follow us

Webinars: A Benefit of the ICFA

October 6, 2010



One of the many great benefits of being a member of the ICFA is the wonderful webinars that they offer free to members. Today I participated in the webinar: Expanding the Market Mix: Outdoor Kitchens & Other Outdoor Rooms


The speakers Cheryl Alters Jamison & Barbara Templeman from insideOUT in Sante Fe said that an ideal exterior environment contains relaxing, entertaining, cooking and dining spaces. With some of the latest trends of nesting and staycations they suggested that retailers consider offering services to customers such as repair and repurpose of existing outdoor furniture.


They shared a photo of a retail showroom that created an appealing vignette where they mounted photos of the same furniture displayed in other projects and other ways. They feel it is important to "Show the Expected in Unexpected Ways"


A few suggestions of adding to your current market mix in your retail store are grills and other outdoor appliances, water and fire features, books, table ware, plant material, arts and crafts and services.


Cheryl Jamison said that cooking breakfast outside is an up and growing trend. Barbara suggested holding cooking classes or demonstrations in your store. The best time to hold a cooking demonstration is during high traffic times. They also recommended offering seminars on new colors and fabrics.


To add to your marketing efforts they encouraged you to loan out pieces of your furniture for events around town and offer consulting services to charity events to reach your target audience.


If you decide to build an outdoor kitchen in your store or showroom, collaborate with local service providers and consider renting out this space for other participants to utilize.


As part of your product mix offer custom work from local artisans. Unique gardening tools, paella pans, hard to find ingredients, kids BBQ tools, watering cans, water bottles and vases with gorgeous floral arrangements are just a few items to offer for sale.


They both believe very strongly in the "Master Plan Concept" whereby you help your customer create their wish list and then help them pick which item to purchase first. This will help you to build a relationship and allow you to follow up with a scheduled annual appointment to see which items from the original plan they want to add to their outdoor room.


A webinar is a great tool to provide informative insight to people all across America. The ICFA provides a webinar every few months. Consider joining this group to reap the benefits.


Write a comment and tell me what other products you have added to your mix?


These are my outside views...Marcia Blake


Custom Grill