A Retail Perspective: 11 Ways Growers Can Help Us

Alex LaVilla, Liane Smith and Gabriel Maki of Swansons Nursery

As the green goods merchandise managers at Swansons Nursery in Seattle, Wash., Alex LaVilla, Liane Smith and Gabriel Maki  share their perspective on ways growers can improve their relationships with retailers.

1 Use available technologies for better consistency and accuracy in ordering and billing. The days of handwritten invoices are over! We need to be able to order, receive acknowledgements very quickly and receive the order in a few days.

2 Be interested in our specific market and how you can be successful partners in serving that market with us. Many growers do not know their own market share and are not knowledgeable of what other growers are offering. Often times, they are all offering the same plants and the only variation from one grower to another is quality, size or price point. The “branded” market is getting so homogenous that it is harder and harder to stand out. The growers could partner better with us on overcoming this and not just follow the corporate trend. Be independent!

3 Emphasize quality and consistency throughout crops. We expect growers to be aware of and honest about the quality and state of maturity of their crop. Be aware of what other growers’ plants are like so you know how yours compare. If we buy 10 items, they should all be of consistent quality, otherwise they shouldn’t be sent.

4 Provide deeper inventories on popular items that are in bloom or sell out quickly.

5 Pre-price and use product-specific UPCs. This is becoming more important. It may be a deciding factor when choosing between two growers of equal quality and similar pricing.

6 Invoice by each plant type rather than with generic blocks such as “premium annual.” It’s helpful for both receiving and data entry at the garden center. We may not group our pricing the way they are at the grower level because we are factoring in costs from several different sources.

7 Realize the days of huge, one-time seasonal pre-orders from growers are long gone. Too often the grower cannot deliver as promised, and often plants need a little more time to fill in. This creates lost sales opportunities for us, and we end up sourcing from others who can deliver a quality product on time.

8 Understand that the faster we can get a plant in, turn around and sell it, the more we can buy from our growers. Also, when the quality is better for the customer, the profitability is better for us and we can sell more. Poor quality does no one any service.

9 Understand all incoming plants must meet our quality standards on the receiving dock. Plants that don’t meet our standards sometimes still get through. Poor-quality plants require excessive labor to remove, put aside and communicate with the grower as far as what to do with them. We can’t afford to continue purchasing from a grower who regularly ships plants that are not up to standard. We need to be able to rely on growers to always send the best plants from an industry-wide standard; not just the grower’s personal standard.
If the plants aren’t up to standards, we don’t want them. We know it costs growers a lot when we reject something. However, some growers don’t quality control their own product enough. A way to alleviate the difference in perception of quality and plant readiness between growers and garden centers is detailed crop notes and/or pictures of crops.

10 Be aware that hot lists are somewhat helpful but often very limited. Hot lists often illustrate items that are also on hot lists from every other grower, and the lists often showcase items that are not in demand from our customer’s perspective.

11 Include actual quantities available on lists. This is very helpful. We need to know we can count on the items we have ordered are going to actually show up. If we assume a plant is available, order 50 and it turns out only four were available after it is too late to order from another source, we have lost sales opportunities.

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
HGTV_2015CAST

April 24, 2016

9 Business Predictions Smart Brands Should Pay Attention To

Andreas von der Heydt, Director of Kindle at Amazon, recently predicted what smart businesses will do in 2016 to strengthen their brands and promote their products.

Read More
Lin Schmale 1996

April 23, 2016

SAF’s Lin Schmale Offers Lessons From An Industry Lobbyist

Schmale represented the floriculture industry on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years. The advocate has recently retired, and shares some valuable insights from her career.

Read More
An Edible Evening At Stephen F Austin

April 11, 2016

How The Greenhouse Industry Can Propagate Gardeners The Same Way It Propagates Plants

Jared Barnes at Stephen F. Austin University says we are the experts at propagating plants. That’s knowledge we can put to good use to envision how to attract new gardeners and future horticulturists to the industry.

Read More
Latest Stories
HGTV_2015CAST

April 24, 2016

9 Business Predictions Smart Brands Should Pay Attentio…

Andreas von der Heydt, Director of Kindle at Amazon, recently predicted what smart businesses will do in 2016 to strengthen their brands and promote their products.

Read More
Lin Schmale 1996

April 23, 2016

SAF’s Lin Schmale Offers Lessons From An Industry…

Schmale represented the floriculture industry on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years. The advocate has recently retired, and shares some valuable insights from her career.

Read More
An Edible Evening At Stephen F Austin

April 11, 2016

How The Greenhouse Industry Can Propagate Gardeners The…

Jared Barnes at Stephen F. Austin University says we are the experts at propagating plants. That’s knowledge we can put to good use to envision how to attract new gardeners and future horticulturists to the industry.

Read More
Congressional Action Days 2016

April 5, 2016

Floral Industry Leaders Make Progress And (In Some Case…

Nearly 90 floral industry members gathered in the nation’s capital in March to meet with lawmakers in the annual event coordinated by the Society of American Florists.

Read More
Student Video Horticulture Education

April 2, 2016

Use Videos Featuring Your Millennial Employees To Recru…

Your Millennial employees may be the best spokespeople you have for your business. Why not encourage them to make a 30-second video talking about why they got into horticulture?

Read More
One symptom of Botrytis blight is gray, fuzzy sporulation on foliage and flowers, similar to that shown on the flower of this hibiscus

March 25, 2016

American Floral Endowment Will Fund Research Projects A…

AFE’s primary research funding priorities cover everything from pest control to production management. Funding applications are due June 1.

Read More
kendall farms

March 12, 2016

3 Grower Brands That Give Customers What They Want

With product information, reviews, and price comparisons at their fingertips, Millennials are turning to brands that can offer maximum convenience at the lowest cost.

Read More
NatureFresh Internship Program

March 8, 2016

NatureFresh Develops Innovative, Interactive Program Fo…

Through WeAreTheGrower.com, students can get hands-on experience connecting with consumers at community events, and sharing their experiences via social media.

Read More
Kristine Lonergan, Garden State Growers

March 7, 2016

How To Make Your Brand Connect With Millennials

Marketing to tech-savvy Millennials means paying attention to their shopping habits and motivations to build relationships that help them connect with gardening.

Read More
Uber provides value to consumers by making their lives better

March 6, 2016

How To Market To Both Millennials And Boomers

While Millennials have become the all-important generation among many marketers, there are some important parallels that can be drawn between Millennials and Boomers.

Read More
This row of tomatoes with large fruit load is part of an on-going project with DeRuiter Seed Co

February 24, 2016

University Of Arizona’s Greenhouse Crop Production &…

The annual event features a comprehensive educational program as well as a hands-on workshop. Registration is now open.

Read More
Carol Miller

February 16, 2016

Why America Needs Plant Evangelists

If we want to have more people buying plants, we can’t sit back and hope for change. We need to share our passion with individual communities and spark a love for plants.

Read More

February 2, 2016

19 Strategies To Strengthen The Horticulture Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW initiative’s five pillars: cultivate new customers, demand quality, drive consumer success, invest in the industry, and sharpen business management. Here is what you had to say.

Read More
John Daley Featured

January 25, 2016

How To Retain Motivated Young Growers At Your Greenhous…

Wholesale grower John R. Daley says engaging young growers and making them a viable part of your operation is the best way to ensure you keep young talent for the long term.

Read More
Janeen Wright

January 18, 2016

Five Thought-Provoking Ideas From GROW Summit 2015

Here are five ideas from Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 GROW Summit ranging from big-picture ideas to smaller initiatives that can help move the industry forward.

Read More
SAF CAD

January 18, 2016

Sign Up Now To Attend SAF Congressional Action Days In …

Congressional Action Days is a great chance for Society of American Florists members to meet their state’s lawmakers and discuss the most critical issues they are facing.

Read More
Dr Allan Armitage

January 15, 2016

Allan Armitage: Why The Deck Has Becomes The New Hot Sp…

Armitage says decks and small spaces allow younger generations to enjoy all the benefits of a garden without the work.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

January 6, 2016

Most Popular New Year’s Resolution For 2016 Favor…

It’s splashed all over social media: 2016 is going to be a great year! And what’s fueling that sentiment? It’s an overwhelming need for Americans to enjoy life more. In fact, we’re so passionate about this that it’s the most popular New Year’s Resolution for 2016, followed by living a healthier lifestyle. Here are the top 6 resolutions for 2016, as reported by Time.com, according to a Google Consumer Survey by GoBankingRates. Enjoy life to the fullest Live a healthier lifestyle Lose weight Save more, spend less Spend more time with family and friends Pay down debt Among different age groups, Millennials (18 to 34) are setting more resolutions than any other group, and they’re the most concerned with spending more time with loved ones, and the most concerned with spending less and saving money. Younger Gen Xers (35 to 44) are focused more on living healthier in 2016, while […]

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