Survey: Consumers Shop On Quality

The survey wasn’t an exact science, but a survey conducted by our sister magazine, Today’s Garden Center, gave us an idea how people are shopping. Several of the editors pushed the survey out to friends and family (the only requirement was that they were not in the horticulture/floriculture industry).

All told, 87 percent of the respondents were under 45 (88 people responded total). About 25 percent of those who responded were in their mid- to late-20s, and 18 percent were 30 to 34.

What we found was a little surprising. Nearly 83 percent lived in a house or condo that they owned or rented (that’s not the surprising part). Of the 88 people who responded, more than three-fourths said they enjoyed gardening. That goes against the general feeling that the younger crowd doesn’t really like to garden, and does it more to increase their property value. Moreover, when we asked them if they’d ever shopped an independent garden center, nearly 91 percent said yes.

The next question asked if they felt like they experienced quality customer service during the visit. Ninety percent said yes. And when we asked if they had to choose between price and quality when they were shopping for plants, 57.5 percent said they shopped on quality. That seems to contradict some of the essay question answers we received, however, when we asked them about their general perception of independent retailers (see comments below).

Our last yes or no question focused on vegetable/herb gardening, asking if they were planning on doing any this year. More than half said yes.

In Their Own Words

We also asked them an essay question to tell us what might get them to buy plants, and to tell us their general perception of independent garden centers. Here is a sample of answers:

–”I admittedly tend to shop Lowe’s and the other big retailers for the products, because their prices are often lower, and/or they have a larger selection. But when I need advice, I tend to go to the local, family-owned places as I feel their knowledge is deeper.”

–”For the last several years I have been trying to shop more at local, independent retailers, or at least smaller chains, rather than the big box stores. I think it’s the direction that our country is going to have to move in–more emphasis on quality and integrity rather than massive quantity. One of the challenges is finding the good places to shop. Because of my husband’s job, we have to relocate every few years, so it just takes extra effort to seek these good vendors out.”

–”I’ll try out a local center … and then compare prices.”

–”Would absolutely prefer to buy at an independent garden center, however, those around here are too expensive for the most part.”

–”We see so many here in New England, and for the most part, they are very knowledgeable.”

–”Personal attention from an experienced and educated person. It’s much more cost effective and convenient to go to my local Lowe’s than an independent garden center, in my opinion.”

–”I love independent garden centers. Unique and different plants would make me more likely to shop at independent garden centers.”

–I like the plants grouped by sun exposure so that it’s easier for me to plan out my flower beds and gardens.”

–”There is more variety at independent garden centers, and although I shop for price, the plants are better cared for there, too. I feel there aren’t enough people working at the centers; therefore, they are too busy to really spend time helping the customers.”

–”First, we don’t like shopping at Wal-Mart, so that’s not even an issue. The independent garden centers grow much better flower plants … we like patronizing small businesses rather than chains. Hoping to buy ‘pretty’ flowering plants for outside, as well as a handful of veggies.”

–”I would probably visit one once I own a home and have to tend to the yard. I have neither a positive nor a negative perception of independent garden centers.”

–”I’m so clueless when it comes to gardening … I might be more apt to go to an independent one if they had some sort of intro to gardening class, though.”

–”Good quality, sturdy plants are what grabs my eye. Also, something ‘different’ when it comes to putting in annuals and perennials. Everyone has the standard begonias and impatiens, but not every place has something different. Often, though, the independents surprise and delight me with their mix of ‘something brilliantly different’ for my yard, and I’m quick to grab it!”

–”I just purchased my first home, and for the first time I am excited to get to my gardens. I hope to hit the independent garden centers to support local business.”

–”My general impression of independent garden centers: generally overpriced compared to Wal-Mart, short on staff. It’s unfortunate, I’d definitely go to an independent garden center if I knew I’d get good service–I don’t have much knowledge of gardening and I could use some help.”

–”I love pretty photos of plants, and good prices. People who know about the plants that grow in my region are also valuable. AND A GOOD WEBSITE.”

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Survey: Consumers Shop On Quality

  1. The consensus should be to recognize that the independent garden center folks MAKE A LIVING selling plants and related items. You won’t find kitchen sinks, tube socks, or BVDs there. They don’t offer low-ball plant prices to get you in the door, hoping to sell you a tv.

    How much more is the plant worth if it comes with all of the free advice that you request regarding growing, pruning, fertilizer, light requirements, pest and disease control, overwintering, and the list goes on? Many independents have advanced degrees, yet John Q. Public believes that we should earn box-store minimum wages for our years of effort. Go figure!

  2. The consensus should be to recognize that the independent garden center folks MAKE A LIVING selling plants and related items. You won’t find kitchen sinks, tube socks, or BVDs there. They don’t offer low-ball plant prices to get you in the door, hoping to sell you a tv.

    How much more is the plant worth if it comes with all of the free advice that you request regarding growing, pruning, fertilizer, light requirements, pest and disease control, overwintering, and the list goes on? Many independents have advanced degrees, yet John Q. Public believes that we should earn box-store minimum wages for our years of effort. Go figure!

More From Marketing...
PP&L CAST 2015 intros

April 22, 2015

6 Breeding Companies Serve Up New Varieties At Pacific Plug & Liner

Pacific Plug & Liner’s theme this year, Labyrinth, a conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants, was perfectly topped off (pun intended) with fascinators for the women and newsboy caps for the men. The PP&L team dressed their part to act out the gothic “conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants.” Truly, the displays looked like they practically popped out of a catalog, and the costumes were a nice touch. Retailers take heed, the fully merchandised displays at Pacific Plug & Liner are worthy of emulating. We’ll let the pictures tell the story of all the fabulous variety introductions presented at  Pacific Plug & Liner’s 2015 California Spring Trials, where Cultivaris, Cohen Nurseries, Histil Nurseries, Jaldety Nurseries, Southern Living/Sunset Collection and Pacific Plug & Liner all highlighted their 2016 introductions.  

Read More
Speedling 2015 CAST intros

April 22, 2015

Speedling Inc. Presents New Varieties From ABZ Seeds, Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, Vista Farms & PSI

You name it, we saw it at Speedling's California Spring Trials location in San Juan Bautista, where five companies showed off their new introductions for 2016.

Read More
PittMoss on Shark Tank

April 22, 2015

PittMoss Wins On Shark Tank

Mont Handley, president and CEO of PittMoss, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on April 17 to try to get the “sharks” to invest in his peat moss alternative. Three investors from the TV show contributed $600,000 to PittMoss for a 35 percent stake in the company. Check out this clip from ABC’s website in which Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec discuss getting on board with the product. PittMoss is an alternative to sphagnum peat moss, made up of a mix of proprietary additives and recycled paper rescued from landfill space. Handley founded the Pittsburgh-based company in 1994. What started as a small experiment grew into a full-fledged business with the help of funding provided by an EPA SBIR grant and Pittsburgh’s Idea Foundry. Today, PittMoss is available to commercial greenhouses and nurseries from Michigan to Maine to North Carolina, with plans to grow. To learn more, visit PittMoss’ website, or check it […]

Read More
Latest Stories

April 15, 2015

Redesigned SunPatiens Website Offers New Tools For Saka…

Sakata Seed America's new and improved SunPatiens website launched March 1, 2015 and provides growing information, marketing support, product location and many more tools to encourage consumer success with SunPatiens.

Read More

April 13, 2015

Proven Winners Partners With Award-Winning Designer Jon…

Proven Winners will partner with award-winning garden designer, author and fine living expert Jon Carloftis on a new series of four LIFE + STYLE events in 2015. In true Carloftis style, food and spirits will be paired with inspiring architecture and innovative garden designs featuring Proven Winners plants.

Read More

April 13, 2015

New Consumer Website Makes Buying Roses Easier

A new website has been created as a resource tool for gardeners who are looking for a rose that fits their needs. This website is 100% consumer focused and will inspire confidence and promote rose gardening to the next generation of gardeners. Visitors will also find links to connect on social networks, such as Facebook and Pinterest. The website promotes roses, not specific brands, and that is what makes it unique.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Hor…

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
National Floriculture Forum 2015 029

March 18, 2015

2015 National Floriculture Forum Focuses On Marketing I…

The 2015 National Floriculture Forum, held March 6 to 7 in Minneapolis, Minn., zeroed in on the topic of marketing in horticulture and included visits to Gertens Greenhouses and Garden Center, Bailey Nurseries, Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and Tangletown Gardens. The annual meeting allows greenhouse and floriculture faculty, graduate students and industry partners to meet and share updates on current research, issues and initiatives.

Read More

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