Consumer Trends Garden Retailers Can Leverage In 2016
Greenhouse Grower RETAILING‘s editors have looked at the various trends from top publications, from Forbes to House Beautiful to Trendwatching. We’ve noticed there are quite a few ideas retailers can glean from these 2016 predictions. Here are our favorites:
A Different Type Of Status
Keeping up with the Joneses has a different twist in 2016, according to TrendWatching.com. It’s not as much about what you own as it is about if you deserve what you own. Instead of using brands to declare your worthines, TrendWatching.com says, you prove through your actions that you are worthy of the brand. One of the “loyalty tests” TrendWatching.com presents is how Lee Jeans challenged fans to test the heat retention of its new jeans in extreme conditions.
That kind of role reversal seems to give brands a bit too much credit, but I think they’re onto something here. At the heart of this trend, brands are calling on consumers to demonstrate how their lifestyles is authentically in line with their core image.
If you take this idea one step further, what I think brands are trying to do is show that they are aligned with what the consumer cares about. It tells consumers that there’s an authentic alignment between the brand and themselves. If a brand can spur consumer activity that allows them to show what they care about, that is a powerful step in building loyalty. And that idea has a lot of potential.
For garden stores, there are a lot of ways to tap into a consumers’ desire for an authentic experience. It can be a more sanctioned version of guerrilla gardening, where participants add beauty to neglected public spaces by planting healthy plants. Or it can be adopting elderly homeowners who love gardening but aren’t able to so as much as they want. Authenticity reveals the inner person and purpose. Luckily for plant sellers, plants have a deeply important inner purpose: renewal and growth.
This retail concept has been popular for years, and is most commonly used by fashion and food brands. But it’s now invading decor.
House Beautiful named these e-clubs as one of the biggest trends for 2016. It highlighted Bouqs.com as an example. For a monthly fee, consumers can have “sustainably grown, artful” bouquets of flowers delivered, along with “ethically sourced” imports.
This idea doesn’t have to be limited to online services. Over the past few years, garden shops have offered more and more at-home services, from refreshing container gardens to decorating at Christmas. Imagine all you can do with a monthly-subscription club. It can be as simple as delivering plants or container gardens along a theme — kitchen herbs intended to be consumed within a month, an orchid of the month, patio plants, living centerpieces, and on and on.
Or it could be a at-home activity, such as monthly garden coaching or hosting a make-and-take container class for your customer and up to 10 of her friends.
This idea gives a different slant to garden clubs, doesn’t it?
Working From Home
Is having a home office a trend or just a fact of modern life?
Either way, many people struggle to create a space that inspires them to their best work performance. During good weather, an outdoor office fits that bill. Consider creating displays that shows how home commuters can realistically set up a workspace on their patios — stock shades designed for laptops (and umbrellas for the entire desk/table), waterproof pouches designed for phones and laptops in case of unexpected rain showers, and plenty of desk plants to offer a shot of serenity. If you need inspiration for how your customers can use their gardens for work, check out sites like PC World, and The Wire.
Pantone Colors of 2016
Pantone announced that a light pink and a light blue will be the colors of 2016. Creating designs around those colors should be easy to achieve, considering how many flower colors could be called rose quartz and serenity (Pantone’s name for the two shades). Check out Greenhouse Grower’s photo gallery about new plants with those two colors.
Blue and White Pottery
House Beautiful also predicts that blue and white Delft ware will be hot in 2016. If so, begin plotting how to cross merchandise any of your blue and white containers with your other goods. Don’t stop with the obvious cobalt blue and white items, bring in contrasting colors like orange and yellow. And remember this trend when buying inventory over the next few years. Eric Cortina, creative director at Roger’s Gardens, once said that even though a trend is over and he is no longer stocking items that reflect that trend, his customers still have those items at home. And so he makes sure he offers products that will tie in to their home decor.
Our Own Predictions
Tap into a deep desire to get back outside. After three years of consumer research through the 10% Project, we’ve learned that everyone, no matter their own personal interest levels, want kids to spend more time outside. There’s a growing alarm about kids being too consumed by electronics and not spending time in nature.
The concern is a natural outcome when you consider how popular locally grown food is and how often the romance of being in nature is used to promote brands. And parents desperately want their children to understand where food comes from and to find some unstructured time to simply play.
Garden retailers are the ideal stores to help parents with this goal. Consider making helping parents unplug their kids a major marketing campaign this year. Create classes, videos and social media campaigns around this concept. You can help can do a great deal to lure kids (and their parents) back outdoors.
Offer an anecdote to election-year burnout. Local plant businesses can offer sanity in what is guaranteed to be an ugly year. Off er your customers a way to truly make a difference in the community. Since you are plugged in so deeply in your town, you can identify what the community needs most — food gardens in poor neighborhoods, fundraisers that allow low-income parents access to free child care or any other community-improvement projects you know is needed. Everyone is already tired of all the anger and outrage being generated by politics. You are uniquely positioned to help your town do something positive