I’m always amazed at how few gardening companies try to encourage larger orders. You’d think it would be a natural, since plants and seeds are perfect products for bundled combinations. A fair number of companies offer three or six plants at a somewhat reduced price, but that’s about it.
I recently trolled through a variety of gardening catalogs looking for more imaginative offers that encourage larger sales. Here’s a sampling of what I found.
Samplers and Collections. Among companies that make bundled offers, the most common offer is a sampler of several varieties of the same plant, sold at a modest discount. There’s no reason to stop there. There are all kinds of ways to group plants by attributes. For instance, a cut flower mixture, a three-season bloom garden, or a deer-resistant garden. Bluestone Perennials offers a whopping discount on a Perennial Starter Garden for beginning gardens – I can imagine how popular that is!
It’s common to include a plan with such theme gardens, as well as accessories such as plant markers. Burpee’s Designed Herb Garden Collection includes not one, but two plans – one for a sunny corner, the other for a large container garden.
Create Container Gardens. Container gardens have enjoyed tremendous popularity in recent years, but White Flower Farm is one of the few catalogs I’ve seen capitalize on this trend in a big way. A recent catalog devoted 12 pages to a wide variety of container gardens selling for $40 to $75, with the optional pots going for $45 to $260.
Color Combinations. Color is another way to group product offerings. For instance, Burpee offers a Patriotic Mix of red, white and blue petunias. Or combine a selecton of white and silver plants for a moon garden. And Colorblends has built their entire business on combinations of bulbs in complementary colors that bloom at the same time.
Variations on the Quantity Theme. A few companies use pricing to effectively force a larger sale. For example, Bluestone Perennials only sells most of their perennials in groups of three.
Graceful Gardens’ price structure shapes their whole business model. They offer fantastic prices, but only sell trays for $54 each – 8 packs to a tray, 4 perennials or 6 annuals to a pack.
Upsell Everywhere. Of all the catalogs I reviewed, the hands down winner for the greatest number of attempts to increase the average order size was Burpee. Nearly every spread included some kind of bundled offer or upsell suggestion. In many cases, a small portion of the spread was devoted to hard goods like plant supports, compost pails or raised bed systems. Each of those hard goods also received a larger space in a separate “Garden Helpers” section of the catalog.
When times are tough like they are today, boosting your average sale needs to be a prime goal. What’s worked best to increase your average order size?