Editorial: October-November 2012

October 17, 2012
Written by
Did you know that plants improve concentration and memory, boost a person’s energy level, reduce stress-related depression, increase productivity in the workplace and help children learn? More importantly, do your customers know the many benefits of plants?

A recent online video series aims to raise consumer awareness that plants are “more than just pretty.” The videos, hosted by “world-famous hortistician” Dr. Marvin Miller, use humour to highlight one of the science-backed benefits plants deliver – from helping hospital patients heal to reducing crime. At press time, the series had more than 15,300 hits on YouTube. These videos are good for a chuckle, but more importantly, they’re an engaging tool to help boost plant sales. After all, how many of your Facebook fans or Twitter followers will be able to resist clicking on a link titled “Plants: They Make Sexy Gifts”?

As Canadians continue to pinch their pennies, garden centres that can help consumers understand the practical benefits of incorporating plants into their daily lives are more likely to see an uptick in sales. The challenge is to change the misperception that healthy plants are a beautiful luxury reserved for people lucky enough to be living a life of leisure. It’s time we help consumers understand that plants are more than just pretty.

Luckily, the benefits of plants are pretty persuasive. The next time a super-busy soccer mom comes by your garden centre, take some time to explain that rather than eating into her precious “me time,” gardening can actually free up her schedule. Tending to the garden can be a great form of exercise, replacing a trip or two to the gym every week and saving the time she’d otherwise spend behind the wheel getting there and back. Make sure you mention that following this up with a little time surrounded by her lush plants can have a similar stress-busting effect to that yoga class she tries to cram into her hectic week.

When pitching your services to prospective corporate clients, highlight the positive impact plants have been shown to have on employee performance and productivity. If upkeep is a concern, focus your sales pitch on low maintenance options and offer to set up an email reminder system to notify clients when it’s time to water, fertilize or otherwise care for the plants. Make it easy for them to enjoy all the benefits of plants in and around the workplace.

The good news is that new information can influence many consumers’ attitudes towards plants. A survey commissioned by the Sunshine Bouquet Company found that a majority of consumers would buy plants for their homes after learning of a NASA study confirming foliage plants can act as natural air purifiers. The functional benefits of having plants in the house would prompt 71 per cent of consumers to make a plant purchase; just 14 per cent of consumers said they didn’t care about the NASA findings.

The science speaks for itself. Your job as a spokesperson for the green industry is to help put the information out there.

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