationally nimble than ever before.

A great example of being nimble from last year were the retailers who quickly realised Christmas 2020 was not going to be all glamour, glitz, socializing, and partying… but more small family gatherings, in front of the TV in snuggly socks, matching PJs, and comfy loungewear!!

Peak planning is integral for success… but being nimble and having the ability to adapt, whilst keeping an eye on trends and Covid-19 will be the winning combination. 

Having a retail-based field team (Mirror Taskforce) you can trust and will actively adapt, flexing up and down as quickly as your buying, promotion, or product adaptation and implementation… will stand you in prime position for this year’s Golden Quarter. 

Here’s a snippet from one of our client’s feedback during peak, last year…

“Thank you for this report – it’s fantastic! and thank you and the team for turning around the demos so quickly and seamlessly, appreciate the difficulties surrounding the time of year. There’s been some really great feedback” Holly – Brand Warrior – LoveRaw

Why not chat with Pip, our Sales and Business Development Manager – to see how Mirror Marketing is set up to adapt to the ever-changing retail environment.

Is it always good to share? Syndicated v Solus when direct selling…

Direct Sales – To syndicate or not to syndicate this is the question! 

We are regularly asked to buddy up brands for sales drives, giving an element of cost-sharing to reduce overall spend. On the face of it, this is a great idea, right? We all want to save a little dough?

We believe syndicated visits are not always the best way forward. In fact, our data speak volumes (with a pinch of human psychology for good measure). If you offer up more than one brand or product in the sales process your strike rate is significantly reduced. In some cases by over 50%.  Retailers are less likely to purchase all of the products on offer. Multiple offers will be scutinised. Buyer’s will choose the stand out product, or plump for neither – especially if there is no natural link or way to complement each other on their shelves!

Have a look at this snapshot it put it into context:

Solus – selling in product 1 on a solo basis resulted in an 80% strike rate. Reverting to Selling in product 1 alongside product 2 –  resulted in a drop to 39% strike rate for product 1. A dramatic effect – over 50% fewer sales.

Another recent syndicated sales drive clearly demonstrates the rate of sale was halved for each product when the retailer is presented with more than one product at the same time. 

Syndicating will naturally weaken your brand’s message as the sales representative is covering multi-brands options, whereas it is a much better option for them to be concentrating on one. A retailer’s time is precious and pitching more products dilutes the offering. A sales representative does not have twice as long in a front of the buyer. Solus gives the retailer the option to concentrate on your brand. And doesn’t have too many choices to make. There is always enough cash in the till and spontaneity to purchase one good deal or new product to trial…

Quality V Quantity?

Quality is better than quantity is definitely the best option when it comes to sales into convenience. At Mirror we appreciate budget constraints, we all want ‘more bang for our buck’ don’t we? so we’ll talk through give you the best options.

For example, Solus calls to fewer visits, with a much higher strike rate, with gain distribution to build on.

We are huge advocates of Solus sales visits. We will work with brands to tailor and select the best call file or field visits to maximise the opportunity. Syndicated visits, is a great option and can be more cost-effective for brands. They work best for merchandising visits, primarily POS placement to increase brand visibility.

For direct sales into Convenience stores, Solus visits are always going to give you a bigger slice of the pie!

Here’s why brands should focus on Convenience… post lockdown!

The growing trend is set to outlive the pandemic with 91% of people saying they’ll continue to shop locally – after all restrictions end (Barclaycard Payments).

The pandemic has seen consumers step up and support the local convenience store, grocery store, butchers and many more!! For some, it was exactly what it says on the tin ‘convenience’ and this could be due to a lot of the population’s circumstances changing dramatically by working at home. For others, they simply didn’t want to go to the big supermarket… it felt more assured shopping locally… and formed a new perspective and positive vibe to be supporting those local small businesses who have been going out of their way to support the community during the lockdown and the pandemic

The reported average visit frequency to convenience stores in May 2021 was 2.6 times per week (retail insight) 

Two-thirds of Brits have been shopping locally this year. 63% spent extra at convenience, local shops, or specialist retailers (retail insight)

Consumers indicate they plan to maintain changed behaviours post-pandemic with 10% saying they are planning to spend even more locally, and less on other food channels where they purchased pre-lockdown. Could this be because consumers have had to become more accustomed to cooking at home, and they are actively enjoying it… or because they expect to be working at home more than they did pre-pandemic (no more takeaway coffees on the way to work, or a trip to the sandwich shop on the corner by their office).

Either way, surely this is a great opportunity to engage with us at Mirror Marketing to support your brand in ensuring the best visibility or perhaps a direct sales promo… which by the way works a treat across convenience and the Independent retailer.

One more thing… did you know? The proportion of convenience store shoppers purchasing price marked packs or buying on promotion dramatically increased during the lockdown.

Is it the shift back towards value becoming king again… price is high on the agenda for the majority of consumers, who’ve taken a financial hit during the lockdowns, or is it that more customers are walking through the door? We know outside of value, lifestyle agenda and changes are driving food demands.

Considering all of the above, a promotion within convenience could be a savvy investment.

55.2% of convenience shoppers purchased on promotion and 46.5% bought a price marked product (Lumina Intelligence May 2021)


Importance of data and why data accuracy is KEY to your business and ours.

The benefits of making decisions with data are well-documented. A recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey found that 43 % of senior executives believe data is “extremely important” to strategic decision-making.



Put simply, data is used to provide insight. Businesses, when armed with this, are able to improve the everyday decisions they make. This isn’t just for management either – it applies from the ground up. However, data is rarely useful in its raw state; it must be processed and presented in a way that works on the appropriate levels so that it can be applied properly. The latest analytics tools make this part much easier, but there is still a journey that information must follow before it’s usable.

If data accuracy levels are low at the start of this process, the insight will be lacking and the decisions it influences are likely to be poor as a result.

This is why Mirror Marketing strongly believe that the Quality Control Process is ‘’The Jewel in our Crown’’. We know through speaking with tactical staff that we are unique in our approach and no other agency checks the data input like we do! We believe that this is fundamental to the end result as important decision we know are being made based on the data that we are providing to our brands. Organisations must realise that quality is more important than quantity; too many focus only on gathering as much information as possible without thinking about whether it’s correct – have you ever challenged data?

Add to this the question of whether it can be trusted and you have the issue of integrity to consider as well?

Real-time integration

Data is undoubtedly the business’ single greatest asset. Now, it must be used quickly – or even instantly.

The periods of time in which brands have to make their decisions – both major and minor – are shortening. For Example during a Field Sales activity it is important to react quickly and flex to what is required to achieve the desired results. The ability to draw on the facts and figures and trends immediately instead of having to wait for days, or even longer, until it’s ready is key.  It’s this instant access that Mirror Marketing are able to provide through live reporting that enables a firm to get ahead of its competitors, or keep up with them at the very least.

Want to be sure you get what you pay for? Looking to tender your tactical? Contact one of our team here.

Why is Point of Sale so important in todays’ retail environment?

So what is Point of Sale? 

POS (Point of Sale) or POP (Point of Purchase) is what drives sales and encourages your customers to spend more and become increasingly familiar with your brand. 

It is important in today’s retail environment as online shopping is on the increase, to capture those who are shopping in store. In the retail environment a POS display can be the push that your customer needs to make their purchasing decision.

Did you know – around 70% of in store purchases are made on impulse! The more you know your customers and tailor your POS to their interests the more likely they are to purchase your product.

POS is a driving force for in store impulse purchases and is the last advertising point your customer will see before they make a purchase; this is your final chance to give them what they need to know.

How POS advertising can be implemented varies depending on budget and location and comes in many forms from posters to window graphics to FSDU (Free Standing Display Units). The possibilities are endless and working with Mirror Marketing merchandising teams, your brand will come to life!

Why use Mirror Marketing to Install?

Our extensive experience in this industry and useful feedback from many brands tells us that as much as 70% of POS sent straight to store is likely to never actually make it onto the shop floor due to things like:

Getting lost or arriving too early/late for allocated promotion time

Being damaged on delivery/in the warehouse

No Install Instructions/in store comms on the promotion

Parts missing,

Store staff not knowing where to place it

Time pressures – lack of staff time to spend on building/stocking

So imagine spending money on having POS manufactured and sent to store to coincide with a campaign and promotion you are running – only to find that a high percentage has not been implemented or has never reached the retailer or it has been binned… This is the reality.

So why would you not budget a little more to spend on Mirror Marketing walking in the POS and installing/stocking this on your behalf and gain up to 70% more sales!

Some of the shrewdest and most successful brands invest in employing Field Marketing Agencies as a matter of course to install POS and these are the brands that will see a huge surge in sales as a direct result.

CONTACT US NOW for a quote

While we are in store we can also do a stock check / audit for you and fix book stock errors.  Maybe you are wondering why some stores just are not selling through your product – it could simply be a store system error – please take a look at Mirror Marketing AUDITING services for more information.

Convenience Sales growth outperforming large stores – Perfect time to grow your sales using Mirror Marketing.

There are reports and evidence everywhere showing the growth in the convenience sector. Convenience stores are outperforming large supermarkets in terms of sales growth.

Some facts: A recent snapshot of the market (Source: Kantar) for the 12 weeks to 21 May shows total till roll has surged 7.1% to £157m in symbols and independents. (Source: Kantar)

The overall grocery market sales grew 3.8% year on year – the markets best performance since 2013. The big stand out discounters Aldi & Lidl, together grew at their fastest rate since Jan 2015. Their combined sales rose 19.2% yr on yr to achieve a record market share of a huge 12%. A lot of growth in the convenience sector has bene attributed to an own label focus – The Coop’s 1.5% growth was driven part by strong own label growth.

The message is loud and clear – for brands to succeed in such a competitive environment both in major supermarkets and convenience a focus needs to be on attracting the consumer to pick up your product and maximise merchandising whilst on promotion.  THIS is where MIRROR MARKETING can really turn sales around!

Mirror Marketing team of Merchandisers & Sales people are skilled at getting your brand into store and then the important piece – gaining you that extra space, displaying your products to the max and installing stand out POS – eg FSDU’s, Wobblers, Posters, Shelf Edge Strips…  We can also check stock levels and ensure that there are no errors at local level.  (after all we know that if left to the retailer, on average only 40% of POS will go up! )

Never before has there been so much interest in our DIRECT SALES into convenience – Both new and emerging brands as well as established brands are on the “brand wagon..” We are seeing strike rates hit an all-time high and it’s all about getting the logistics and steps in place to ensure a successful sales drive. Our connections with the major Cash & Carries mean that if we are pulling selling stock from C&C we work closely with Head offices and depots to get this right and stock is actually available to sell! (You may be surprised to hear this but lack of stock is one of the main factors, delaying and interrupting sales drives)

Our Tactical & Contracted teams can be switched on and off at the touch of a button..

Want to find out more and see some numbers and case studies? Get in touch now – contact Pip Parry –