Communicating With Retailers

From video updates, off-hours contact and exclusivity, today’s retailers are expecting to work with a more proactive grower in exchange for their loyalty.

Virtually Improved

It’s not unusual for growers of smaller operations to wear many hats. From marketing and customer service to deliveries and growing, today’s growers are faced with days that leave little time for a coffee break or even to catch one’s breath.

Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm knows he is a busy guy. And rather than have his busy schedule detract from the relationships he has with retail customers, Traven chose to be proactive and hire Stephanie Whitehouse, Peace Tree Farm’s new sales and marketing manager.

“I’m pretty much the go-to contact now for all our customers,” Whitehouse says. “This has helped free up time for Lloyd so he can focus on his creativity and look for new and interesting plants. I’m constantly on e-mail and always attached to a phone, which has actually sped up a lot of our sales processes and improved communication with our retailers.”

While the phone may be the quickest and most direct way for Whitehouse and Traven to communicate with their customers, Whitehouse says a beefed up e

-mail campaign has been an excellent way for Peace Tree Farm to stay top of mind with its customers.
“I’m putting together a sales flier and it’s going out every Friday or Monday morning so our customers can expect to see us on a regular basis,” Whitehouse says. “It’s flashy and colorful with a lot of information.”

In these e-mails and also on the company’s website, Whitehouse sends along photos of the best-looking crops for that week. “We also add a new photo album on our website,” she adds. “People can see exactly what it looks like and how lush the plant is. And sometimes our customers might not know what a variety we have looks like because they might be new to us or just really unusual.”

Peace Tree’s website has become an added tool to communicate to retailers what its plants are all about. Every plant carried is on the site along with a photo and its cultural information.

The growing operation has also added a convenient online shopping feature to its website. ”It’s like Zappos.com where you’re searching for shoes, but in this case you’re shopping for plants,” Whitehouse says. “Retailers know we aren’t always in the greenhouse on the weekends, but they can place an order on a Sunday afternoon when they’re in their store and know exactly what they need.”

At PeaceTreeFarm.com, wholesale and retail customers can log in and have special site access to place orders.

E-mails and websites are great ways to provide retailers accessibility to growers’ resources, but Traven also encourages growers to invite their clients to come by for a visit and some face-to-face interaction. “If people come to see what we do and see how clean we run it, then we believe they will get very excited,” he says. “When I show them around, they’re saying, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this.’ That’s when you begin to sell to them, saying, ‘If you carry this material, you will be selling what other stores do not have.’”

Seeing Is Believing

Tom Hebel, owner of Bucks Country Gardens, is a big fan of the informative videos David Wilson, director of Overdevest Nurseries marketing, makes of available plants.

“David goes into the grower houses and walks around among the gorgeous perennials and does more than just talk about them,” Hebel says. “He doesn’t just say, ‘This perennial looks good today.’ It’s a bit of an education of the variety and an overview of the assets of the plant. And even if you didn’t like it before he started, when he’s done, you’re in love with the darn thing.”

Wilson says these videos help reinforce the confidence retailers can have in Overdevest’s just-in-time shipping. “We want retailers to know they are market-ready for them, so as soon as it comes in it’s going to fly out of their place,” Wilson says.

When Wilson shoots these videos of market-ready products, he says, “The idea is to show them the plants they’re getting before they come in and explain some of the features of the plant and what they can do with it. We make this video short (no more than two minutes) and we send it to the retailer ahead of time, attached to an availability list.”

Wilson says these videos are great for salespeople, providing them with quick, valuable information that can be easily passed on to the consumer. Some of the videos can also be used by the retailer in their retail space and marketing efforts. He adds the clips can be linked to e-newsletters, websites and even played on the garden center’s in-store televisions.

Leave a Reply

More From Finance/Operations...
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses For Greenhouse Growers

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
Sanitation programs are essential to preventing and removing food safety concerns.

April 7, 2016

USDA Launches GroupGAP Program For Fruit And Vegetable Growers

The new certification program is designed to help small and mid-size growers, including greenhouse vegetable producers, comply with new food safety regulations.

Read More
Young Plants Farm North Carolina

March 15, 2016

Young’s Plant Farm Obtains MPS-A Qualification

MPS, an organization that develops and manages certification for companies in the horticulture industry, has awarded MPS-A certification to Young’s Plant Farm in North Carolina and Alabama.

Read More
Latest Stories
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses …

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
Sanitation programs are essential to preventing and removing food safety concerns.

April 7, 2016

USDA Launches GroupGAP Program For Fruit And Vegetable …

The new certification program is designed to help small and mid-size growers, including greenhouse vegetable producers, comply with new food safety regulations.

Read More
Young Plants Farm North Carolina

March 15, 2016

Young’s Plant Farm Obtains MPS-A Qualification

MPS, an organization that develops and manages certification for companies in the horticulture industry, has awarded MPS-A certification to Young’s Plant Farm in North Carolina and Alabama.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

March 14, 2016

Dr. Charlie Hall Will Offer Keynote Address At Farwest …

The Texas A&M economist will discuss factors affecting short- and long-term demand driving the future of the green industry.

Read More
Seed Your Future Logo

March 8, 2016

Longwood Gardens And American Society For Horticultural…

Under the direction of co-chairs Paul B. Redman of Longwood Gardens and Anna Ball of Ball Horticultural Company, the “Seed Your Future” initiative is designed to combat declining awareness of horticulture while promoting it as a viable career choice.

Read More
Florida Green Industry

March 4, 2016

University Of Florida Study Shows Green Industry Genera…

According to the study, the rise of large retail chain stores with garden departments has made plants and other horticultural products more readily available to consumers than ever before.

Read More
Great Lakes Growers Expansion

February 22, 2016

Great Lakes Growers Expands Its Production Capacity For…

The Burton, OH-based grower has added 25,000 square feet to its operation, helping it to keep up with rising consumer demand.

Read More
National Garden Bureau Logo feature image

February 16, 2016

New Officers And Directors At National Garden Bureau an…

During the ASTA Flower & Vegetable Seed Conference, National Garden Bureau and All-America Selections elected new officers and directors.

Read More
Katherine Wolper

January 24, 2016

Ludvig Svensson Hires Katherine Wolper As West Coast Sa…

Wolper says she looks forward to listening to growers and understanding the concerns, obstacles, and opportunities they face.

Read More

January 20, 2016

Tips For Overcoming Challenges In Family Business From …

Our industry is run by a collection of family businesses, and every one, no matter how big or small, has its share of management issues. But there are several differences between one that is run successfully as a business and one that allows family politics to distract from the organization’s goals. In this year’s State Of The Industry Survey, we noted that labor recruitment and succession are two areas where growers struggle. In talking with the owners of Costa Farms for this month’s cover story, I thought some of the values they have incorporated into the operation’s management structure really stood out as practices that other family businesses could use. The participatory management approach to business and team building is one that Tony Costa, the second-generation owner of Costa Farms, instilled in his children, Maria Costa-Smith and Jose Costa, and son-in-law, Joche Smith, the current owners of Costa Farms. In […]

Read More
I-9 Form

January 13, 2016

Proposed Changes To I-9 Form Important For Greenhouse G…

AmericanHort’s Government Relations and Grassroots Representative Davi Bowen says growers need to become familiar with the new form and should be prepared to make comments if necessary.

Read More

January 13, 2016

Wenke Greenhouses Buys Zylstra Greenhouses

Two Kalamazoo, MI-based greenhouses have merged after Wenke Greenhouses closed on Zylstra Greenhouses at the end of November. The additional property and facilities will allow Wenke Greenhouses to expand its young plant business, among other areas.

Read More

January 13, 2016

Costa Farms Wins With Its Emphasis On Team, Solutions, …

Based in Miami, FL, Costa Farms has gone global by focusing on strategy, systems, and vertical integration. See how the operation continues to expand through its emphasis on team, solutions, and growth.

Read More

January 11, 2016

New Transportation Funding Bill Is Good News For Floric…

According to AmericanHort, perhaps the biggest benefit of the new bill is what it doesn’t include: a proposed amendment that would have prohibited the use of federal funds for vegetative enhancements.

Read More

December 29, 2015

The Home Depot Says No To Neonics

The Home Depot plans to phase out neonicotinoids by 2018, according to a recent statement on the company’s website. The large home improvement retailer stated that its live goods suppliers have reduced the number of plants that they treat with neonicotinoids, and now more than 80% of all flowering plants sold at The Home Depot are not treated with neonicotinoids. The retailer said it will continue this decrease unless: Treatment is required by state or federal regulation, or Undisputed science proves that the use of neonicotinoids on live goods does not have a lethal or sub-lethal effect on pollinators Aside from these exceptions, the retailer has implemented a complete phase-out of neonicotinoid use on live goods by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, The Home Depot has required all of its live goods suppliers to label plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids. “The Home Depot is deeply engaged in understanding the […]

Read More
Gardeners of all ages enjoyed the annual plant sale at McCorkle Nurseries

December 22, 2015

Allan Armitage Explains Why People Will Always Want To …

We may believe that an appreciation for gardening and plants is rapidly draining away, but there is reason to hope.

Read More
Canadian Greenhouse Conference 2015

December 21, 2015

Presentations From Canadian Greenhouse Conference Avail…

Many of the talks that took place at this year’s Canadian Greenhouse Conference in Ontario focused on improving production efficiencies in the greenhouse.

Read More
Sanitation programs are essential to preventing and removing food safety concerns.

December 7, 2015

How The Finalized Produce Safety Rule Will Affect Green…

While the new rule from FDA has many exemptions that will likely apply to greenhouse growers, the reality is that buyers may still require strict adherence to food safety standards.

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