October 17, 2011

Selecta Cut Flowers Launches Its Website

Selecta Cut Flowers has launched a new website with customer-focused tools, including: • Advance Search. Lets you browse our product easier and faster. • Brief news. Gives updates from Selecta on topics that impact your business. • Research and Showrooms. A map allows you to find our trial locations worldwide and request an appointment to see Selecta’s products. • A printable wish list. Helps you create your own product preference list. • Download Center. Offers an easy access to images for your marketing needs. • Virtual Catalog. Allows you to browse pages of Selecta’s catalog online. “At Selecta we understand the unique demand cut flower growers face,” says Nils Klemm, president and CEO of Selecta Cut Flowers. “We are doers who make our decisions in the fields, side-by-side with our customers, and innovators who support growers in staying a step ahead. This new website illustrates these goals.” To discover more, […]

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October 12, 2011

Social Media Isn’t Just For Retailers Anymore

Bell Nursery CEO Gary Mangum received conflicting advice on the merits of social media from the people around him who know it best: his kids. “My then 14-year-old let me know Facebook was no place for an old person,” Mangum says. “And my then 28-year-old daughter told me we ought to be on Facebook to capture the young people.” Mangum, whose company produces plants solely for Home Depot, started out on Facebook with just a personal account to catch up with old friends “with the side benefit of keeping up with the children.” But he soon realized there was a natural extension to the business in communicating directly with the end consumer. He set up the Bell Nursery page about 18 months ago to drive end consumers to either Home Depot stores or the retail giant’s Garden Club website. Right now there are about 3,000 people who “like” the Bell […]

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October 12, 2011

Social Media 101

What the heck is a Twitter? If you’re not yet schooled, check out this quick summary of the free social media channels available to you: Facebook. With more than 750 million active users, Facebook has a population more than twice as large as the United States. Users “friend” other people and “like” pages for companies or general topics. Users see a news feed that shows status updates, links, photos, videos and other information from all the people and pages they follow when they sign on. Twitter. A form of a mini-blog, Twitter lets users “follow” other accounts, and limits all posts to 140 characters or less. Twitter is a great option to feed followers to websites, blogs, photo galleries and videos for more information. YouTube. A video warehouse, YouTube is the second-largest search engine behind Google. Users upload videos and can create a “channel” that others can subscribe to and […]

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October 12, 2011

8 Tips For Getting Started In Social Media

1. Set your goals ahead of time detailing what your operation wants to get out of social media. This will help you focus your message appropriately. 2. Research each channel to find the one that suits your goals the best. 3. Identify the audience you want to reach ahead of time: is it consumers, retailers, growers or some other segment? 4. Have a plan for posting – who does it, how often, who answers consumer questions, what type of content at what time, etc. 5. Keep it fresh on each channel if you do multiple (i.e., don’t post the same thing on Facebook and Twitter every single time). 6. Go with your existing strengths when choosing content and channels. If you have an extensive photo gallery, send your audience to photos via Facebook or Twitter. If you have video, send them to YouTube or videos on your website. 7. Track […]

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October 12, 2011

Improve Your Bottom Line In Tough Times

The nursery industry has been hit with a 1-2-3 punch over the last five years. First, the advent of pay-by-scan, in which growers got paid when the consumer bought instead of when the store bought, created immediate losses on plants that died in the stores. Then the recession hit, driving down consumer demand for plants and shrubs. Finally, the weather this year created one of the most challenging growing seasons ever. Each of these events has forced growers to focus more intently on controlling cash and inventory. For many growers, techniques to increase top-line revenue have also become a central focus. In this article, we will focus on the key opportunity areas for growers to increase revenue and control expenses and inventory. Increasing Revenue The adage that it is easier to keep and expand an existing customer than create a new customer has never been more relevant than it is […]

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September 27, 2011

Comment Of The Week: Grower-Retailer Relationships

Retailers: Do you feel your relationships with your growers are healthy? Our sister magazine, Today’s Garden Center, posed this question as a poll to its readers late last month. Here’s what one independent retailer had to say: “I feel as though relationships with growers are like all other relationships: They require consistent communication and feedback so that good is rewarded and problems can be addressed and repaired. When quality slips, a quick but helpful phone call or email makes sure we all stay on the same page – making our customers happy!” Here’s how retailers responded in the Today’s Garden Center poll: • About 24 percent say their relationships are “very healthy” • About 33 percent describe their relationships with growers as “OK” • 3 percent say their relationship is “slipping” • About 6 percent say they are “shopping for new vendors” due to a “series of problems that have […]

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September 20, 2011

SBI Software: Maximizing Shipping Loads

SBI Software in Portland, Ore., has been working with growers to enhance the transportation logistics piece of its fully scalable and modular package. The SBI team worked with Kraemer’s Nursery, Leo Gentry Nursery, Bylands’ Nursery and Twixwood Nursery to reduce freight costs. This is especially important because freight has impacted the bottom line of so many operations due to rising fuel costs. Transportation managers can now take large groups of orders with order criteria such as ship-to location, rack count or footage, first delivery request and delivery time request, and the system will automatically build orders into loads and routes. Taking the manual work out of load building and routing reduces freight expense, which flows right to the bottom line. A job that required multiple hours per day is reduced to under an hour with SBI. The result is more efficient loads and routes. The SBI team has gone one […]

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September 20, 2011

Advanced Grower Solutions’ Inventory Control Offers Effortless Availability

Getting started in the nursery business was a lifelong dream for Ketch de Kanter, owner of Little Prince of Oregon Nursery in Aurora, Ore. As the business grew, the need to manage daily operations was no longer a task his small office could effectively handle. Little Prince had outgrown Quickbooks and Excel spreadsheets and was faced with finding a software solution that would grow with the business. “The biggest pain was the hours we were spending to prepare our weekly availability,” De Kanter says. “We were spending hours putting together our lists and struggling to get data entered into Excel. We were doing double-entry just to give our customers a complete list of plants available each week.” Little Prince evaluated several industry software companies and heard good things about Advanced Grower Solutions (AGS ). Based in Portland, Ore., and Fort Worth, Texas, AGS put together a complete Enterprise Management Solution […]

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September 20, 2011

Innovative Software Solutions Assists In Box Store Replenishment

Innovative Software Solutions (ISS) in Grand Rapids, Mich., has been working with growers to marry up the sell-through data they receive from large retail chains with the inventory data they maintain in Picas Greenhouse Software. This past spring ISS took the in-house skills it acquired through Randy Howe, who developed the Clarity program, and worked closely with a few customers to make replenishment for Walmart a reality. One customer that led the way was Olson’s Greenhouse in Utah. Olson’s was already using the Walmart Retail Link data, but this information didn’t have the same value until it was matched up with current inventory. Howe worked closely with Kurt Lainhart from Olson’s to deploy Clarity’s tools and customize them for Olson’s. The operation needed to compare the sales of more than 550 spring SKUs (stock-keeping units) to its current inventory. To do this right, Lainhart believed it would take three to […]

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September 20, 2011

Can We Survive Another Recession?

If the Great Recession can be likened to a massive coronary for the United States and world economies, then I guess we can say we are still in intensive care and in the process of undergoing extensive rehab. Recent indicators do indeed point to an economy that isn’t responding as quickly as we’d hoped to the medication and rehab we’re in the process of administering. On top of our economic recovery, our national debt and Congress’s reluctance to make tough decisions has put us in a non-enviable position heading into 2012. I guess that is what Standard & Poor was hinting at in its downgrade of U.S. treasuries earlier in the year, given that a big part of its rating model is a reflection of the current political environment. However, S&P’s unprecedented action hit the markets hard with its conclusion that our government is incapable of making any rational decisions […]

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September 16, 2011

Where’s The Best Place To Start Succession Planning?

Henry Hutcheson, a family business speaker and consultant with ReGeneration Partners in Raleigh, N.C., offered a starting point on succession planning for those who attended the Independent Garden Center Show last month in Chicago: tell somebody. “In my experience, the best place to begin is to simply declare to the family that you are going to begin,” Hutcheson writes at NewsObserver.com. “Call a family meeting, close the door and simply state that the company and the family need to begin thinking and talking about preparing for the future of the business. Yes, you have opened Pandora’s Box, but better you than someone else.” Hutcheson shares additional succession planning advice in his recent article. Read it here.

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