|There’s always a market for quality plants.
One: There is a need for the product or service.
Two: The product or service lives up to the customers’ expectations.
Three: It helps customers be more successful and beneficial using this product or service.
The prime skill of the marketer is how effective they are in convincing customers that the product or service meets customer expectations. To be able to communicate all this, an understanding of the following is needed.
WHO IS YOUR CUSTOMER?
- Women buy more than 80 per cent of retail products.
- Women make the majority of all purchases in nearly every major category, including automotive, home improvement and financial services.
- Sixty-five per cent of all women still think that marketers and advertisers do not understand them.
- Consumers don’t spend more time gardening, mainly because of a lack of time.
- Eighty-five per cent of consumers will shop at stores and garden centres that provide gardening ideas and backyard projects.
- Ninety per cent of consumers find value in information that includes combination plants and garden designs.
- Eighty-five per cent of consumers are willing to try new products.
- Women go shopping to see new trends, fashions and products.
Directing our marketing to the right customer is important. But what’s more important is for the customer to be successful with the product so they will spread the word to family, friends and
co-workers. Word-of-mouth endorsement still is the best advertisement. However, the best marketing efforts will be short-lived if the product falls short of expectations.
|Everyone enjoys well-maintained displays.
Product variety is good but duplication of similar products with different names is confusing. Selection based on products that have different looks and enjoyable experiences is a good thing. However, selection for the sake of saying a large number of varieties are carried is confusing to the point consumers cannot make a decision on what to buy and many times they leave without buying anything.
The most important thing is to carry garden-tested varieties, and not varieties that look pretty in the catalogue but will not survive the growing conditions in your market area.
The days of 48 plants per flat are gone, the smallest configuration is a 32 and more than 90 per cent of the packs are 2-0-12 or 3-0-6 or just 1-0-24; this is a great step forward for consumers and sales. The less shrinkage the better! Consumers need plants that are not overly growth-regulated with chemicals, because fewer PGRs usually means better garden performance.
Pot sizes are 10 cm and 15 cm for single varieties to be planted into gardens. And of course the hanging baskets and different combination pots are selling well.
ALWAYS A MARKET FOR QUALITY
Consistently good-quality plants mean higher prices. Most gardeners will pay more for quality, especially if the garden centre builds that trust with their customers and does not abuse it.
|Packaging adds value and consumer appeal.
- Old plants in hanging baskets or combinations are almost completely root-bound. This replaces the growing media that will subsequently not have much water-holding capacity.
- Containers that are not meant to be transplanted need to have the media low enough from the top so it can hold water when it is watered.
- The best quality plant, if not watered, will die. Carry and sell drip systems; these are easy to use and very affordable.
Gardeners need information and they are willing to pay for it when they trust it. That trust is established and re-affirmed when they are successful.
Remember also that everyone likes to feel important. Anything that makes their shopping enjoyable is welcomed by consumers.
GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT
|Patios as new areas to decorate.
Any successful business plans for the future and for any changes that may happen along the way:
- Product selection.
- Customer base.
- New technology.
- This year’s colours.
- Plant of the year.
- New employees.
What is more important is improving the bottom line and eliminating the total dependency on banks.
Every owner should realize his or her strengths and hire somebody to cover their weaknesses. Always try to capitalize on the strengths of others and build a dependable team to help you build for the future. ■