If growers had a second chance at the 2014 season, what would they do differently? In Greenhouse Grower’s 2014 Spring Crops Recap Survey, we asked growers what they felt was the biggest opportunity they missed during the 2014 season. Here are seven opportunities they said they would capitalize on if they could turn back time.
1. Early Season Demand
Growers had to reduce late sales due to lack of product, citing low inventory, lack of production, high demand for popular items and early season demand as a few of the problems they encountered. Perennials and woodies also were in high demand, mainly due to customers looking to replace plants lost to the harsh winter.
“We simply could not keep up with demand, so we missed a ton of sales,” said one grower.
Memorial Day sales were a missed opportunity for another grower.
“Regardless of the date, many of our retail accounts stopped and were happy they were out of product,” he said. “They left money on the table.”
2. Hanging Baskets
Growers couldn’t produce enough hanging baskets this year. Whether it was petunia-filled baskets, larger 14- to 16-inch baskets or super-sized baskets for cities, demand was high and sales went unrealized when growers ran out of product.
3. Not Enough Premium Annuals
Growers sold out of popular annuals way too soon and would have stocked more if they could have, especially pack annuals and full-flower container annuals. For one grower, timing was a factor.
“Certain annuals were behind in growing due to the weather and propane gas situations,” he said.
4. More Edibles
Growers surveyed said they wished they had more edibles to sell this season. One grower would have liked to capitalize on the demand for more ready-to-go edibles for condominium owners.
“At the peak of the edibles season, we were temporarily out of tomatoes,” said one grower. “I wish I had grown more.”
“I didn’t have enough edibles staged to provide premium product for the long spring season,” says another.
5. Better Marketing
Growers said they want to step up their marketing efforts in the future to take advantage of items like eCommerce and social media.
“We did not do enough marketing,” said one grower. “We stepped up our social media presence, but it was too late to make a huge difference.”
For one grower, not only the marketing, but also pricing made a difference.
“We did a hanging basket feature for Mother’s Day that should have been a special price basket instead of a feature.”
6. Combo Planters
Growers said they needed more combo planters in 16 inch and 10- to 12 inch sizes. Pre-planted containers were also in high demand. For one grower, having enough containers ready in June was a challenge. Another said selling mixed patio containers would have been profitable, but production started too late in the game for good sales.
7. Offering More Diversity
Growers said customers were looking for variety and something different in not only plants, but also containers. Ferns and succulents were two of the varieties growers wished they had added to their crop mix.