At the recent Mailorder Gardening Association conference, I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by John Kinsella, Managing Director of Terrain at Styer’s, the much-ballyhooed new garden center owned by Urban Oufitters.
I have not visited Terrain, so I have no basis on which to form a personal opinion of it. I’ve heard it touted as brilliant marketing to younger, newbie gardeners, and I’ve heard it panned as overpriced and overmerchandised. Terrain has expanded the traditional garden center and landscaping services to include dozens of events each month, a café, a farmer’s market, custom designed container gardens, delivery services, and much more. The average person spends two hours at the store, and some spend the entire day.
I heard some MGA conference attendees say they didn’t feel that John Kinsella’s presentation was that applicable to their business, but it seems to me they’re missing the point. Terrain is engaging their market every way they can think of, and while the precise methods don’t always translate to a catalog or online business, the same principles hold true. What’s more, John’s talk focused on Top Consumer Garden Trends for 2009, all of which affect catalogers and online merchants:
2. Grow it yourself
3. Blended gardens, edible landscapes
4. Locavores, consuming food grown locally
5. Water wise, water conservation
6. Bringing the garden indoors
7. Information demands to help newbie gardeners
8. Container gardening
9. Global influence in merchandise choices
10. Celebrate the seasons, selling with nostalgia
While your responses to these trends may not be the same as Terrain’s, it’s worth considering what you can do within your own business model. For some time, we’ve all been asking ourselves how to attract younger gardeners, and it seems to me that Terrain is lighting the way. More on this subject in our next post.