Lessons From The Market: Merchandising

Industry marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery says controlling and executing merchandising is a key to long-term grower success. Based on his extensive retail travels the last two years, he lists merchandising’s missing elements and common traits that make merchandisers successful.

From extensive retail travel to almost 1,500 garden center in 2008 and 2009, it is apparent merchandising at the point of purchase is a key success factor and impacts sales velocity more than many other factors, possibly with the exception of “wow” color. There are garden centers that have outstanding products, attractive pricing, great locations and plenty of parking that clearly never maximized their sales opportunities by the way they merchandise.

From our observations here are some of the missing elements of merchandising:

– Prices that are difficult or in some case impossible to find.
– Plants that are not saleable but remain on shelves.
– Plants without labels.
– Overcrowding displays in which the individual plant cannot be seen. This is especially true of patio pots and hanging baskets.
– Plant merchandised on grow carts with baskets hung from the lips of the shelves.
– Plants on grow carts with too many shelves.
– Grow carts jammed so close together the consumer has a hard time shopping.
– Grow carts in aisle ways preventing the movement of shopping carts.
– Plants that should be sold in flower with no color.
– Not putting high-impact products on end caps.
– Poor point of sale signage.
– Debris in aisle ways that makes it hard to shop.
– Tables that have too many different items.
– Under-grown plant sizes.
– Pallets of bagged goods and/or sod that blocks the visual impact of colorful products, especially on the outside aprons.
– Outside aprons that are filled with too many items.
– Too much inventory that makes it hard for the consumer to navigate the store.
– Outside aprons with low-impact items.
– Plants that wilted from lack of water.
– Merchandisers who do not engage the customers.

These issues can deter the consumer who wants some kind of decent shopping experience in a reasonably clean and friendly environment, and that is not happening in many stores.

Looking at what the best merchandised stores, there are some common traits that make them the most successful.

– Friendly, well-trained merchandisers who are always busy and enjoy engaging the consumer.
– Balanced inventory that provides choices but does not clog up the aisle ways.
– Great color: the “wow” effect.
– Right-size plants for the container they are produced in.
– Plants always groomed and watered, discarding merchandise past prime.
– Spacing of large containers and baskets.
– Everything is priced.
– Control their own merchandising.
– Well-thought-out planograms that are flawlessly executed,
– Use POS signage. (One grower had several small signs indicating deer-resistant plants and had the plants displayed together.)
– Clean, orderly retail venues,
– Every plant had a label
– High-impact end caps,
– Compelling displays on the outside aprons,
– Talented management of the merchandising function,
– Merchandisers that undergo extensive training,

Merchandising is clearly a game changer and those who consistently do this expertly are those who are known in the industry as very successful companies. Great merchandising can be the conduit to:

– Reduced discards
– Improved sales velocity
– Improved gross margins
– Satisfied customers
– Allocation of more stores

Controlling and executing this process is a critical key to long-term grower success, and I would suggest that those who outsource their merchandising should be sure their vendors are executing at the level you need to make your retailer’s happy.

About the author: Jerry Montgomery is a 40-year veteran of the floriculture industry and has worked for distributor companies, breeders and large growers specializing with a focus on sales and marketing. As an industry consultant, he works for large growers, distributors and breeder/producers. His focus is to understand the market dynamics from breeder to consumer through intense retail travel, visiting almost 1,500 stores since January 2008.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Lessons From The Market: Merchandising

  1. Great article. Now would you staple a copy to every garden center owners forehead. We will post a copy in our Bench Systems booth at every show.
    Just developed a display to solve issue #4 on the list. Overcrowding of container gardens and hanging baskets. It is selling very well at summer shows so many owners do understand.

  2. Great article. Now would you staple a copy to every garden center owners forehead. We will post a copy in our Bench Systems booth at every show.
    Just developed a display to solve issue #4 on the list. Overcrowding of container gardens and hanging baskets. It is selling very well at summer shows so many owners do understand.

More From Marketing...
Laura Drotleff

August 10, 2016

Customers Need Hand-Holding And TLC [Opinion]

If we want customers to use our plants, we need to provide basic information about the plants we produce.

Read More
Luxflora Flower Run

July 20, 2016

First-Ever Flower Run Was A Big Success, Luxflora Says

Kicking off Cultivate’16 on Sunday, July 10, Luxflora’s first annual 5K saw nearly 150 participants racing through the picturesque Scioto Audubon Park in Columbus under clear blue skies and perfect conditions. It was a great way to start the week, participants said. Congratulations to the winners of the first-ever Flower Run: First Place: Jacob Griffith Gardner Second Place: Mike Goyette Third Place: Jack Ford The top three winners — and all of the Flower Run participants — were showered with flower petals when they crossed the finish line, making for a colorful and fragrant finish to an invigorating experience. “Personally, I would consider it a grand success,” says Luxflora President Rebecca Lusk. “The overall mood was fantastic, from start to finish. There were many high fives and group hugs, numerous duo phone selfies and postings to social media, while participants enjoyed their bananas and bottled water donated by Experience Columbus. Most […]

Read More
PrairieSplendor_CompactRose Syngenta Flowers March 2016

May 16, 2016

New “Generations Of Flowers” Study Tracks How And Why Consumers Are Buying Flowers And Plants

The Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment have released an update and analysis of this study, which first began in 2009.

Read More
Latest Stories
Laura Drotleff

August 10, 2016

Customers Need Hand-Holding And TLC [Opinion]

If we want customers to use our plants, we need to provide basic information about the plants we produce.

Read More
Luxflora Flower Run

July 20, 2016

First-Ever Flower Run Was A Big Success, Luxflora Says

Kicking off Cultivate’16 on Sunday, July 10, Luxflora’s first annual 5K saw nearly 150 participants racing through the picturesque Scioto Audubon Park in Columbus under clear blue skies and perfect conditions. It was a great way to start the week, participants said. Congratulations to the winners of the first-ever Flower Run: First Place: Jacob Griffith Gardner Second Place: Mike Goyette Third Place: Jack Ford The top three winners — and all of the Flower Run participants — were showered with flower petals when they crossed the finish line, making for a colorful and fragrant finish to an invigorating experience. “Personally, I would consider it a grand success,” says Luxflora President Rebecca Lusk. “The overall mood was fantastic, from start to finish. There were many high fives and group hugs, numerous duo phone selfies and postings to social media, while participants enjoyed their bananas and bottled water donated by Experience Columbus. Most […]

Read More
PrairieSplendor_CompactRose Syngenta Flowers March 2016

May 16, 2016

New “Generations Of Flowers” Study Tracks How And Why C…

The Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment have released an update and analysis of this study, which first began in 2009.

Read More
Webinar Photo from Flickr

May 7, 2016

How You Can Connect With A Broader Audience Through Web…

Webinars are time-saving and effective marketing tools that can extend your reach to a greater audience.

Read More

April 27, 2016

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes, and learn where changes are needed.

Read More

April 26, 2016

“Bee-Friendly” Labels Matter To Plant Consumers, Accord…

Research at Michigan State University shows ornamental plant buyers understand and respond to bee-friendly production practices.

Read More
Krause Berry Farms Farm To Table Dinner

April 20, 2016

What The Floriculture Industry Can Learn From Farm Mark…

Although we have a lot in common with the produce industry, there is much we can learn from one another.

Read More
Costa Farms Container Ideas E-Book

April 12, 2016

Costa Farms Targets Consumers With New Container Garden…

The electronic book offers tips on container selection, design, and plant care for millennials looking to grow in small spaces.

Read More
Tropical Fruit Tree Selection (Hopkins Tropical Fruit Nursery)

April 7, 2016

University Of Florida Research Shows Consumers Value Lo…

Compared to conventional plants, consumers reported a higher purchasing likelihood for certified organic or organically produced fruit plants.

Read More
Random Acts Of Flowers

March 31, 2016

The Floriculture Industry Needs A Unified Message To Pr…

Seeing the sneak preview of the new varieties that will be presented at California Spring Trials (CAST) spurs a visceral reaction in me. I’m giddy and excited about these gorgeous plants, having taken in some of their beauty and excellent performance already at Costa Farms’ Season Premier. I’m excited to travel to Spring Trials and that spring is coming, and I’m ready to dig in and get gardening. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. And it’s likely that consumers do, too. Nearly a year ago, upon returning from California Spring Trials, I lamented the absence of ideas translated from CAST to retail. The beautiful displays, the breathtaking combinations, the clever marketing — somehow, all of that effort and enthusiasm focused on business-to-business promotion is not being funneled effectively to the consumer. As an industry, we are not good at working together to market our products in a clear, […]

Read More
Sakata Seed America President David Armstrong

March 30, 2016

Sakata Signs Agreement With Indonesian Government To Co…

This week, Sakata Seed Corp. announced internationally that it has signed an agreement with the Republic of Indonesia to cooperate in the further development and production of its line of SunPatiens interspecific hybrid impatiens, based on the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Under an agreement based on the CBD, Sakata Seed has worked with the Indonesian government since the early 2000s to identify the origin of the native germplasm collected in Indonesia to develop SunPatiens, and the two parties have agreed on how the indigenous genetic resources will be used for the further development of SunPatiens. There are currently only a few cases in the world of such an agreement, based on the CBD in the category of horticultural plants, made between a resource-rich country and a commercial seed company. Greenhouse Grower contacted Sakata Seed CEO David Armstrong to provide context about this agreement, what it means […]

Read More
NGI-SunPatiens-Compact-Hot-Coral-Sakata

March 23, 2016

P. Allen Smith Says SunPatiens Are Hero Plants For Cons…

Plants that ensure consumer success with disease resistance bred into their genetics, and ease of use in a variety of conditions, are heroes for gardeners, especially beginners, and they should be celebrated and supported to promote gardening success and interest. These are the messages the award-winning designer, gardening, and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith wants the horticulture industry to know, with the recent announcement of his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed. In an exclusive interview with Greenhouse Grower, P. Allen Smith describes his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed to promote SunPatiens and why the now 10-year-old series helps both novice and expert gardeners to be successful. Smith also collaborates with Sakata to promote the HomeGrown Collection of vegetables. SunPatiens Set Consumers Up For Success, Smith Says As a plantsman first, Smith has extensively trialed SunPatiens in his gardens at Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, AR, and says he is […]

Read More
Suzanne McKee

March 18, 2016

4 Pitfalls To Avoid With Responsive Web Design

When implementing responsive design on your website, sidestep these common problems with some advance planning.

Read More
1 800 Flowers Instagram Women's Day

March 15, 2016

Society Of American Florists Uses Social Media To Take …

SAF strategically promoted five key Facebook posts to expand its reach beyond its followers and prominently featured Women’s Day on its other consumer channels.

Read More
Mason Day Great Plant Debate Campaign For GrowIt!

March 3, 2016

GrowIt! App Founders Look To Make Waves At The Chicago …

Mason Day and Seth Reed will hold a “Great Plant Debate” at the event, while updating the GrowIt! app with information on every plant featured at the show.

Read More

February 26, 2016

How To Recruit Loyal Customers With Facebook

Facebook is a powerful engagement tool that when used effectively can help you attract and retain faithful customers.

Read More
Greenhouse Vegetable Marketing

February 18, 2016

9 Tips To Maximize Your Greenhouse Vegetable Market Pot…

Set yourself apart by sizing up your competition, evaluating your demographics, and putting customers first.

Read More
GrowIt! Logo

February 9, 2016

GrowIt! And MasterTag Partner To Enhance Plant Care Inf…

The partnership allows MasterTag to provide plant care instructions to the wide catalog of plants available on GrowIt!, which helps consumers find plants in their area.

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