Growers Should Open Their Eyes To Opportunities

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Adapt or die. Well, death as a consequence is probably a bit extreme. The adapt-or-become-irrelevant concept, however, has never been truer for greenhouse floriculture.

These are tough times. Unfair times, even. But the more your business’s value proposition mirrors your neighbor’s, the closer you are to becoming irrelevant.

Silver Vase, the South Florida orchid and bromeliad grower, recently faced these facts and decided to change its value proposition. As an orchid grower, Silver Vase is already somewhat unique in that it sources some young plant varieties from Europe, where it pays a premium price for material it considers hardier.

Still, Silver Vase hasn’t stopped there in differentiating itself. By now, the industry is well aware of Silver Vase’s dye-infused Mystique orchid line. The dye-infusion technique may represent everything you’re not as a horticulturist. But the dye-infusion question the industry should really be asking is, “Can we capture new customers and make floriculture more relevant this way?”

No one, including Silver Vase, can fully answer that question at this moment. But unless you explore new techniques, emerging marketing and merchandising opportunities and other avenues that allow you to increase your value proposition, the number one factor that differentiates you from your competitor is price. And how low are you willing to go?

So forget about whether or not dye-infused plants meet your standards. Do they meet the consumer’s? And is there opportunity to entice newbies into gardening with plants that stop shoppers in their tracks and force “wows” from their mouths?

It’s time we get real. We’re dealing with consumers who are willing to throw bundles of cash at the latest Apple product or smartphone. Are we seriously going to quibble among ourselves over how an orchid becomes blue or an anthurium is turned yellow? We’re fighting the wrong fight and turning our backs on what may be the next big opportunity for a business to expand its customer base and make floriculture relevant.

Opportunities Of All Kinds

The blue orchid isn’t the only opportunity the industry has turned its back on. As mentioned already, the opportunity for you to increase your value proposition may not be a new technology. Maybe it’s a marketing opportunity. Or, elevating your service to a new level.

The trouble is that elevating your value proposition is hard work. In Silver Vase’s case with the Mystiques, an increased value proposition means intensive orchid trialing and learning how to manage a premium line with a broad assortment of orchids and bromeliads.

How about marketing yourselves and your “brand” via QR codes on tags. Peace Tree Farm’s Lloyd Traven is planning to do exactly this with some of his tags, shooting video of himself or his wife, Candy, talking about the plants they’ve grown for retail customers.

Yes, it takes time to plan, shoot, edit, upload and connect videos to a tag’s QR code. But here’s an opportunity to increase your value proposition as a marketer, generate more visibility for yourself as a supplier and educate consumers on their level.

Who says there are no opportunities in the greenhouse world? The truth is, those who don’t see opportunity don’t want to see it. Capitalizing on an opportunity may take extra work. It may even require you to try something new. But remember: If you don’t adapt, you’re bound to become the next irrelevant grower.

Kevin Yanik is the former managing editor of Greenhouse Grower.

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