I attend trade shows that revolve around fashion, design and gifts. Why? For inspiration and ideas. I truly believe if we only stick to the horticulture industry for our ideas, we will severely limit our sources of inspiration and potentially miss important changes in consumer expectations.
While attending a New York gift show recently, I was struck by how many different products, gadgets and packaging were geared to solutions for a consumer who is starved for time. Convenience seems to be a general theme, and convenience certainly lends itself to gardening. Here are eight ways to provide such convenience and other factors consumers are looking for:
1 Speak Plainly
Our consumer wants the look of a beautiful garden but, frankly, doesn’t have the time to research what will work. We need to educate her in simple terms with how-to recipes that include her ingredients (plants) and specifically how to plant them.
2 Incorporate Relevant Colors
I look at the colors that are prevalent. This year, there were lots of bright and bold colors, including bright orange and chartreuse. Offering planters in colors seen in fashion and home décor just makes sense.
Company taglines and product packaging also get me thinking. In the design industry, there is a focus on expressing one’s individuality. Being unique is “in.” So why not promote items as “limited edition” or “exclusive?”
4 Promote Our History
At this same show there was a huge presence of nostalgia and vintage themes in wall art, cards and candle packaging. A brief history of the flower on the tag would be interesting and give our consumer’s purchase meaning.
5 Promote Locally Grown
Made in the USA is another huge concept. If vendors can claim it, they are screaming it on signage, bags and clothing. Imagine what promoting locally grown would do?
6Model After Others
Bee and owl motifs were featured on everything at this show, including wall art, decorative pillows and candles. When “she” sees the same design featured in home décor magazines, this is the validation our consumer is looking for. It makes her purchasing decision a lot easier.
Almost everything on the market today allows you to personalize and customize for your home. I’ve seen several food storage containers that allow you to write directly on the container so you know what’s inside. And if you change your mind, just wipe it off and write something else. We have seen some of this concept with smaller containers.
8 Use Recycled Products
Recycled goods are hot, as well. Products made from keyboards, tires, newspapers, tennis rackets–anything you can think of, really, is being repurposed. The most prevalent at this show were baskets, boxes and trashcans made from rolled-up colorful newspapers.