The lead up to the Spring 2021 sales and marketing period has been different to 2020 and obviously different to the years prior to 2020. Are you prepared? Included in this article are some sales, marketing and promotional resources, tips and activities to “keep plants moving” this Spring.
The demand for nursery stock from April to December in 2020 exceeded all normal patterns. This was due to the lockdown restrictions caused by COVID-19, and with a large proportion of the Australian workforce working from home, there was an appearance of ‘new and emerging’ gardeners complementing the ‘stalwarts and enthusiasts’.
The Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) / Nursery and Garden Industry (NGI) network worked in unison to keep the production, retail and allied nursery businesses open and able to trade. This included having the nursery industry included on an ‘essential services’ list acknowledged by Federal and State Departments of Agriculture.
During 2021, the COVID lockdown situations have been more sporadic and managed on a State-by-State-by-Territory basis. It appears that this will continue for the foreseeable future and at least into Spring and up to Christmas.
Winter is a typically quieter period of trade for the nursery industry, and it has been advised ‘anecdotally’ that it appears to be quieter than 2019 and years prior to that. Retail nursery businesses are quiet to “ticking” over, but have stock on hand. It has also been advised that production nurseries increased production in 2021, based on the demands in 2020, and have plenty of stock with more coming through the pipeline.
Following are some resources, activities and initiatives to support sales, promotion and marketing activities as we head into Spring.
Plant Pals is the member orientated initiative funded by GIA started in 2020 to support retail businesses during COVID-19. The campaign is supported by the State NGI members of NSW & ACT, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and Garden Centres Association of Australia.
Plant Pals is focussed on establishing a ‘Greenlife Community’ given that greenlife exposure has proven health and wellbeing benefits, so Plant Pals was initiated to ensure new and emerging gardeners have expert advice that will help their plants and garden thrive. Retail nurseries are encouraged to link their customers starting out or wanting to expand to Plant Pals, as it is a space for them to connect with their fellow Australian green thumbs and get creative in their home and backyard.
Grow It Local Festival 2021
Grab your trowel! A three-month celebration of edible gardening is about to kick off.
Grow It Local is a purpose-driven mission to get more people growing, sharing and eating locally grown foods.
With free, live digital workshops from the likes of Costa and Paul West, the 2021 Grow It Local Festival (Sept 1 – Nov 30) is on a mission to save you from lockdown blues AND help you grow a bountiful harvest for your new year's dinner table!
Plant Life Balance is the nursery industry levy funded consumer marketing campaign with many resources, tips and information available to support retailers and consumers. One such resource is the “Ten tips for retail garden centres to deliver Click & Collect”. Plant Life Balance teamed up with nursery industry marketing expert John Stanley to highlight 10 things you can do to improve sales right now. It's comprehensive, it's easy to understand and it can make a significant difference to your business right now.
Promote the fact that you’re offering a Click & Collect service across your website, social media and through on-site signage.
Offer telephone orders as well as online orders. This will not only give your customers the option to use their preferred method, but it means that
if you don’t have an online store you can still take orders over the phone.
Consider setting up an online shop; even if you’re unable to feature all products on your website, upload your best sellers.
Share your plants and products on your social media channels to let customers know what stock you have.
Make sure that you choose a point of collection that allows for good traffic flow, as well as considering the health and safety of all.
Consider having some of your best sellers to decorate your collection point, to upsell to customers upon collection of their orders.
Ensure you have the right ratio of staff at the right times of day. Click and Collect is more labour intensive than regular trading, you need to monitor staff numbers to ensure you’re delivering an efficient service whilst not being over-resourced.
If you do have an online shop, make sure that purchasing items is as simple as possible.
If a customer requires help getting stock into their vehicle, apply a common sense approach and help whilst maintaining social distancing.
Consider having a drive through lane for customers to not have to exit their vehicles.
There are many simple marketing strategies you can employ to offset the challenges of being restricted to contactless ‘Click & Collect’ and delivery trade.
Work through the guide and look for opportunities to implement strategies into your business.