On The Retailer’s Mind

Our sister magazine, Today’s Garden Center, has just compiled its second list of the Top 100 Revolutionary Garden Centers. Retail owners are invited to complete a very comprehensive survey. They are graded on what’s offered to customers and employees, not square footage or sales figures. The more innovative garden centers are with merchandising, marketing and business boosters, the higher the scores.

The independent garden center owners that respond to the survey share a lot about their businesses, including an answer to this question–What are your biggest issues with live goods suppliers? The floor was open.

If you’re looking for a few new tricks to hide up your sleeve and set you apart from the competition this season, these are a few good suggestions–the ones you have control over, anyway.

Shipping costs and timing were mentioned by 34 percent of respondents. Several respondents said shipments arrived when they weren’t expecting them. Product quality was the second most popular response. “Consistency in quality during times of high demand,” one respondent said. “We find many suppliers have great material at the beginning of each season, but this regresses,” said another.

Availabilities was another main topic. “Three years in a row we heralded new varieties in our newsletter only to have our orders shorted or cancelled due to quality or availability issues.”

Other top mentioned topics were safe and healthy shipping (“While one supplier offers huge mums, the way they ship them on carts makes them very susceptible to breakage while coming off the truck.”) and labeling and point-of-purchase materials (“Plants are not being shipped in retail-ready condition,” said one respondent. “A lot of growers do not seem to understand this concept. We embrace those that do!”)

And even with an invitation to let off a little steam, 10 percent of the independent garden center retailers surveyed said they didn’t have any complaints about their live goods suppliers.

“Great suppliers, thanks! You know who you are,” one retailer said. What would your retailers say if they didn’t know you were listening? 

For More Information…

This month, you’ll find more information on crop protection research, university poinsettia trials and our annual poinsettia survey in exclusive online content you won’t find in the magazine. Visit our Web site, www.greenhousegrower.com, and look for Exclusive Web Coverage. Look there every month for more details on what you read in the pages of Greenhouse Grower.

And while you’re there, see what’s on our minds in our editor blogs, check out our expanded Grower Tools section and sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, Benchrunner.

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