Nursery Merchandiser

Nursery Merchandiser job description

You must also read our statement of the image that we are endeavouring to create, this is in the management sub-directory. Also be aware that this image will evolve and change over time.

Your role as nursery merchandiser should not be taken lightly as it has a direct and crucial affect on the shopping ‘experience’ of our customers. Bulleen Art & Garden is not a supermarket, our marketing strategy is simple; to provide a wide range of quality stock backed with appropriate information in an atmosphere that is both stimulating and inspirational. Our theme is not formal, instead we are aiming at the bold use of foliage, colour and art.

We have made great progress with regard to display of ornaments and sculpture, now we want to take it even further. We must ensure we are getting the message right throughout spring so that the customer comes back at Christmas. Make sure the nursery restocking staff use logic when grouping products ornaments/scupture/ etc. Would you put a single Eucalyptus in with the azaleas? This is confusing for the customer and destroys the big picture visual feel of the place. Generally, we like promoting Australian art and craft as a preference, individually crafted (even if imported) at the expense of mass produced stuff.

Your style of merchandising determines the impression our customers gain and what they will tell their friends. Likewise it will influence what garden writers will write of us.

The incorporation of ‘Art Pieces’ into displays is encouraged, as our ‘Art & Garden’ theme must be constant throughout the entire nursery. This theme is what will separate us from our competitors. Consider the style of garden or section you are working, eg. A formal garden section would not contain zany creatures.

Individual themes should also be established in each section of the nursery. This not only defines each section, but also can also draw customers around the nursery and add to the shopping ‘experience’. Create these individual themes by keeping together individual artists work. Combine similar artwork together to unify the area and the work. Talk to Meredith to gain information on the artists and where she would expect to see the artwork positioned.

Ideally each end cap should have a “Garden solution” theme. This could be drought tolerant plants, wildlife attracting plants, shade combinations, lawn alternatives, what to plant under roses, foliage contrasts, perfumed collection, etc. Ensure a sign is put in the display to explain its theme to customers.

The merchandising aspect of Bulleen Art & Garden involves both visual displays and the information / selling systems associated with our stock. If a customer’s problems are solved with good information, they will come back next time they need help. You will be required to control the individual plant shelf talkers on the bench and in the filing system. They need to be not faded and clean before being stored, ready for their next use. The shelf-talkers are stored in the info stand in alphabetical order. They need to be looked after as they are expensive to reproduce.

Benches, particularly those that are decoratively painted, will cost a lot to repair or will be impossible to repair attractively. Be careful what is stuck to these benches. Velcro or staples may damage the bench.

Principles of design

Good design works by selling image and merchandise. Bad design doesn’t work at all. To make it work, there are 7 principles that help the visual merchandiser create exciting and effective displays. These principles can be used as guidelines for the arrangement of merchandise and display props in the display.


The purpose of a display is to promote sales. This goal is achieved only if the stock in the display are ‘blocked’ to make a single impression and thus create unity. Every component must be related to every other component and to the whole design in such a way that a single effect is produced. The elements must be arranged so that the eye moves naturally from one to the other and the customer sees the entire range of merchandise displayed.


In every display, it is advisable that some element be dominant. There should be some unit or object that by its colour, its size, or its position in the display attracts the eye first and ideally directs the viewer to other stock in the display. Eg. An advanced plant may be dominant by virtue of its size, or the colour of its flowers. An ‘art piece’ may be dominant by its arrangement of lines and shapes, weight or graduations of colour and light.


Balance is the placement of all elements in the display area so that they appear unified and not disjointed in any way.

– Formal or symmetrical balance is when the left half of the display is identical to the right half of the display. These displays are conservative but lend dignity to the stock. This style has its uses but can often be unimaginative and can ‘fall apart’ quickly as customers remove stock. Likewise single rows of stock do not work well, and are rarely, if ever, used in our displays

– Informal or asymmetrical balance occurs when one or more elements are placed on one side of a display and are balanced by dissimilar elements on the other side. An arrangement of raised or taller plants on one side of a display opposite a large sign on the other side illustrates informal balance. Imagination and thought is required to create this form of display, but it brings life and impact to the display. Customers generally buy more on impulse from an informal display. These type of displays are almost always used in the nursery.

Care must be taken to consider not only the size of the merchandise and props, but the size of the display area as well.


Rhythm is a self-contained eye flow from element to element; from background to foreground; from side to side. Do not block vision. The eye is drawn from right to left and from top to bottom.


A combination of various similar elements such as shapes, lines, sizes, textures or colours into an arrangement that is pleasing to the eye is called harmony. For example: a display that uses light and dark shades of a similar colour via flowers, foliage, pots etc. possesses harmony.


The combination of various elements such as size, shape, colour, texture etc. to emphasise the sharp difference is known as contrast. This can create variety and excitement. For example: black stones on white pebbles, deep red foliage and bright yellow flowers etc.

Creating interest

Displays must be changed and reworked on a regular basis to create interest, prevent boredom and hopefully increase profits.

Displays by the entrance and in the shop area should be changed fortnightly, while the ‘layout’ of internal displays should be changed at least once a month.

It is very important to achieve consistency with styles / themes when using pots or artworks. Keep in mind both the overall theme of the Centre and the individual theme of the area you are working in.

It is useful to use “themes” to display plants and art work. Some themes may be: colour, style (eg. Cottage, formal, bush garden etc.) or themes such as Balinese, Mexican etc. Use artwork as the inspiration for themed end caps. Also themes such as drought tolerant plants, cacti gardens, native gardens etc. may be used.

Plants with a short bench life, such as those in flower, should be displayed in high traffic areas as soon as they arrive. Very high turnover should be gained on displays over the bridge and by the information stand. If stock doesn’t sell in a high traffic area after a good weekend, the display must be reworked or replaced with other stock. Quality point of sale must also be used in areas of high traffic.

Displays in areas of less customer traffic should consist of stock capable of holding for longer periods.

All endcaps should be multi-layered displays and not mere flat blocks of plants.

Plant labels

An unlabelled plant will not sell. It is quicker and more effective to return a label than to write a new one. Therefore regularly check the ground around the plants to locate the missing labels and return them their correct pots. If nursery staff are not returning labels and relabelling report the problem to the nursery manager.

The nursery person in charge of shelftalkers must do a stocktake of the shelftalkers when the plant stocktake is completed. This is to determine whether we have misplaced any shelftalkers and which need to be reprinted.

Handling and care

Look after the paintwork on the benches. There has been a lot of effort and money put into these benches and they will be hard to repair without making it look tatty. Only put staples through the top or through facia boards. Do not attach any signage if it is going to do damage or affect the overall image. We incur a lot of breakages to the base for ceramic, stone and concrete sculptures and ornaments due to lack of attention to how the sculptures are moved and set in displays. Never sit them directly onto wire, use marine ply or large pavers. Limit the number of moves of sculptures and be careful when and how you move them.


As part of BAAG’s Environmental Policy we hope to encourage gardeners to be aware of how their choices impact on the local (and global) environment. We hope to encourage our customers to recognise that their gardens have the potential to be part of a local ecosystem by providing habitat for native fauna.

As the merchandiser you are responsible for maintaining a Flora for Fauna theme on at least one of the display benches. Be it insects, frogs, birds, lizards, possums, bats or bandicoots, you must convey the message of how to attract them to the home garden how each garden should be part of a local ecosystem.

Safety at BAAG is more important than customer service!

Electric tractors

There is a risk of a serious accident with the electric tractors. These tractors can pull five-ton and so could crush a leg or a toddler’s head. BE VERY CAREFUL. Do not let your legs hang out the side, take keys out and switch off when not in use AND NEVER SPEED, A TODDLER COULD COME OUT FROM BEHIND A BENCH.

Lifting and bending

Be sensible with your lifting and bending. It is continuous, so talk to senior nursery staff for techniques for lifting and to minimise bending. Straighten your back regularly and spend the time to get in the best position. Use your free arm to support your body when reaching. Never lift anything that you find too heavy and do not hesitate to ask for assistance. When full of plants the large plant trolleys should be towed into the nursery with an electric tractor. If this is not possible, a heavy trolley should always be pushed by two people. It is too heavy for one person to push.

Personal safety

Be aware of and reduce or communicate (with signs if appropriate) hazards to you and customers associated with handling plants, eg. climbers and other staked plants and deciduous trees in winter- historically every few years someone in industry loses eye.

Tools and safety

Put your tools away and always roll up your hoses. We have a lot of elderly customers but anyone can break a limb tripping over a hose or rake left carelessly lying around.

Your responsibility and duty

As in all sections of the nursery safety comes first. If you see a hazard it is more important than anything else, including customers, and you must do something about it straight away. The new laws make you now individually responsible and it is surprising how easy it is for a serious accident or a death to occur in the workplace. You must all contribute actively and positively to the health and safety of other staff and our customers.

Materials Handling

If anything in this job description is unclear, appears outdated or requires some training for you to perform, please let your manager or supervisor know. As you become familiar with this job it is your responsibility to suggest ways that we can make it safer, more efficient and better able to work in with other people’s tasks. Please communicate any suggestions to managers or put them in the suggestion box.

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