Archive for the 'Garden Industry' Category

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Why mobile marketing is right for the Green Industry

Facebook Native Ad

Throughout the development of Plantola we have spent a considerable amount of time getting “outside the building” and talking to our customer base – garden centers and nurseries.  One insight that we learned early on was a general reluctance to invest heavily in online marketing, especially social media because of the inability to restrict content and advertising to local audiences, and measure the impact on Customer Satisfaction, Store Traffic and Sales.

The garden center owners we spoke with had difficulty understanding the value of reaching an audience that was not within driving distance of their business.  This makes a lot of sense, especially given the low rate of e-commerce adoption across the green industry.  Mobile marketing addresses this problem, and offers a number of distinct advantages over traditional digital marketing channels like email, display and search.

Today’s Internet is mobile

Mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, are quickly replacing computers as the way most people access the internet and web-based services. Case in point, Facebook’s monthly active users. More than half a billion of Facebook’s monthly active users (or 38% of the total) access Facebook solely from their mobile devices. A different study from Forrester Research found that 42 percent of US retailers’ email opens occur on smartphones’ it was at 28 percent in 2013.  Not incorporating mobile marketing into your digital marketing plan means removing a large portion of your target market from your potential audience.

Mobile Ads Get Noticed

Studies have shown that mobile ads on Apps get much higher click-throughs than ads on the mobile Web: 0.58% on apps vs. only 0.23% on the mobile Web.  Not impressed? Consider that the average click-through rate for desktop web ads is in the range of 0.1% to 0.2%.

Mobile Ads Are Local Ads

Few independent business owners can afford to waste their marketing budget communicating with people that will never be customers.  This explains the continued appeal of advertising in local media like newspapers and radio. Thanks in large part to the rise of social media platforms like Facebook, and the demographic data they have amassed about their users, local advertising is increasingly moving online.  Mobile advertising brings geographic targeting from the city to the street corner, and even the store aisle, by leveraging your smartphones location awareness. Mobile advertising is particularly effective when tied together with a customers purchase history. The right offer, at the right time, in the right place.


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The Independent Garden Centre. Where Service Lives.

Garden Centre

There has been a lot of discussion in the garden trade about the challenge independent garden centers (IGCs) have had in today’s hyper-competitive retail environment.  Gone are the days when purchasing plants for your garden meant a trip to your local family owned nursery. Approximately half of the plants gardeners purchase for their gardens are bought from Homedepot, Lowes, Walmart and other national, so-called “Big Box” retailers.

The competitive marketplace, combined with other factors such as the challenges of navigating generational change in family owned businesses, and the dramatic increase in real estate prices in major metropolitan areas, has resulted in the closure of many Independent Garden Centres in recent years. The recent closing of Garden Import, a highly regarded mail-order garden business, suggests that the challenges facing IGCs are not limited to businesses with physical locations.

Not all doom and gloom

Despite these challenges, many Independent Garden Centres are finding ways to adapt, and thrive in today’s retail environment.  In some respects they have faced less upheaval compared to independent retailers in other industries, especially with respect to e-commerce, which has been relatively slow to permeate the “green” industry.  People like to shop online, but it is still hard to ship a 10 foot maple tree across the country, let alone a flat of annuals.

In terms of opportunities, societal changes like the growing appreciation for locally-sourced food, popularity of outdoor rooms and the rise of the “Staycation” have created whole new markets for plants and related products & services.

Service is a Competitive Advantage

Anyone that has spent time interacting with the “Plantsmen” and “Plantswomen” that own and operate the thousands of IGCs across North America (there are 200+ in the Province of Ontario alone) knows how much their character factors into the shopping experience.

Running a garden center is extremely hard work. Like most entrepreneurial pursuits, you really have to love what you do to be successful.  Chances are very high that the people that run your local  garden centre are extremely passionate about plants. When your job is your passion it can’t help but enhance the customer service experience.  Next time you visit your local garden center, make an effort to talk to the staff, you will be glad you did.

About Plantola

Plantola makes it easy to catalog and share your garden with friends and businesses, like your landscaper, or local garden center. Like the look of that tree down the street? Take a picture and share it with your plant guy. Captivated by the rose growing in your friend’s garden? Look it up while you are at the garden center. Plantola lets gardeners spend more time in the garden, and less time looking for plants.  For more information visit

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