Better Communication Equals More Profit

Danny Gouge

Everyone is trying to manage costs, inventory, labor and margins and increase turns. Goals like these aren’t unique to our industry. They’re common for all businesses.

The group Greenhouse Grower brought together last year at The Grow Summit shares these goals. Businesses from all areas of greenhouse floriculture were present, and we discussed how we can address the industry’s many concerns.

Consumers were a big part of our discussions. If we can get consumers to have a higher perceived value and a good experience with our products, they’ll pay more. We see other industries that are successful in this approach. So how can we increase margins and the perceived value of our products and services?

Communicate With Consumers

Let’s start by facing the facts: Most consumers today are not avid gardeners. People want their yard to be nice, but they have limited time for research or maintenance. They want a good product, information on how and where to use that product and fast service. We have to keep it simple as they make buying decisions. If consumers have a good experience and we can gain their confidence, they’ll return for future purchases.

Right now, consumers visit the garden center and are largely overwhelmed. So the first step in our revolution is to condense information into short, easy-to-understand messages they can digest. The second step is to offer high-quality plants in prime condition. Third, we must merchandise effectively.

Try placing products together by categories like sun or shade – not in alphabetical order. Consumers do not know plant names, so presenting plants alphabetically simply does
not make sense.

Signage, tags and bench cards must be the instruction manuals for consumers. Signs must direct them and draw attention to the products you want to sell. Again, making the process simple will increase turns, expand profits and give consumers a better chance to be successful.

Communicate With Your Customers

At Willoway Nurseries, we grow more than 2,000 plant varieties. We ship to 27 states in the Midwest. Our customers place spring orders and then take advantage of our location to restock as needed throughout the season. Many of our customers are making buying decisions by the week, so it’s important we keep things simple for them – just as we should for consumers.

I try to condense our 2,000 varieties down to our “wow” plants of the week. Beginning in May, we produce a weekly list of 50 to 75 “wow” plants that are in prime condition for sales that week. We post a dock video to our website and social media channels that actually show how plants look as they’re being loaded onto the dock.

In addition to the videos, we create a monthly eNewsletter that keeps our customers posted on new products and marketing and merchandising ideas. We also provide a plant database online where customers can search for information by name, type or site condition. Customers have 24-hour access to photos and information on the plants we grow, as well as our availability.  This system also provides customers the tools to print professional bench cards with their logo and pricing.

The key really is communication – to your customers and to consumers. Our staff meets weekly to review crops, products, services and promotions.
Take advantage of information, too. Collect eMail addresses and produce eNewsletters that tell consumers what’s new with you. Tell them when products will be available for their stores. Train staff on new products so they can answer questions and offer solutions.

Leave a Reply

More From Greenhouse Grower's GROW...
CareerUp

December 27, 2017

How CareerUp Helps Young Professionals Level-Up

The mission of CareerUp is to equip young professionals with the skills to maximize their career potential.

Read More
Nathan-Nordstedt-in-the-Greenhouse-feature

December 26, 2017

Richard T. Meister Scholarship Winner Encourages Industry to Offer Young People New Opportunities

This year’s scholarship winner says young people need experiences that challenge them and allow for creativity and innovation.

Read More
GROW

December 21, 2017

Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative: How You Made a Difference in 2017

To create a competitive advantage, you must consistently experiment with and learn from new ideas. Greenhouse Grower’s GROW initiative provides you with cutting-edge ideas and actionable advice that results in greater profits in everyone’s pocket.

Read More
Latest Stories
CareerUp

December 27, 2017

How CareerUp Helps Young Professionals Level-Up

The mission of CareerUp is to equip young professionals with the skills to maximize their career potential.

Read More
Nathan-Nordstedt-in-the-Greenhouse-feature

December 26, 2017

Richard T. Meister Scholarship Winner Encourages Indust…

This year’s scholarship winner says young people need experiences that challenge them and allow for creativity and innovation.

Read More
GROW

December 21, 2017

Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative: How You Made…

To create a competitive advantage, you must consistently experiment with and learn from new ideas. Greenhouse Grower’s GROW initiative provides you with cutting-edge ideas and actionable advice that results in greater profits in everyone’s pocket.

Read More

December 15, 2017

Your AFE Donations Will Be Matched Between Now and the …

Between now and December 1, any donations made to the American Floral Endowment will be matched up to $20,000.

Read More
HortScholars

December 8, 2017

HortScholars Program Now Accepting Applications for 201…

Do you know any college students currently in a horticulture-related program? This unique program gives them a chance to connect with industry leaders and make new connections at Cultivate.

Read More
GROW-Summit-2017-Group-Photo

December 5, 2017

GROW Summit 2017 Tackles Marketing and Business Managem…

This year’s think-tank style event brought together leaders from across the green industry to deliberate on topics such as disruptive marketing, cost accounting, and Millennials, to name a few.

Read More
Photo-with-Endless-Summer-Hydrangea

November 27, 2017

Why It’s Important to Get to Know Consumers at th…

One way to learn about consumer behavior is to get boots on the ground and engage with them.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-feature

November 9, 2017

Dümmen Orange Throws Support Behind Seed Your Future In…

Dümmen Orange has announced it will pledge $450,000 over the next three years to Seed Your Future, the non-profit organization whose mission is to promote horticulture in the U.S. and inspire people to pursue careers working with plants.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Thanks to the 2018 GROW Sponsors

There are a number of industry organizations that help make Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative a success.

Read More
Marshall Dirks, Proven Winners

October 28, 2017

5 Rules for Creating a Lifetime of Outdoor Garden Memor…

Many customers are time starved. Their most important asset is time, not money, so be realistic about the investment of both when they are buying plants.

Read More
Living Umbrellas

October 25, 2017

Why Living Umbrellas May Have a Bright Future

Sometimes innovation strikes by chance. Such was the case with David Tilley, developer of the “Living Umbrella.”

Read More
Luxflora Paris Trip

October 20, 2017

Luxflora Paris Trip Offers Insights on Trends Shaping H…

Each year, Luxflora hosts an international trip that allows participants to gain insights on trends and gather inspiration that ultimately will shape and support our industry in many ways. This year’s event took the group to Maison & Objet and Design Week in the City of Lights – Paris, France.

Read More
Steve Garvey, Dallas Johnson Greenhouses

September 23, 2017

Producing Quality Plants in the Greenhouse Starts From …

It's common for growers to make mistakes. What you learn from those mistakes is what sets you apart as a grower and where quality starts.

Read More
Quality in the Greenhouse

September 21, 2017

Two Head Growers and a Retail Live Goods Buyer Talk Bes…

Ultimately, the quality of the plants you grow will be responsible for the success of the consumer, and consumer success will ideally translate to repeat sales. That’s why quality must be a top priority for all growers, according to Brad Julian, a Live Goods Buyer for Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Head Growers Dennis Crum of Four Star Greenhouse and Joe Moore of Lucas Greenhouses.

Read More
Jan Gulley, Gulley Greenhouses

August 25, 2017

Why It’s Important to Educate and Engage the New Hortic…

Young adults entering the workforce have more professional choices than ever before, and many want to work in environments in which their work has a clear purpose for both the organization and society at large.

Read More
Seed Your Future feature

July 26, 2017

Seed Your Future Aims to Inspire Careers in Plants

Who will be the next generation of horticulturists? The answer lies in helping to change the perception of horticulture and using contemporary new language to tell our stories.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

July 8, 2017

How You Can Use Lifestyle Marketing to Sell Plants

Should we be trying to educate consumers into loving what we like to produce, or should we allow consumers to educate us into producing what they love?

Read More
Metrolina Make a Wish Greenhouse

July 7, 2017

Metrolina Builds, Decorates Greenhouse for Young Cancer…

When Michael VanWingerden and his wife Courtney heard through their work with the Make-A-Wish foundation that 11-year-old Jason wanted a greenhouse to grow vegetables in, they knew Metrolina Greenhouses could help.

Read More