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...

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 Greenhouse Operation

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
Latest Stories

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
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

January 5, 2016

GROW Summit 2015 Explores Attracting The Next Generati…

Sustainable business practices and recruiting young growers were just two of the issues growers and suppliers brainstormed on at GROW Summit 2015.

Read More
Garrett Owen Feature Image

January 1, 2016

Richard T. Meister Scholarship Winner Eager To Give Bac…

Garrett Owen, recipient of the Richard T. Meister Scholarship, says his career goal is to become a floriculture Extension specialist.

Read More
Bee On Flower

December 29, 2015

Scotts Miracle-Gro To Fund 50 Pollinator Gardens In 201…

In an effort to help combat the loss of pollinator habitats in recent years, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. announced plans in mid-December for a year-long effort to improve consumer education about pollinators and promote the creation of backyard and urban habitats where they can thrive. The “Pollinator Promise” will fund the establishment of at least 50 pollinator gardens throughout the U.S. in 2016, as part of the company’s GRO1000 community gardening initiative. The GRO1000 initiative, now in its sixth year, partners with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Pollinator Stewardship Council, The Franklin Park Conservatory, and others, to promote the availability of additional grants for gardens and green spaces throughout the country. “The importance of pollinators is unquestionable and it is easier than most people think to create a habitat where they can thrive,” says Jim King, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Scotts Miracle-Gro. “The Pollinator Promise is […]

Read More
Joseph Shinoda feature

December 20, 2015

Chance To Apply For Shinoda Foundation Scholarships Com…

The Shinoda Foundation, named in honor of California floral industry pioneer Joseph Shinoda, will begin accepting applications for its 2016-2017 scholarships in mid January.

Read More
David Clark, Marvin Miller, market research manager for Ball Horticultural Company, Anna Ball, Kendall Stacey, and Sandra Wilson, chair of the UFIFAS Department of Environmental Horticulture

December 14, 2015

University Of Florida Horticulture Professor Attracts N…

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Professor David Clark recently donated his 40,000th plant to an undergraduate psychology student.

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

December 9, 2015

Pollinator Gardens Are On The Rise, Provide Opportuniti…

Thanks to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, enacted in June 2015 by the National Pollinator Garden Network, scores of new pollinator gardens to be planted over the next year and beyond will provide growers with ample opportunities to produce, promote and sell plants that are ideal for pollinator forage and health. And with research underway within the industry, we’ll soon have more knowledge about which plants are the most beneficial and attractive to pollinators. At Bayer’s Bee Care Center, the level of consumer engagement and interest in planting pollinator gardens is very high, Bayer’s Sarah Myers says. Bayer now has 73 local and industry partners and counting in its “Feed A Bee Campaign,” launched in March. Educating consumers about what they can plant to attract bees, and the impact they can have with even the smallest amount of space, is highly important, Myers says. It’s worth explaining to them that […]

Read More
foodscaping at epcot - Foodscaping Goes Big At Disney

December 9, 2015

Foodscaping Challenges Conventional Ideas About Landsca…

Conventional ideas about what a landscape should look like are being challenged left and right, from young homeowners like Sarah Baker of Baker’s Acres, who are standing up for their right not to mow their lawns, to Brie Arthur’s passion to start a movement to incorporate food with flowers throughout suburban and urban landscapes nationwide. As younger generations step up as consumers and industry leaders, these changes are likely to continue, and the horticulture industry, which has the most to gain, would be remiss not to embrace and influence them. Well known for her personal foodscape, which she has promoted across social media, and her annual tomato-tasting fundraising event benefiting the nearby J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, N.C., Brie Arthur has also been working with schools and her local Homeowner Association (HOA) to challenge the traditional idea of the landscape to one that incorporates the growing of food with mainstream, […]

Read More
Brie Arthur

December 9, 2015

Foodscapes: A New Direction For Landscaping And The Ind…

Professionally designed and maintained foodscapes are my hope for the future of American landscapes. As the global population rises locally, cultivated food systems will be developed to help reduce the food miles crisis. The sun, soil and irrigation systems of common landscaped spaces such as suburban developments, corporate campuses, retirement homes and public schools can be harnessed to produce supplemental, affordable food for communities. Foodscapes Unite Beauty With Practicality I began my first foodscape 10 years ago when I purchased a home in the suburbs of Raleigh, N.C. Money was tight, and I couldn’t afford the lumber to build raised beds and fill them with yards of purchased compost. Determined to grow food, I used the foundation landscape that already existed to cultivate seasonal, edible plants. What I discovered was a harmonious marriage of aesthetic and practical qualities. I was hooked on growing food within finely designed spaces. Now, a […]

Read More
Giving Tuesday

November 24, 2015

Giving Tuesday On December 1 Is An Opportunity For The …

Organizations such as American Floral Endowment and others are encouraging industry members to participate in the generous spirit of the holiday season.

Read More
Random Acts Of Flowers

November 24, 2015

Random Acts Of Flowers Partners With FTD And Pro Flower…

The organization, which recycles and repurposes flowers with a volunteer team that delivers bouquets to health care facilities across the country, made its 100,000th delivery to a health care facility in Chicago.

Read More
Kate Santos Operations Director Dummen Orange

November 18, 2015

Kate Santos Presents New Opportunities For The Horticul…

Dr. Kate Santos is a scientist, an artist, an advocate, a traveler, a dreamer, a visionary and a go-getter. Well-known for her work managing Dümmen Orange as Operations Director, Santos has taken on a new role as co-founder of Luxflora, an organization for women in horticulture.

Read More
Bell Nursery reaches out by supporting projects that help children connect with plants

November 12, 2015

Bell Nursery Is An Advocate For Outreach In Its Communi…

In a heavily regulated society, growing relationships is just as important to our industry as growing beautiful flowers. In environmentally sensitive states like Maryland, outreach has become mandatory, says Bell Nursery’s Gary Mangum.

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