March 23, 2011

The Curious Case Of The Wholesale Clubs

Walmart’s planogram, like those of the home improvement and supermarket chains, regularly incorporates live goods. The space those chains dedicate to live goods is roughly the same between stores, and the volume growers supply to each respective chain is enough to keep their greenhouses full and their operations in business.   Wholesale clubs are a different beast, though. Yes, BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club make up a massive retail channel, but live goods fit into their planograms differently. None of the three has a full-fledged garden center or floral department nationally. Instead, live goods are typically merchandised on wooden pallets and positioned wherever each club can make room for them in stores.   Sure, the live goods approach at the clubs is somewhat perplexing, and the supply challenges their growers face are daunting. But the rewards those growers reap, in many cases, trump the hoops they jump through in supplying […]

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March 23, 2011

5 Questions With A Costco Floral Buyer

Costco floral buyer Ken Hackman shares insights into his wholesale club’s approach to live goods and why he thinks Costco has been so successful selling them.   GG: The wholesale club retail channel is a unique one compared to, say, mass merchandisers (Walmart), home improvement chains (Lowe’s, Home Depot), supermarket chains and independently owned garden centers. There are several differentiating factors I can identify, including numbers of SKUs, volume and the high number of product turns.  In what other ways does Costco strive to be different in regard to live goods? Can you also tell us about the philsophy behind the number of SKUs, volume and the high number of product turns, and why Costco has adopted its specific approach to lawn and garden?   KH: Costco’s business model is based on larger rings, faster turns and low markups on the highest quality merchandise in order to keep our price […]

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March 18, 2011

Pepsi Testing Plant-Based Bottle

PepsiCo has developed a PET plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based resources, including switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. The “green” bottle is 100 percent recyclable. In the future, the company expects to broaden the renewable sources used to create the “green” bottle to include orange peels, potato peels, oat hulls and other agricultural byproducts from its foods business. “PepsiCo is in a unique position, as one of the world’s largest food and beverage businesses, to ultimately source agricultural byproducts from our foods business to manufacture a more environmentally-preferable bottle for our beverages business–a sustainable business model that we believe brings to life the essence of Performance with Purpose,” says PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. Combining biological and chemical processes, PepsiCo has identified methods to create a molecular structure that is identical to petroleum-based PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which results in a bottle that looks, feels and protects its […]

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March 18, 2011

America In Bloom Launches Communities In 2011 Program

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of America in Bloom, citizens in more than 20 towns across America are working on local revitalization programs as they prepare for visits from America in Bloom (AIB) judges. These towns are planting, cleaning and doing everything they can to be in the running to be named the best blooming, most livable town in America.   The America in Bloom competition is open to towns and cities of all sizes. The smallest town has been Shipshewana, Ind., with a population of 536, and the largest is Chicago. To date, nearly 200 towns and cities from 38 states have participated in the program and more than 21 million people have been touched by it. Towns are compared to others in the same population category.   Judging will begin in May and continue through early August. America in Bloom is the only program of its type in the […]

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March 18, 2011

The Public Marketing Of Horticulture

I am fortunate to be invited to speak in many horticultural venues. I thought for sure it was my good looks, but no such luck. People actually want to hear about what we do. I have been doing this for some time and am noticing a trend in the public marketing of horticulture that is a wee bit troubling. Perhaps it has snuck up on us, but without noticing we have become somewhat irrelevant. Most of the time, I speak to you–the industry. We have been educating each other, sharing thoughts, problems, answers and the joys and despairs of what we do. Whether educators, growers, retailers or brokers, we are all trying to enhance our businesses through efficiency and marketing–but we constantly talk to each other. Evolution Of Garden Shows Ten years ago, I was often invited to speak at “home and garden” shows in Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta and other […]

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February 24, 2011

Green Roofs Offer Sky-High Possibilities

Imagine how many plants growers could sell if city governments awarded U.S. businesses $5 for every square foot of garden space they planted. Imagine if the incentive trickled down to the homeowner level, too. City governments are, of course, unlikely to present such incentives for every garden installation within their limits, but what if they took a more active role in promoting the installation of green roofs? Portland, Ore., is already offering a $5-per-square-foot incentive to property owners and developers through 2013 to add more “ecoroofs,” which cost between $5 and $20 per square foot according to the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. Cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. have been green roof leaders over the last decade, as well, while Austin, New York City and Philadelphia are becoming more serious about incorporating green roofs into their culture. No, the United States isn’t greening as many acres of roofs as […]

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February 23, 2011

Brand Building With A Comic Superhero

The Amazing Spiderman. The Incredible Hulk. The Adventures of Tommy Treadwell. Wait, Tommy who? Tommy Treadwell, of course. No, Tommy isn’t the world-famous comic superhero Peter Parker and Bruce Banner are. He is, however, the face of the Treadwell perennial brand as the creation of The Perennial Farm in Glen Arm, Md. And now, Tommy has his own comic series. “I think the possibilities really are endless for a comic,” says Tom Watson, Treadwell’s marketing and brand manager. “We lined up about six for this year, each with a specific message.” The first comic in The Adventures of Tommy Treadwell introduces a few of the more popular varieties in the Treadwell line. The next comic, which Kiley indicates will be released sometime in the next couple weeks, will focus on the Treadwell brand website, TreadwellPlants.com, which was launched in January. Yet another idea for 2011 is to put Tommy in […]

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February 18, 2011

On Sustainability: No Two Consumers Are Alike

Savvy marketers rely on the principles of customer segmentation and product targeting to more efficiently allocate scarce resources and effectively reach groups of consumers with similar preferences or demands. It would appear as though many people have jumped on the eco-train, but to what extent have people who purchased plants, many of them gardeners, adopted eco-practices like recycling and composting? Previous research shows some consumers are willing to pay a premium price for green products and share attitudes that are favorable toward the environment. Premium-priced products are assumed to be more profitable, and often are. Still, relatively little is known about gardeners and their ecological attitudes, practices or behaviors. Our objective was to identify and profile consumer segments with regard to their gardening purchases. Are gardeners more eco-friendly? We sought to determine whether there were differences in their eco-friendly attitudes and behaviors, such as recycling. Our underlying belief was that […]

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February 15, 2011

Reconnecting With Consumers Crux Of Seeley Conference

In today’s post-recession marketplace, the “reborn consumer” is asking tougher questions. She is making more critical decisions as to what is really important and what she really needs. Marketers can no longer assume the consumer will return to buy what she has bought before. Indeed, total consumption levels have already returned to pre-recession expenditure levels, but not every subsector of the economy has rebounded, as the consumer is spending differently, buying more in some categories and less in others. At the 26th annual Seeley Conference, greenhouse industry leaders will explore a series of questions through thoughtful, relevant presentations and lively group discussion. Among the questions: –Why are people blind to the plants and flowers that surround them in everyday life? –Can the industry overcome plant blindness and increase mindshare in the consumer by understanding and communicating that our products are necessities in people’s lives and not mere luxuries? –How has […]

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February 8, 2011

New Gardening Game To Debut This Summer

The folks that brought you the GardenPilot iPhone app are hard at work to bring consumers a new 3-dimensional online game focused on gardening. Called GardenQuest, it’s set to debut this summer. Steve Cissel of 10-20 Media says the goal is to frame the game with the industry in mind, engaging consumers on behalf of all aspects of the green industry. The idea for the game came out of the plethora of discussions about an industry-wide promotion. “I’ve been in this Internet space for a while and see an opportunity to create a virtual economy that will benefit everybody in the industry,” he adds. “This (game) allows for a person’s creativity to come out, and they will be able to put things the way they want them.” Currently a company with more than 20 years of experience in game development is creating GardenQuest. Why a gardening game? Games like FarmVille […]

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February 2, 2011

Study: Flower Quality More Important To Consumer Than Price

The Floral Marketing Research Fund (FMRF) recently released a comprehensive study titled “Consumer Preference for Flowers as Gifts.” According to the study, the quality of flowers is more important to consumers than price. When compared with other attributes when purchasing flowers, consumers ranked quality the highest consideration in the buying process, followed by color, price, design and other factors. That’s just one finding from the research study that’s now available from the FMRF. The Floral Marketing Research Fund was established in 2008 by volunteers of the American Floral Endowment board of trustees to support consumer research that benefits the floral industry. Funded in part by Asocolflores and other industry individuals and organizations, this research provides important insight on how consumers perceive floral advertising, price, longevity, fragrance, appropriateness of flowers for specific occasions and other preferences. The "Consumer Preference for Flowers as Gifts: Age Segments, Substitutes, and Perceived Risks" is the […]

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February 1, 2011

Monrovia Falls Short Of $20 Million Target

Monrovia failed to reach a target of $20 million in incremental sales by the end of January. As a result, the company has accepted an order to deliver unbranded Monrovia plants to Home Depots in the western United States this spring. “No, we did not meet our goal. If we had, we would not have sold plants to Home Depot,” says Bob Smiland, chief sales and marketing officer for Monrovia.” Including the Home Depot order, the company achieved $12 million in additional sales, Smiland says. “We still have a lot of plants for sale.” Following the economic downturn and a significant three-year slump in sales, Monrovia was required by its banks to meet certain financial targets for this spring. The company’s leadership had asked its independent retail customers to place an additional $20 million in orders by the end of January or face the prospect of having to move inventory […]

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