My last few posts have discussed why learning to market to Gen X and Gen Y is critical, and the three keys to doing so. Today’s topic is Key #2, simplifying the shopping experience.
Bear in mind that most younger buyers approach gardening with a different motivation than the typical older hobbyist. For the younger buyer, gardening is more often a project, not a hobby. Perhaps they’ve recently bought a house and want to get the front yard landscaped. Or perhaps they’re having a party and want to dress up the patio with some container plantings.
Whatever their motivation, they want successful results fast, without spending a lot of time learning what to do. Don’t expect them to spend massive amounts of time researching before they plant, as older buyers often do. If you want to make sales, you need to spoon feed the information they need to be successful.
A beginning gardener is almost guaranteed to be mystified by just about any garden catalog they open. Terms like bare root, determine and indeterminate, even annual and perennial are jibberish – never mind the Latin names! Having plant selections organized in alphabetical order makes matters worse. And for every plant, there are a myriad number of varieties to sort through.
Ian Baldwin put it very well in his speech on this topic at the recent Mailorder Gardening Association conference: The only ones that care about 65 varieties of hosta are deer.
He gave us a beautiful example of helpful merchandising from a Massachusetts garden center, one that may give catalogers food for thought. This nursery’s stock was organized by attributes, with prominent signs such as “These plants have yellow flowers and bloom in the spring.”
So what’s a merchant to do? Here are a few suggestions to start:
- Offer Kits. Sell plants selected to work well together in specific conditions, which greatly simplifies the buying process.
- Highlight Container Gardens. Likewise, pre-planned container gardens makes it easier for buyers to make a decision.
- Quick-Start Guides. Equipment manufacturers have learned that most people won’t read an entire instruction manual, but they will read a page of instructions. Sad but true, garden marketers need to think the same way.
- Use New Media. Consider using project-focused videos, podcasts and webinars to give your buyers the information they need to be successful.
- Watch Your Wording. The innate joy of gardening is not often the appeal for the younger buyer. Instead, focus on the end benefit, such as privacy, shade, or higher property values.
If you don’t think that changes like these are imperative, have a look at What the Future of Gardening Marketing Depends On. Take a peak at current demographics, and you’ll see why the future health of your business may depend on mastering marketing to younger buyers.