Lessons from the Market: Packaging

Based on his extensive retail travels the last two years, Jerry Montgomery digs into packaging: why growers should invest in it, what a good investment entails and an example other growers could follow:

During our travels to numerous garden centers, we paid a lot of attention to packaging and tried to evaluate the visual appeal as it related to merchandising and, in general, the visual impact on various product displays. Clearly, product displays that had colorful, upgraded packages were visually more compelling and drew the attention of the shoppers.

In the grocery industry, generic products are the fastest growing as consumers look for more value and can be more easily swayed to abandon the purchase of some of their preferred brands. Recently there has been a concerted effort by supermarkets to get manufacturers of generic products to upgrade the packaging to attract more impulse purchases.

In our industry, the preponderance of the units sold are generic with little attention paid to packaging other than lowering the input cost. The fact is a large portion of the items we sell don’t look the same as when we saw them in the production greenhouses, while most producers actually believe they are putting “wow” products on the shelves of retailers.

Many have said: “Our products are so beautiful we don’t need to invest in packaging.” How wrong they are. In visiting hundreds and hundreds of retail outlets in the past two years, I can assure you there are few beautiful plants offered at retail that can’t be outsold by a well packaged beauty.

What’s In It For The Grower To Invest In Packaging?

– Increased sales velocity
– Reduction of discards
– Protect and/or increase gross margins
– Repeat customers will return to the stores you service
– Build a sustainable competitive advantage–keep out the competition

An Upgraded Label Is Not A Package

We have heard label manufacturers talk about being approached by customers who want an upgraded package but only want to improve the label. Labels that are more colorful and contain more information can be helpful but can’t compare to a totally integrated package that commands the immediate attention of the consumer.

Impact Of The Right Carrying Trays

In a number of cases, we have seen packages that include attractive containers, upgraded labels and then placed in a shuttle tray virtually hides the container and ruins the visual impact. Low-profile trays create more visual reveal and maximize the potential impact.

What Is A Good Consumer Package?

A high-impact ornamental consumer plant package does not have to be an artistic masterpiece but contains the following elements: a pot, a tag and a tray that have complimentary colors and present the plant product as one well-thought-out presentation. Of course, trays are not used with all plant products.

– A container that has a reasonable amount of visual impact-preferably a colored container that compliments the label.
– A label size that is not overwhelmed by the container size. In other words, a proportionally sized label for the container.
– A consumer compelling label that is colorful and has visual and informational interest, and has a call to action like a website.
– A program or product name that is descriptive (i.e. Colors of Coleus, below). However, a well-put-together plant package does not have to be a brand. It is just good packaging.
– A label that has a website reference.
– A plant that is the right size for the container.
– A plant that has enough flowers to compliment the package that creates an immediate impulse to buy.

Here is an example of a generic coleus program (Colors of Coleus) that is eye catching and, according to several growers, has been very successful:

There was not much added cost to create the Colors of Coleus program. Our estimate is around 10 cents with an upgraded label and a colored container. At retail, it clearly attracted the attention of many consumers and is a great example of adding consumer packaging to a generic SKU.

Locking Labels

Some branded products use locking labels that ensure the label not only stays with the container, but also displays it more prominently. Proven Winners is an example, as well as the Lowe’s Garden Club Select brand. Locking labels comes at an additional cost of insertion because it is a separate manual function that many growers don’t like. When visiting garden centers this type of package is far more attractive and will not degrade over time with consumers taking the labels in and out of the container. A plant without a label is not a salable product.

Summary

In today’s competitive world, the cost of inputs is a significant investment and it is understandable why many companies don’t consider an investment in packaging a worthy endeavor. These same companies also are challenged with controlling discards, increasing same store sales and more demanding retailers. Still, packaging can be an essential tool in overcoming these challenges.

Glancing at packaging leaders, it seems there are some interesting lessons to learn when you look at the success of the Wave brand with its signature pink packaging that clearly is a critical element of the brand’s success. Proven Winners is one of the most interesting and recognizable consumer brands that include a logo container, large labels and a coordinated tray that is synchronized so the logo is always visible.

Packaging is an investment that can garner great returns, and there is enough evidence in the market from those who have used it successfully and profitably that these investments continue to pay off.

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

More From Marketing...

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, According To Study

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 Marketers (And Vice Versa)

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

Read More
Latest Stories

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

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More
Houseplant Featured Image

January 21, 2016

How To Improve Consumer Interest In Indoor Foliage Plan…

Researchers discover why there is decreasing consumer demand for indoor foliage plants and suggest ways to overcome hurdles to purchasing.

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