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Selling Plants to Millennials is Growing Business

What do millennial customers love to do? It’s growing plants. Whether they’re grown outdoors in gardens or planted indoors in containers, plants have become a source of joy and contentment for a new generation of gardeners. The 2018 Garden Trends Report released by the Garden Media Group titled, “Rooted Together” focuses on trends that are shaping our relationship with nature and the impact technology has on our lifestyles and well-being.

While millennials may seem tethered to technology, they also have a sincere desire to connect to
Mother Nature and be rooted in something beyond their immediate self-interests. Some are “New Environmentalists” who spend plenty of time outdoors and are passionate about saving the planet.

Others may be members of the “Indoor Generation” who rarely see the light of day and center their world inside the home in front of a computer screen. They have found a way to bring the natural world indoors by creating peaceful environments that nurture and refresh them daily. As noted in the report, “bringing Mother Nature indoors adds light, life and fresh air to the Indoor Generation.”

In retail, the first step to success is understanding the wants and needs of your customers and then doing what it takes to make them happy. But whatever actions you choose should also make sense for your business and improve the bottom line. Gardening is a national pastime that continues to grow for practical and emotional reasons. According to the 2018 Garden Trends Report:

  • Lawn & Garden sales reached a record-high $47.8 billion at retail
  • Thirty percent of all households bought at least one houseplant last year
  • Average homes spent $503 (this represents a $100 increase over the previous year)
  • 18-34-year-olds make up 29 percent of all gardening households
  • Pinterest searches for indoor plants increased by 90 percent

Millennials are concerned about climate change and how the widespread use of certain chemicals alter our eco-systems. Being informed consumers, they are willing to pay more for products that support their values and those causes that are important to them.

The Rent Generation become Plant Parents
Some apartment dwellers fill their apartments with plants from floor to ceiling to create a space that is warm, intimate and inviting. These millennials are merely in love with plants. An article in the New York Times examines the trend in detail and notes, “Well-minded millennials, especially ones in large urban environments that lack natural greenery, are opting to fill their voids—both decorative and emotional–with houseplants.” Becoming a “plant parent” provides a sense of purpose and a connection to nature.

3 Ways to Grow Your Business

  1. Millennials seek information and thrive on learning new things. Hold workshops on Saturdays or plan an evening event to discuss a variety of “how-to” topics related to plants. You may want to cover organic gardening, planning an outdoor space, decorating with plants, creating a terrarium or centerpiece, or the fundamentals for growing healthy plants. The possibilities are endless. Consider inviting a local florist, landscape architect or a manufacturer rep to discuss products or demo small garden tools.

  2. Become a destination point by selling plants and garden products not typically sold at big box retailers. Do you want to sell organic fertilizers? Edible plants like garden herbs and vegetables? Or, organic seeds and ornamental plants that capture Mother Nature at her finest? Whatever you decide, offer a variety of options to make the shopping experience enjoyable. It’s also a great way to share your expertise and help your customers become better informed about a subject that is near and dear to their hearts.

  3. Make it easy to use a smartphone to make purchases on your website and access information. According to the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of millennials own smartphones. For many, this is the preferred method to buy products and services. Use your website to educate consumers about the plants and organic product assortment your business offers.

    You should also give shoppers the ability to place orders online or how to arrange in-store pickup. If your site is managed by a third-party, they are familiar with using responsive design to optimize the user experience on mobile devices. However, if you check your website on a smartphone and the appearance is less than stellar. You have some work to do.

Home Improvement Retailers can quickly determine if something is a trend that will soon fade or a cultural shift that is shaping our society. The 2018 Garden Trends Report says, “horticulture is essential to solve climate change, biodiversity loss, and urban ecosystem services.” In essence plant life and how we respect nature is at the root of our existence. Millennials have tremendous purchasing power and influence how society thinks and respond to critical issues. They may already be a significant percentage of your customers. The more you understand their affinity for nature, the easier it becomes to get their business and keep it.

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