Sustainability, Reaching Customers Matter To Gen Y

Radka Martinova

My name is Radka Martinova. I am 23 years old and from Bulgaria. I am an intern in the U.S. through the Ohio Program. To be honest, it has been the best experience in my life. I met a lot of new friends, learned more about the country and its culture and, of course, improved my English. I am currently working in a retail store in Ohio. We sell a lot of different plants that are delivered from greenhouses and farms.

The State Of The Industry

Everyone is familiar with the economic crisis that struck North America and then the rest of the world. The U.S. is still impacted by the economic conditions in Europe. The green industry is going through a soft recovery. Until that settles down, people live with some anxiety, and that keeps them from buying. I noticed some costumers consider our pricey products a luxury. Most of them pick a smaller version of the same plant or choose a more affordable one. The greenhouse industry is facing low consumer confidence and high fuel prices at the same time. The latter impacts both consumers and producers.  Many companies are looking at innovative ways to streamline production and reduce costs. This is no longer an option; it`s a necessity. There are three important issues to point out:

Energy efficiency. Companies have to try to become more energy efficient. This will not only save money, but it will also protect the environment.

Water and water storage. Some states experience water deficiency. The problem with water storage arises. Like the problems associated with energy efficiency, improvements in the collection and use of water are also required. These efforts will help in the short and long-term.

Cultivating new customers. The problem of future generations is a result of macro demographics in the country. The Baby Boomers have pretty much bought everything they need from us. They secured the growth of plant purchases over the last few decades, but nowadays, they are getting more and more out of the game. At the same time, there are few people in Generation-X than during the Boomers’ era. It’s a basic function of supply and demand. Demand is down because there are fewer people demanding what is being sold. Research says that the U.S. will have five to eight more years of this demographic downshift until the population gets old enough to buy houses. Then they will want to purchase plants in the larger quantities that growers are able to supply.

Unfortunately, living in such a fast-paced environment also takes its toll. People are less interested in gardening, as they hardly find time to do it. The bar is being set lower. One gets satisfied with less. Why plant flowers in the bed when I can buy ready-to-go containers and place them on the front porch or back patio? Thinking this way leads people to buy fewer things. In other words, the industry earns a smaller profit.

How To Reach Customers

There is a need to cultivate new customers. In my opinion, the industry should focus on young people because we are the future. Times are changing and so are we. If a company wants to prosper, it has to have the right people on its side. Younger people get into things faster. They would know better what consumers want. For example, I quickly learned what customers want in my store, and after the first two months, I was already giving some suggestions to managers. That was a huge step forward for me because there are employees with a lot more experience, but the customers trusted me. I felt really proud of myself.

At the 2012 OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio, I met a representative from one of the companies at the show. He told the company has a policy of hiring younger people in many of their departments. He also acknowledged that such a policy will help the company improve. I am glad that these policies are being implemented.

Another way to cultivate new customers is for growers to distinguish themselves from the competition. The operations need to offer better service and gather feedback from retailers. This, I believe, will build strong relationships between the two sides. Then more retailers would be willing to do business with certain growers. Research people`s opinions or thoughts. See what they want and what they like. Understand them better, so you can offer better service. By taking these steps, I believe growers can cultivate new customers. Nothing`s easy but it’s worth trying.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
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
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generation Of Growers

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Latest Stories
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
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates I…

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generatio…

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

August 25, 2016

7 Ways Albert Grimm Strives To Be An Effective Leader

Grimm, Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, tries to live by the "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” from author Stephen R. Covey.

Read More
LuxFlora - feature

August 22, 2016

Check Out Luxflora’s International Adventures In Europe

A new, women-led professional organization provides its members the opportunity to gain insight, develop ideas, and build connections on its annual international trip.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

August 12, 2016

IR-4 Project Receives Federal Funding For Pollinator An…

Grants from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative will fund IR-4 projects on protecting pollinators through ornamental horticulture, and downy mildew management strategies.

Read More
Emily Teng

August 11, 2016

American Floral Endowment Announces Its 2016 Scholarshi…

This year, thanks to the generosity of several donors, AFE awarded more than $35,000 to 17 students pursuing careers in horticulture.

Read More
Josh Henry, North Carolina State University

August 8, 2016

Get To Know Joshua Henry, Winner Of The 2016 Richard T.…

Henry, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, is pursuing a Master’s degree in horticultural sciences, with a focus on crop nutrition in bedding plants and flowering potted plants.

Read More
Workers

July 23, 2016

5 Reasons To Invest In Employee Training

Training and developing your employees is critical to the future success of your organization and the horticulture industry at large. Here are five reasons why your employees are worth the effort.

Read More
BeeSmart

July 21, 2016

How You Can Get Involved In Research

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) supports scientific research and students for the advancement of the horticultural industry.

Read More

July 9, 2016

Market The Experience Of Gardening, Minus The Fuss

Greenhouse Grower editor Laura Drotleff says the industry should promote plants and gardening in bite-size chunks that help consumers build skills.

Read More
Grower Education

July 7, 2016

Two Industry Veterans Discuss How To Meet The Challenge…

Two industry players have a conversation on how we can deliver the level of grower education needed to address complex issues associated with production practices and pest management strategies.

Read More
'Violets Pride' from Week's Roses Downton Abbey Garden Rose Collection

July 6, 2016

6 Key Insights From The Generations Of Flowers Study

Being local and offering expert recommendations are hidden opportunities in the floral business. This was one of six insights during a recent webinar analyzing the Generations of Flowers study from the Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment.

Read More
Sakata Birthday Cake Feature

May 28, 2016

10 Creative Marketing Ideas From 2016 California Spring…

Grower-retailers often look to breeders for ideas on how to increase plant sales with smart marketing plans. The California Spring Trials were filled with great concepts to reach customers.

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