Building Your Mobile Website

Monrovia’s marketing efforts are focused on driving consumers to independent garden centers..

With more people on tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices than ever before, chances are your consumers have bought into the trend. In response to an upswing in numbers, many growers have created mobile websites to make ordering and searching for information even easier. Costa Farms, Monrovia and Emerald Coast Growers explain why they went mobile, how it improved their customers’ user experience and tips for getting started.

Traffic, Page Views Good Reasons To Go Mobile

When deciding whether to enter the mobile marketplace, it’s important to find out how customers view and use your standard website. Monrovia, for example, launched its mobile website in November 2011 after months of analyzing the numbers on the standard Monrovia.com.

“In late summer/early fall of 2011, we saw that of the 3.1 million annual
visitors to our website, more and more visitors were accessing our site via a mobile device,” says Monrovia’s Vice President of Marketing Pam Wasson. “When we launched the mobile site, 7.5 percent of our traffic was from a mobile device. At the end of December, that number had increased to 12.5 percent. And that is in the slow season, so we are envisioning it’s going to be even higher this spring.”

For Costa Farms, the process began after six months of experience with a revamped standard website and a year of social media know-how.
“We knew we had to do it because with the amount of information we had, the mobile experience was really bad. Plant information was hard to access from your phone,” says Marta Maria Garcia, director of marketing at
Costa Farms.
According to the analytics from CostaFarms.com, the Plant Library, About Us, Garden Tips and Frequently Asked Questions pages are some that made the cut for the mobile version.

Customers Crave The Convenience Of Mobile Access

If you still think your standard website can meet all consumers’ needs, consider people’s motivations for using a computer to access the internet compared to surfing via a smartphone. Each one serves a different purpose. Computers involve a bigger time commitment; mobile is perfect for quick information.

“Both experiences are unique in their own way,” Garcia says. “People are always still going to own a personal computer. PC is still going to be king. It’s like a TV in everybody’s home. I see people gravitating toward smartphones and iPads, but at the end of the day, it is going to be like television. I am a believer in both. There are two different types of consumers. Some are always on the go and like to get their experiences on
the go.”

Aside from the customer’s needs, growers need to consider their own business needs when going mobile.

“Monrovia’s marketing efforts are focused on driving consumers to independent garden centers. And once they are there, we want them to purchase our plants. Our mobile site allows people on the go to find a garden center. Once they are in the garden center, they can get some design ideas and find additional plant details,” Wasson says. “It has proven to be a good tool for the garden center workers and our own sales staff, too. While they may not have a computer or our printed catalog handy, they probably have a smartphone or tablet. They can quickly look up a plant and show it to a customer.”

And the convenience aspect of mobile websites goes beyond buying, selling and promotional needs. Standard websites provide a great opportunity for people looking to do research or sit down and read in-depth articles. That information might help before heading to the store, but mobile can answer questions in the checkout line.

“People can utilize our information when and where it suits them. Have you ever tried to look up some information on your phone with a company that didn’t have a mobile site? It can be frustrating. We would rather provide a positive online experience,” Wasson says.

Garcia agrees that mobile websites accommodate end consumers’ fast-paced lives, herself included.

“Think of yourself as a consumer. You have very little time to do your transactions,” Garcia says. “I live and breathe on my iPhone and iPad. Every time that I find another app that can make my life easier, I do cartwheels in my heart. As a consumer, it is a necessity that you have information at the tip of your hands to access immediately.”

Choose The Right Host, Content For Best Experience

Creating a mobile website from your company’s standard site can prove more complicated than simply copying and pasting content from one place to another. When Emerald Coast Growers went mobile, it started by considering which Internet host company would be able to best complete the job.

“The creation of our mobile website was a result of being proactive in selecting a host. We chose one that already had the ability to convert a site into mobile, even before we decided to offer it,” says Co-owner Paul Babikow. “There are lots of mobile website creators out there, but if you are already tied in with a host package, it sure is nice if they are equally capable.”

Emerald Coast chose Volusion, a host that Babikow says boasts proven reliability and could “offer a dynamic database for our plants, a full online order system, customer relationship management and better up-time than we could provide hosting on our own servers.” The host also provided a quick conversion feature that transformed standard website content into content that could be used on a mobile website.

When it comes to mobile content, it helps to keep in mind what consumers want from their mobile experiences. Although long, detailed variety descriptions work well for those surfing the web at home, mobile users are usually looking for easily-accessible bites of clear-cut information.

“Mobile users are generally looking for specific info, not browsing around, so it was important to show the same info-packed content on our plant pages. We use a small image of the plant, a brief description, size, price, ordering info and availability for that plant – current on bench, as well as the next batch ready with date,” Babkow says.

Garcia says Costa Farms used its standard website to pick the mobile content.

“We knew the top pages that were constantly viewed by our visitors, and we focused on the areas they visited the most,” she says.

Another thing to consider when going mobile is the layout and screen size. To accommodate various mobile devices, from Blackberries to iPads, the website should avoid graphics overload and extra-wide layouts.

“We kept it very simple with a 380-pixel-wide branding logo at the top and very simple navigation text. There are just a few clicks to any plant page,” Babikow says. “Mobile display varies from device to device, but 380 pixel wide looks good and falls somewhere between middle- and larger-scale devices. It’s perfect for smartphones and tablets.”

When constructing the website, the most important thing to address remains how to meet your customers’ needs, and that may require taking a step back to ask others for input.

“We got together with our IT department to lay out what we wanted the experience to be like. We compared and contrasted what we liked and did not like, and outside consultants gave feedback. Then, the information technology department designed it,” Garcia says. ”The tone and the voice are for the end consumer. They are the ones who need the information to make the decisions about what to purchase. It’s all about them.”

Leave a Reply

More From Business Management...
Dallas Johnson Greenhouses has significantly reduced the amount of time and labor spent pulling and processing orders, while improving plant quality at retail

October 1, 2016

Political Stalemate On Labor Means Your Opportunity To Automate

Despite the frustrating nature of our current political climate, now may be the best time for you to address your long-term labor and automation needs.

Read More
cannabis-planted-in-a-greenhouse

September 29, 2016

The 10 Most Common Misconceptions About Greenhouse Cannabis Production

In an emerging market such as cannabis, there can be a lot of bad information out there. One greenhouse supplier points out some common myths.

Read More

September 28, 2016

Pennsylvania Greenhouse Grower Applying For Cannabis License

Allen Wagner of Wagner’s Greenhouse in Grandview, PA, hopes to become one of 25 applicants — among as many as 150 — chosen for a grower-processor license.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dallas Johnson Greenhouses has significantly reduced the amount of time and labor spent pulling and processing orders, while improving plant quality at retail

October 1, 2016

Political Stalemate On Labor Means Your Opportunity To …

Despite the frustrating nature of our current political climate, now may be the best time for you to address your long-term labor and automation needs.

Read More
cannabis-planted-in-a-greenhouse

September 29, 2016

The 10 Most Common Misconceptions About Greenhouse Cann…

In an emerging market such as cannabis, there can be a lot of bad information out there. One greenhouse supplier points out some common myths.

Read More

September 28, 2016

Pennsylvania Greenhouse Grower Applying For Cannabis Li…

Allen Wagner of Wagner’s Greenhouse in Grandview, PA, hopes to become one of 25 applicants — among as many as 150 — chosen for a grower-processor license.

Read More
The-Capitol

September 28, 2016

How The November Election Might Affect The Legalization…

National polls indicate Americans are largely divided on the topic, while this year’s presidential candidates generally feel it’s a state issue.

Read More
Vogel Alcove NGB Therapeutic Grant Winner

September 27, 2016

National Garden Bureau Announces Horticulture Therapy G…

The NGB’s annual grant program, Growing for Futures, recently selected three therapeutic gardens that will receive grants totaling $5,000.

Read More
cuttings-facility

September 27, 2016

How Global Suppliers Of Unrooted Cuttings Are Working T…

The world’s top vegetative producers discuss how they continue to evolve to overcome challenges and embrace opportunities to help growers and the varieties supply chain.

Read More
Employees separate the plants by stem count, bud development and height. “This process allows us to respond more quickly to specific requests from customers,” Van Wingerden says

September 22, 2016

AmericanHort Hosting Webinar On Overtime Rule Complianc…

The webinar takes place on Thursday, Sept. 29. AmericanHort is also throwing its support behind the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act.

Read More
customer-base

September 21, 2016

6 Creative Ways To Expand Your Business

Marketing experts offer tips to help you catch the attention of new customers and grow your business.

Read More
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Studen…

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
Pansy ‘Cool Wave Blue Skies’ (Wave)

September 20, 2016

PanAmerican Seed Settles Alleged Trade Sanction Violati…

PanAmerican Seed, a division of Ball Horticultural Co., has been charged with violating trade sanctions to Iran over a number of years. According to a release from the U.S. Treasury department, PanAmerican Seed made 48 indirect sales of seeds to two Iranian distributors. The company shipped the seed to consignees based in countries in Europe and the Middle East. PanAmerican Seed’s customers then arranged for the re-exportation of the seeds to Iran. The release states that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) determined PanAmerican Seed did not voluntarily self-disclose the alleged violations to OFAC, constituting an egregious case. “We believe that the settlement was extreme; however the alternative was to litigate with the U.S. government, which would take months, if not years,” says Todd Billings, Chief Financial Officer for Ball Horticultural Co. When asked what Ball Horticultural Co. has done to ensure that violations to trade sanctions do not […]

Read More
young-plants

September 20, 2016

The Top Young Plant Growers, And Four Critical Challeng…

In Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top Young Plant Growers Survey, growers discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in fulfillment, shipping, labor, and crop protection.

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

September 16, 2016

What You Need To Know About DINKs

DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) are quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing demographics that marketers are targeting.

Read More
MANTS

September 15, 2016

Registration Is Now Open For MANTS 2017 In Baltimore

The 2017 Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show takes place Jan. 11-13 in Baltimore, MD, and will feature more than 1,000 exhibitors from the green industry.

Read More
farwest-2016-photobooth

September 14, 2016

Farwest 2016 Marked By Expert Discussions On Green Indu…

Attendance at the 2016 Farwest Show in Portland was up 6% from last year, as visitors sought to learn more about emergent market opportunities.

Read More
Workers at Golden State Bulb Growers clean Calla tubers and select the best quality bulbs, placing them on conveyors to be graded, counted and sorted in the new system

September 13, 2016

Newly Signed California Law Expands Overtime To Farmwor…

The new law, which will be phased in beginning in 2019, is the first of its kind in the nation to end the 80-year-old practice of applying separate labor rules to agricultural laborers.

Read More
RISE New Governing Board 2016

September 11, 2016

RISE Appoints New Leadership, Hands Out Awards During 2…

“Our members’ enthusiasm is high, and we had great engagement as we work together to set objectives for 2017 and beyond,” said Aaron Hobbs, RISE President. “Our work ensures a vibrant future for our industry, so we can continue to deliver cutting-edge solutions to solve people’s pest and plant health problems.”

Read More
Workers at The Farm at Green Village

September 10, 2016

Now Is The Best Time To Demand Federal H-2B Program Sup…

Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution spending bill in the near future, and whether or not that measure includes an H-2B returning worker exemption could impact your labor supply for 2017.

Read More
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Awa…

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]