May 18, 2010

Burpee Home Gardens Providing Consumers Help

Burpee Home Gardens is offering retailers and their customers a little support for the answers to vegetable gardening questions. Available in print or online is “Garden Fresh,” a free gardening guide booklet. Also, Burpee Home Gardens can connect with home gardeners via dedicated online social media interaction (Facebook and Twitter), which also aids in getting the word out about Burpee’s new 2010 garden-ready plant program. “As more home gardeners look to plant vegetables and herbs this spring, their search for advice, discussion and overall gardening information grows as well,” says Jessie Atchison, brand manager for Burpee Home Gardens. “The Burpee Home Gardens team has positioned itself to help its core consumer–new and novice home vegetable gardeners–with the answers they need in the formats they prefer.” “Garden Fresh” is a four-color, 32-page booklet from Burpee Home Gardens that contains information on virtually every aspect of how to start, maintain and build a […]

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May 18, 2010

Montgomery Retail Report: New York

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited 109 retail garden center locations in the New York area around Mother’s Day. Below is his New York regional retail report: The weather was really erratic over the five days touring retailers on Long Island and the boroughs of New York City, Northern New Jersey and suburbs north of New York up to Norwalk, Conn.–making for a very interesting tour. The weather was fairly nice until Mother’s Day (May 9) when the wind reached up to 50 miles per hour, but it was surprising how much traffic was in the stores. There is no doubt the consumer wants to buy green goods, as I witnessed great traffic flow in most retail locations on the 6th (Thursday), 7th (Friday) and 8th (Saturday). Edibles, of course, were one category that stood out, as evidenced by the number of shopping carts containing vegetables and herbs. This has to […]

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April 28, 2010

Metrolina Market Report

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent the weekend in Charlotte visiting the Lowe’s and Walmart garden centers Metrolina Greenhouses serves, among other garden centers in the Charlotte area. Below are his findings from the April 24-25 weekend. On Saturday (April 24), retail traffic was heavy and consumers were buying like there would be no plants available tomorrow. Vegetables, as usual, were getting a lot of attention with the Bonnie displays being pillaged, especially at Lowe’s, which ran a buy-one, get-one free on 5-inch SKUs. I observed many hanging baskets and potted annuals in the larger patio containers seemed to be a little sluggish at retail. On Sunday, after a huge overnight storm, it was overcast and threatening rain until about 2 p.m. when the sun appeared. Most of the day was slow at retail until the sun came out. Then the pace picked up but nowhere near Saturday’s pace. It is […]

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April 26, 2010

Tesselaar Enters Mobile Market

Tesselaar Plants wants to engage consumers through their mobile phones, and it is listing its entire plant collection with a new online and mobile garden research tool called the GardenPilot. “We’ve entered the age of mobile marketing because the always-on nature of mobile devices provides more timely communications than any other marketing channel,” says Anthony Tesselaar, company co-founder and president. “GardenPilot enables consumers to access vital information about our plants in seconds using their phone.” According to Gartner Group, a leading technology analyst firm, mobile browsing is a widely available technology present on more than 60 percent of mobile phones shipped in 2009, a percentage Gartner expects to rise to approximately 80 percent in 2013. GardenPilot is ideal for garden experts or those new to gardening because it features more than 13,000 beautifully illustrated plant information pages, along with helpful tips and advice from renowned gardening experts and plant breeders. […]

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April 21, 2010

Atlanta Market A Reason For Optimism

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent Saturday, April 17, visiting big box retail garden centers, including two Pike Nurseries stores, in the Atlanta region. All garden centers were crowded, he says, and consumers in the area clearly have a garden fever. Talk about a market being on fire: In the Atlanta area, garden centers were packed and in some stores, it was almost impossible to find a parking spot within 500 yards of garden centers. The weather was perfect with night temperatures in the low 50s and days in the upper 70s. The vegetable displays were extremely busy and many of the Bonnie Plant displays were almost empty by the end of the day Saturday (April 17). Although the average vegetable sale appears to carry a much lower sales value than bedding plants, the add-ons with vegetables as a percentage is much greater. I would often see a cart leaving the […]

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April 15, 2010

Change Is A Good Thing

Our industry has always felt changes in certain areas over others, but over the last three years we have entered into more collective rhetoric than ever. The rhetoric is probably driven by more obvious high-impact results than we have experienced in the past. The results of change have been eye opening because the No. 1 result has been the loss of greenhouse businesses at a rate we have never before seen. According to USDA, the number of grower businesses has declined every year since 2001–a clear sign of industry change. What Happened? The retailers took charge and now make the decisions growers used to make. Many growers are mad and would like to return to the “good old days,” but that isn’t going to happen. While the retailers took charge, they also provided more retail selling space than we could ever have envisioned, creating more than 100 million square feet […]

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April 5, 2010

Orlando IGC Trumps Box Stores

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited garden centers at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart on Saturday, March 27 around Orlando, Fla. He also spent time at Lukas Nursery in Oviedo and visited Costco and Sam’s Club. Below are his findings: Consumers were out in droves on this ideal spring day, and all garden centers I visited were crowded with goods moving rapidly off shelves. The spring season has clearly arrived after an unseasonably harsh winter. Although I observed good sales velocity–with green goods there were incredible quantities of bagged goods being sold–it had to be a huge weekend for companies like Scott’s. Home Depot Although Home Depot is a major player in green goods, it seems to sell higher percentages of dry goods than Walmart or Lowe’s–from many hours of observations. Bonnie Plants has a huge presence here with large inventories, prime space allocation and well-merchandised material on risers with improved […]

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March 16, 2010

Is A Pickup Yard In Your Future?

Answering customer demands for fast, convenient access to quality plant material, Pleasant View Gardens will reopen its pickup yard Monday, April 26, at its location in Pembroke, N.H. “The pickup yard makes life easier,” says customer Brenda Dymet of D. McLeod Florist in Concord, N.H. “It’s like having a great market to shop. You go in and pick out just what you want. For me it was very convenient and good quality.” Convenience and quality are exactly what Pleasant View had in mind when it launched the pickup yard last year. “It gives customers the fresh, quality plants they want, when they need them,” says Ben Huntington, pickup yard manager. “They can pick out the specific plants they want so they know exactly what they’re getting.” This year, Pleasant View has expanded and refined the pickup yard’s selection. For example, Pleasant View is stocking more of the hard-to-find and always-in-demand […]

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March 16, 2010

The Catch Of E-Commerce

Retail sales online continue to grow faster than sales at brick and mortar stores, according to a recent Wall Street Journal story. In 2009, e-commerce grew 11 percent in the United States, and additional research predicts it will grow another 11 percent this year. However, e-commerce still only accounts for 7 percent of all U.S. shopping (excluding auto, travel and prescription drugs), according to the story. And retailers need to carefully consider the pros and cons of an e-commerce presence. State laws dictate the tax liability for retailers, and a lot of times it’s not favorable to small businesses. For example, many states require customers who are in the same state as the business to pay sales tax on items they purchase online. Meanwhile, major online retailers like Amazon.com can avoid charging those taxes for a majority of its customers, which makes it a more favorable site to shop. Some […]

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March 3, 2010

Not Much New At National Retailers

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent the weekend February 27 and 28 in Southeast Florida touring garden centers at Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and other retail locations. Below are his findings in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas. The weather was ideal for gardening with day temperatures in the low 70s. It did rain in the late afternoon on Saturday, the 27th, but the weather was sunny and warm on Sunday, the 28th. It was somewhat surprising to observe how little traffic there was at retail. Of course, traffic varied by time of day and there was a steady stream of it. But very few stores were crowded, with Costco being the exception. It seemed to be at capacity. Walmart Walmart is sticking with its “less-is-more” concept with minimal SKUs and a major focus on outdoor foliage. Lots of damage was observed in this area coming out of one of the […]

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March 2, 2010

Lowe’s TV Marketing Plans For Spring

Lowe’s has decided to focus on its employees with its spring TV commercial campaign this year. Lowe’s will do this by giving the actors who play the employees as much screen time in the initial commercials as the actors who play customers, The New York Times’ Stuart Elliot reports. In advertising, Lowe’s employees will come across as knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. “Everything we do in the campaign is grounded in service and value, because that’s where the consumer lives right now,” says Tom Lamb, senior vice president of marketing for Lowe’s. Lowe’s creative agency, BBDO New York has made several changes to this year’s advertising, which includes no longer using the voice of Gene Hackman to narrate commercials. A new slogan is also in place. In the past it was “Lowe’s: Let’s build something together.” Now the slogan is “Experience. Lowe’s. Let’s build something together.” Or, “Experience Lowe’s. Let’s build […]

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