Merchandising On Shipping Racks: How Does It Affect Plant Sales, Quality?
When shipping and sometimes even merchandising and selling on racks, growers are now cognizant of keeping plants at a compact size. What’s the effect on consumer success with plants once they leave the retail setting?
A grower panel asked at OFA Short Course’s Town Hall meeting about what a small grower can produce more profitably than a big grower. Here’s how the members of the panel responded:
“Big growers ship on racks and fit in as many as they can. I try to grow things like delphiniums or really big hanging baskets, but I only have to ship from the top of a hill to the bottom. Things that take up a lot of room.”
“It’s never our intention to grow stuff shorter than what the genetics call for or to keep plants down with PGRs. The stores we supply expect as good or better quality than the IGCs. The expectations is not to shrink stuff down to fit on carts, but the smaller the plant, the more profitable it is.”
“One of the biggest complaints in the docks and greenhouses is that we’re shipping products too tight on carts. We’ve got to have carts retail ready when they hit the stores. I agree on growth regulators. We need plants to succeed for gardeners.”
“About 60 percent of what we sell is off the racks. We have to have airflow in there. It’s different than five or 10 years ago. There is more pressure to sell off the rack. It’s become a retail cart.”
“I constantly hear about the ocean of racks. It looks mechanical and industrial. The perception of people in this room is that the material on racks goes downhill quickly on racks. When we ship, material is not on a cart for more than 12 hours.”
“The typical garden center holds 45 to 50 racks. In a typical week, we sell more than 250 racks of product, and we can’t get them all on the tables. Some consumers have the perspective that it’s the fresh milk, what’s just come into the store.”
“I have sold off rack, back in the day when I sold impatiens. In some cases, if you can’t beat them, join them. I can keep them looking good for three days only. Plant material does turn into compost after three days.”
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