Connecting With Consumers

Growers don’t have the direct line of communication with consumers that retailers do. Between spring preparations, last-minute orders to fill and the runaround Mother’s Day and Memorial Day cause, it’s tough to take a good look at how the marketplace is taking shape.

Growers are aware of the products they grow that are and aren’t selling, but time isn’t necessarily ample for them to dissect consumer purchasing decisions and begin making plans for next year.

Fortunately, we did some dissecting for you this spring. In mid-April, we created a short survey and sent it to family and friends to get their takes on their consumer experience and gardening. Nearly 100 people took the survey, and the majority of respondents (90 percent) are under the age of 45. Forty percent of respondents are under age 30, so we received good feedback from the consumers who will shape the marketplace over the next 30 years.

Assuming my family and friends were strapped for time, I didn’t expect the most thorough and enthusiastic responses. Many of them are just out of college and at the start of a career, so I was surprised to read multiple responses that exuded intelligence, thoughtfulness and interest in our industry.

A Little Help, Please!

Some of the most interesting comments respondents made were actually calls for help. Consumer respondents even offered suggestions retailers should consider to reel them into stores. Growers should heed their suggestions, too, because everybody in the supply chain is responsible to the consumer.

One respondent wrote: “Independent garden centers should host free workshops on Saturdays, where they could teach potential gardeners how to start their own herb and vegetable garden. The grocery store would be another good place to get people interested.”

Retailers bear a bulk of the responsibility for consumer interest, but growers should also play a role in attracting new consumers and keeping old consumers interested. Vegetables and herbs, for example were clearly hot this spring, but we shouldn’t assume they’ll generate the same interest in 2010.

To ensure consumers return, growers should work with retailers–or explore options on their own–to develop educational programs or workshops that help consumers succeed in the garden. If 2009 becomes the year consumers took an interest in herbs and vegetables, take the next step with them in 2010 to make herbs and vegetables a greenhouse mainstay for years to come.

If you’re a wholesale grower, offer consumers a chance to tour and talk edibles or ornamentals at your facility. They’re bound to be awestruck by the magnitude of your production, and they’ll be inspired to try new things at home. A great example is Burpee’s Root Camp, a fun, basic training workshop designed to resemble boot camp that gives consumers a chance to ask questions and have fun in the garden.

Another solution is branding (see “You Say Tomato” on page 52). Don’t just sell an edible or ornamental, market a lifestyle or create a promotional campaign that offers consumers all the information needed to succeed. Create tags and point-of-purchase materials to hook consumers, and invest in a website.

Whatever you do, go local. Our survey respondents are asking for it.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

January 18, 2017

2016 C. Raker & Sons Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI.

Read More
Joe Cimino, Sakata Seed America

January 17, 2017

Sakata Seed Names New Senior Sales Manager for Ornamentals

Joe Cimino comes to Sakata with past experience at Sun Gro and Florexpo.

Read More
Latest Stories
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

January 18, 2017

2016 C. Raker & Sons Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI.

Read More
Joe Cimino, Sakata Seed America

January 17, 2017

Sakata Seed Names New Senior Sales Manager for Ornament…

Joe Cimino comes to Sakata with past experience at Sun Gro and Florexpo.

Read More
JinPin Flower Seedling Company partners

January 17, 2017

Ernst Benary Partners With Chinese Young Plant Grower o…

The partnership creates a new company called Jinpin Flower Seedling Company, which will focus on providing young plants to the rapidly growing Chinese bedding plant market.

Read More
Dipladenia Sundenia

January 11, 2017

New Tropical and Foliage Plants That Offer Hidden Benef…

Tropical and foliage plants can offer extra paybacks to your customers in terms of health-promoting benefits such as filtering the air, reducing stress, and absorbing noise. Consider these new varieties, hitting the retail market in 2017, for your product mix.

Read More
craspedia-golf-beauty-danziger-feature

January 9, 2017

Growing Tips for Craspedia ‘Golf Beauty’

Laura Robles of Mast Young Plants offers advice on ‘Golf Beauty,’ a novelty plant with can’t-miss yellow flower heads and silver foliage that blooms throughout the summer.

Read More
Bride with wedding orchids.

January 7, 2017

How to Stand Out in the Orchid Market

With the popularity of the Phalaenopsis orchid growing and its saturation in the market, orchid growers are hunting for new ways to stand out from their competitors.

Read More
California Coast

January 3, 2017

Expect Big Changes for California Spring Trials 2017

California Spring Trials 2017 will be here before you know it. Find out what you can look forward to and get a head start on planning and registering for your trip.

Read More
westerlay-orchids-feature

January 1, 2017

How Westerlay Orchids Solved Its Bacteria Problem

Water-borne bacteria was causing havoc with Westerlay Orchids’ production, so the company took preventative action to ensure the health of its plants.

Read More
nepeta-purple-wave-with-roses

December 30, 2016

Allan Armitage: Plants That Can Bring Success in the Ne…

Are you wondering which plants to grow? Here are some perennials, annuals, and herbs that are gaining popularity.

Read More
Honeybelle combo

December 27, 2016

19 New Combos for Containers Big and Small

Check out 19 combos and mixes new for the retail marketplace in 2017 that offer something for every container type.

Read More
sun-parasol-original-crimson-web

December 20, 2016

Suntory Launches Unrooted Cuttings Program for Sun Para…

While the domestically produced rooting program for the Sun Parasol will continue, growers who would like to purchase unrooted cuttings will have the opportunity for the Sun Parasol Original varieties and Garden Crimson.

Read More
santos flare

December 20, 2016

Ball Horticultural Expands Potted Plant Offerings With …

Ex-Plant, which specializes in potted plants, will become a part of Ball’s PanAmerican Seed division.

Read More

December 16, 2016

Please Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Poinsettia S…

Are plant sales up or down compared to last year? How did Black Friday set the tone for this season? What varieties and sizes were your best sellers? Did you try anything new this year to appeal to younger consumer demographics? We tackle all of these questions and more to help you understand the trends in Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Poinsettia Survey.

Read More

December 13, 2016

Dümmen Orange Shares Trends And Season-Extending Tips A…

As a purveyor of a wide collection of poinsettia and potted plant genetics, Dümmen Orange offered attendees a look at current trends – and a glimpse into the future – at its annual event in Columbus, OH.

Read More
Lollipop Flaming Hot Melon combo

December 13, 2016

21 New Combos For Spring To Fall Color In 2017

With the flood of new varieties and flower colors coming on the market, there is no end to the combinations and mixes available for hanging baskets and containers.

Read More
all-america-selections-new-website-home-page

December 3, 2016

New Mobile Responsive Website From All-America Selectio…

All-America Selections has launched a newly redesigned and revamped mobile-responsive website that includes a more attractive design, enhanced search tools, and easier and simpler navigation.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More