Store Displays, Customer Service & Pricing In Southern California Retailer Locations

8" potted plant display

The weather was cool and overcast, recording 60s during the day and 40s at night. All retailers were well stocked and ready to handle large customer volumes. It rained on March 23, so it was not surprising to see low traffic counts in most retailers, with the exception of Armstrong Gardens at their Flower Fields location.

In paying attention to how personnel interaction affects the customer experience, it was disappointing overall to observe how few employees greeted the customers. Only 20 percent actually interacted with the customers, although a much greater percent did at Walmart. At the one Armstrong store on the tour, all the employees in the selling areas interacted with every customer they passed.

Home Depot

Home Depot has two new and interesting programs:

Bloomtastic

A program of perennials, roots and soft woody items positioned as premium items with a fairly aggressive price point of $11.98 for an 8” container. The program’s point-of-purchase (POP) materials make the following claims:

  • New and unique varieties
  • Varieties that work in containers or in the ground
  • Easy to grow
  • Fantastic color year round

The program is being produced by HG Nursery and included a logo pot, upscale label and colorful, eye-catching POP sign. The varieties were attractive and included:

  • Cordyline Purple Sensation
  • Agapanthus Summer Skies
  • Iris bearded asst.
  • Lavender Bella White & purple
  • Bougainvillea Bambino
  • Corposma Tequila Sunrise

Smart Planet

This program consists of many varieties of succulents, is really appealing at retail and puts some much-needed emphasis on this category. The program is produced by Altman Plants and consists of:

  • Logo pot
  • Descriptive label
  • POP signage
  • The largest SKU is a 1 gallon at $5.98 retail

The POP signage states these benefits:

  • Conserve water
  • Reduces time and cost of irrigation
  • Low maintenance
  • Creates and eco-friendly environment
  • Year round beauty
  • Attracts native wild life

This is a really interesting program especially for the desert climate in California.

Proven Winners was clearly commanded the most space in the brand battle, while Vigoro and Viva were less visible and not highlighted, as we have seen in the past. There were also no Wave-branded products.

Lowe’s

The store continues to focus their premium offering into the house brand Garden Club Select, and the only visible free-standing brand in annuals or perennials included small displays of Proven Winners priced below Home Depot’s offerings.

In the edible category we would estimate 70 percent of the vegetables and herbs are from Bonnie Plant Farm and 40 percent come from their house brand Grow Your Own (GYO). Their annual vendors have to love this program because of the attractive gross margins in vegetables. Altman Plants was the main vendor for the GYO brand, and it also provided the store’s cactus and succulent offerings.

Walmart

As always, Walmart had the lowest prices and the smallest inventories of green goods, but this year they are launching the Better Homes & Gardens-branded annual program. The first product is an 8” combination consisting of two petunias and one bacopa. It retails for $5.98, the same price point as the Dummen 8” Confetti. The recipe was not very colorful, and in some stores, the Petunias overgrew the Bacopa but all in all a very reasonable price point.  The container was a dark lime green with a lot of print including instructions on how to use.

 One noticeable change from last year is Bonnie Plants regaining all of the vegetable space back from the generic market Walmart ran last year. Probably a smart idea since Bonnie is so well respected and followed by the consumer.  Color Spot has a generic vegetable program with Walmart but their foot print is very small.

Costco

16” caged Tomato: $12.99

3 gallon Cordyline: $10.99

12” Double Impatiens: $18.99

5 gallon Azalea: $11.49

Sam’s Club

10” Hydrangea exceptional quality-8-12 blooms

8” Hyacinth tin: $9.98

Armstrong Gardens

As always Armstong has a huge selection in all green goods categories, is exceptionally well merchandised and provides a very active staff that tends to every customer. Pricing is very competitive with premiums on the larger baskests and mixed containers. They also boast the best patio pots we saw anywhere in California.

Summary

Prices in this market are somewhat higher than we see in the rest of the Sunbelt, but many things are priced higher in California.  The major retailers have few choices when it comes to vendor selection, with Color Spot almost totally dominating Southern California with respect to annuals and perennials.  Color Spot was the primary annual and perennial vendor in 56 percent of the stores visited, but interestingly, Altman Plants had a presence in 84 percent of those same stores (mainly through their cactus and succulent programs). Altman was the primary vendor in eight stores.

In edibles it appears that vegetables continue to be a hot sector. Bonnie Plants remains the primary vendor in all three national retailers, although Lowe’s Grow Your Own had a presence in all their stores.  La Verne Nursery and Duarte Nursery both offered berry and small fruit programs with very attractive packaging.

The only other edible brands seen on the tour were the Organix and Mighty Mato brands at Armstrong Gardens.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

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
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More
Salvia 'Playin the Blues' from Proven Winners

September 9, 2014

Grand Gardening Show On Mackinac Island Draws Huge Audi…

Dates are already set for Proven Winners' 2015 Grand Garden Show after the great response the 2014 show received in late August.

Read More

August 27, 2014

New Gardening App GrowIt Connects Community Of Gardener…

Thanks to Ball Horticultural Co.’s Mason Day and Seth Reed, gardeners can now share photos of their plants, interact with other growers and learn about what grows best in their area with the duos new app, GrowIt!

Read More