In Poinsettias, It’s How You Sell, Not What You Sell

Poinsettias looked as good at retail as I have seen in recent years, demonstrating great plant quality and some real consumer value. Take, for example, the 8-inch poinsettia produced by Mid-American Growers retailing at a Chicago Walmart for an amazing $10 value. Poinsettias at other retailers were, for the most part, above average in quality and even a good consumer value.

With so many reds on the market, it is difficult to discern which varieties stand out. Fortunately, while I was at Tagawa Garden Center, a Denver retailer that sells poinsettias by variety, I noticed ‘Premium Red’ stood out as very bright and as one of the most attractive reds.

I also spotted a number of ‘Premium Red’ at Lowe’s in Northern Wisconsin, which looked good in natural light and under in-store lighting.

Colors & Varieties

Now that it is clear product quality is improving, what about selection? Although red has and will continue to dominate, particularly in the poinsettia’s mid-season, there are a lot of novelty colors that resonate well with the consumer based on my observations of picked-over shelf space.

‘Ice Punch’ looked fantastic, as growers have now learned how to put some size on it. It looked very appealing at Home Depot in Baltimore. Home Depot had Christmas novelties in small ceramic-themed figures with a 2-inch poinsettia retailing for $6.99. Baltimore Home Depots also had some of the best ‘Monet’ in 8- and 10-inch pots that were far above average.

Packaging

On the packaging front, there are more sleeves being used with a built-in handle – a real convenience for the consumer and arguably more protective in colder winter climates. Freezing and damaging poinsettias between the store and the car is a real concern. I saw this first hand in one market, where the temperature was 30°F with a 25 mph wind. I observed a number of plants in shopping carts being transported across the parking lots without sleeves. It makes you wonder what impact packaging has on current and future sales in colder climates.

In many stores, sleeves are slid down to the bottom of the pot for constructing more visual and compelling displays. As the consumer picks up the plant, the sleeve remains on the shelf. If they buy the plant, many times the sleeve stays and the consumer leaves with an unprotected plant.

Novelties

How about painted poinsettias? For the past two seasons, I have seen a lack of interest from the national retailers and varying levels of interest with the independent garden centers (IGCs). Some contend many growers miscalculated how much paint to apply, resulting in less attractive plants. I have seen large numbers of glittered and snowed poinsettias, though, and this trend seems to carry on. The painted era, however, seems to have come to a close.

Plant quality is on the rise, too, as novelty varieties are incorporated well into the average product mix. But the missing element in consumer marketing is how and where plants are displayed.

IGCs devote a larger part of their retail selling area to poinsettias as a percentage of total space allocation. They don’t have an executive in a corporate office telling them how to maximize sales through a “cookie cutter” display planogram. Also, poinsettias are a much larger percentage of the IGC’s sales versus the national retailers.

Merchandising

Where poinsettias are located in any store makes a huge difference. Many growers are starting to realize the impact on their sell-through and store comps are directly related to how and where these items are displayed.

Cart displays offer the opportunity for mobility so poinsettias can be located in all high-traffic areas of the store. The center aisle adjacent to the cash registers (often referred to as “Action Alley”) in the box stores is clearly the most effective because that area garners the highest foot traffic and provides poinsettias with a lot of “face time” with the consumer. While some stores rely mostly on the somewhat abandoned garden centers as their prime areas for poinsettia displays, you would have to guess sales are not very brisk.

What appears to be some of the most effective merchandising techniques form my observations are:

• Putting poinsettias in front of the consumer, not in some obscure corner of the store

• A combination of grow cart, table and riser displays

• Preponderance of the poinsettia displays in the center aisle (“Action Alley”)

• Prices clearly visible on all sides of the cart and table displays

• Color blocking the various varieties for maximum impact

• An array of retail price points without confusing the consumer

• Addition of a limited number of no-poinsettia SKUs

• Moving the items on the top shelves of the carts down as the carts get shopped
The real key element is getting the poinsettias in high-traffic areas.

After six months of production and the cost of sales and distribution, no one wants to discard unsold plants. But if they are not merchandised where they get high levels of consumer exposure, sales will never be maximized. That is not why growers make these huge investments.

CORRECTION
Floral Plant Growers does not supply plants to Lowe’s. We regret this error published in the February issue.

 

Leave a Reply

More From Finance/Operations...

January 15, 2018

Missouri Greenhouse Grower John Tomasovic Dies

The patriarch of Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc. in Des Peres, MO, was a legend in the plant industry, and widely involved in many associations.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Perennials Icon Louis Stacy Dies

The founder of the former Stacy's Greenhouses in York, SC, passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

January 9, 2018

AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin Management

This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.

Read More
Latest Stories

January 15, 2018

Missouri Greenhouse Grower John Tomasovic Dies

The patriarch of Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc. in Des Peres, MO, was a legend in the plant industry, and widely involved in many associations.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Perennials Icon Louis Stacy Dies

The founder of the former Stacy's Greenhouses in York, SC, passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

January 9, 2018

AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin…

This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.

Read More
Tax-Money

January 9, 2018

What You Need to Know About the New Tax Bill

The United Fresh Produce Association, which represents the needs and interests of fruit and vegetable growers, recently updated its members on how the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might affect their businesses. Many of the insights provided by United Fresh also apply to greenhouse growers and nurseries.

Read More
Doug Cole, Owner of D.S. Cole Growers

January 4, 2018

D.S. Cole Growers Blazes Its Own Path to Growth

Known for its commitment to sustainability and innovation, this grower is one of the pioneering trailblazers changing the way horticulture does business.

Read More

December 31, 2017

Ag Exemption for New Trucking Regulation Still Under Re…

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s trucking electronic logging device mandate, which took effect on December 18, includes an Hours of Service exemption that may or may not apply to greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Tillandsia Air Plants (Plantiflor)

December 15, 2017

Bonsall Nursery Devastated By California Wildfire

Rainforest Flora lost its main greenhouses and outdoor growing property in the Lilac Fire in San Diego.

Read More

December 9, 2017

Southern California Wildfires Narrowly Miss Most Grower…

Here’s an update on horticulture businesses in the areas affected by the California wildfires.

Read More

December 5, 2017

Skagit Horticulture Builds New, Inclusive Business With…

By merging two large-scale producers, Skagit Gardens and Northwest Horticulture, the new company has realized its strengths through focused divisions that emphasize efficiency and success.

Read More

December 4, 2017

Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants Debuts as Roberta’s Finali…

On December 1, Eric Wallien of Roberta’s Inc. in Waldron, IN, officially purchased C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI. The new identity of the company is now Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants, according to a Dec. 1 letter to Raker’s customers, suppliers, and business partners from Vice President Susie Raker-Zimmerman. “There have been minimal changes in management and we will be providing the same products and services on which we have built our reputation in the industry,” Raker-Zimmerman said in the letter, which also announced the name change and new logo. The sale of C. Raker & Sons was announced in September . A series of events affecting Raker’s financial situation caused the need for the operation to find an alternate solution. Roberta’s had been a customer of Raker’s since 2011, and the fourth generation, family owned grower-retailer was a fan of Raker’s commitment to quality. The agreement to purchase C. […]

Read More

October 10, 2017

Sharpen Your Skills in Cost Management and Profitabilit…

The University of Florida is offering a new online course on costing and profitability. The course will take growers through the process of how to accurately evaluate cost of production, labor efficiency, pricing, and equipment investment decisions.

Read More
Willoway Nurseries Team

October 1, 2017

How Willoway Nurseries Gets Its Staff Engaged in The Co…

Willoway Nurseries in Avon, OH, is creating a culture with people who think, act, and feel like owners. Learn how its team is taking the business to the next level.

Read More

September 21, 2017

Horticulture Is All About Connections

The beauty of our industry is that we are more than willing to reach out and help those around us. What connections can you make today to help your business, and what can you offer to help another grower?

Read More
Worker taking cuttings at Vivero Internacional.

September 11, 2017

Vivero Internacional Elevates Clean Cuttings to New Hei…

One of the last independent cutting operations, this fast-growing company raises the standard for delivering clean, high-quality unrooted cuttings.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

September 5, 2017

C. Raker & Sons Acquired By Roberta’s Unique Garden…

Ownership will change hands in December, and Raker will supply young plants for the 2018 season. Beyond that, leadership of the two operations say they are excited to move forward with a partnership that will continue to supply the industry, and gardeners, with top-quality plants.

Read More

August 1, 2017

MPS Honors D.S. Cole Growers for 10 Years of Sustainabi…

At Cultivate’17, a ceremony to mark a 10-year milestone since D.S. Cole Growers became involved with More Profitable Sustainability (MPS), as the first U.S. grower to achieve MPS certification, took owner Doug Cole by surprise. Separate celebrations also recognized Metrolina Greenhouses and Dümmen Orange for achieving MPS certification.

Read More
Nexus greenhouse construction for Knox Cannabis Facility

July 27, 2017

Ornamental Growers Will Revolutionize Cannabis Industry…

Professional growers have much to offer the emerging cannabis market, according to the co-owner of Knox Medical, one of the licensed cannabis producers in Florida.

Read More
Ball ColorLink logo

July 11, 2017

Get Guidance on Running Your Business from Ball ColorLi…

Representatives from Ball ColorLink will be on-hand at Cultivate’17 to answer questions and present business-building tools and industry insights to growers.

Read More