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3 questions to: Heiko Mencke (Mencke Garden Centre in Sprockhövel)

Heiko Mencke – Photo: Mencke Gartencenter GmbH

The magazine “Mein schöner Garten” (My beautiful garden) has determined the top 500 garden centres and DIY stores with garden departments and published the results in its May edition. Over 8,800 customer opinions on 2,300 garden centres and DIY stores with garden departments in Germany were collected and evaluated for the purpose. In most of the federal states the owner-run establishments came off best. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Mencke Garden Centre in Sprockhövel topped the ranks.

The survey that was carried out at the end of 2017 focused on the evaluation criteria “Assortments and products”, “Competence of the employees”, “Customer service”, “The garden centre’s appeal” and “Overall impression”. The scores lay between 1 and 4, whereby 4 was the best possible score. The overall result was deduced from the average participant rating for the individual categories. Mencke received a remarkable score of 3.87. The garden centre describes itself as being a “young company with a long tradition in horticulture”: The Mencke family has been involved in the plant industry for over 100 years. The garden centre in Sprockhövel was built in 1982, Heiko Mencke took over responsibility for the location in 2009. After being converted in 2014, today the garden centre boasts an overall sales area of around 6,500 square metres.

Mr Mencke, congratulations on your excellent placing in the current garden centre ranking of “Mein schöner Garten”. How do you explain that particularly owner-run companies did so well in this customer survey?

Mencke: Thank you very much! The strength of our industry and in particularly of the owner-run garden centres is undoubtedly their individual alignment towards their customers. At the same time, as a family business we don’t plan in years, but instead in decades and generations regardless of today’s background of much faster changes in all sections. Hence this approach demands long-term thinking with regards to our employees and our suppliers. This is also supported by the frequently family-like relationship between the employees and the family running the business. This combination leads to a joint focus of the business, employees and suppliers on stable long-term customer loyalty. And I am convinced that our customers sense to what extent a garden centre is aligned towards a long-term trusting relationship or whether the emphasis lies on a short-term profit maximisation.

And what is the recipe of success of your garden centre?

Mencke: Our passion is to encounter the customers in a friendly way and increase their joie de vivre with our products and services. We don’t just sell products that are popular with the people: Blossoming plants stand for pure zest for life. We want to inspire people by continually showing them new decoration options. Furthermore, we have created a well-being room in the scope of our café. With lovingly prepared breakfast and homemade cakes served in a tastefully decorated environment, this is a place where people enjoy spending time, regardless of whether they intend to make some direct purchases.

On your website you especially emphasise the lifestyle and experience character of your garden centre. Could you explain the concept in a little more detail?

Mencke: Today’s consumer world lives from inspiration and change. This has always been true for the world of the garden centre. Today it is important to express this on one’s own website and in the social media. In addition to our homepage www.mencke.de, we also use predominantly YouTube and Facebook for this purpose. We always offer our customers a current insight into our ideas, our selection and our development via Facebook (facebook.com/menckegarten). We use YouTube above all to share ideas and instructions for own creations in the form of small videos (youtube.com/c/menckkegartencenter). A million hits demonstrates the significance of this channel. We have set up a blog on our website and inform the readers on a weekly basis about important specialised themes, whereby here we concentrate on what people are searching for on Google (www.mencke.de/blog). These are for instance terms such as “blue flowers”, “cutting climbing roses” and much more. Of course, all of this has to be optimised for the smartphone, since more than two thirds of the hits are received from mobile devices.

 

Further information: mencke.de and mein-schoener-garten.de

 

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