Quality No. 1 Reason
"Best quality" is the primary criteria for 51 percent of respondents in choosing IGC retailers for their gardening needs. In a survey conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence for the Garden Writers Association Foundation, IGCs remain the favorite of consumers - with quality of plants and related goods the driving reason. Though the big boxes get their attention with "loss leader" pricing, consumers headed to their local garden centers for the really good stuff!
Women Like Clean!
Guys, women like it clean. Let's face it, too many garden centers have muddy, wet walkways, dusty shelves and pee-stained unisex bathrooms. It's time we, as an industry, give things a good scrub-brush and sweep-up. That's what retail expert Paco Underhill is passionate about! Hear further insights from the author of What Women Want. Join him at this year's IGC Show in Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom for his morning keynote, Thursday, August 18.
Flavor Drives Veg!
Neither bad spring weather nor economic woes have put a dent in the "grow your own" boom. Turns out, growing tomatoes to taste like tomatoes is what drives customers. The often-cited cost savings was actually much further down the list. In focus group research funded by Ball Horticultural Company, it was also uncovered that more than half of all "vegetable gardens" are in pots and containers. Gardeners said they see the veg garden as functional, often putting it out of sight as long as it gets adequate sun.
While IGC retailers continue to debate the merits of Groupon, reports show users of these online offerings are graying. According to Experian Hitwise, for the four week period ending January 29, 2011, the largest concentration of Groupon visitors were users ages 55 and older (37.5 percent). This marks a significant shift away from the 20-somethings we normally think of using such things. Interestingly, Sunday newspapers remain the most popular coupon source.
Satellite Stores Orbit
In mainstream big-store retailing, the big trend is small. Wal-Mart is busy rolling out mini neighborhood stores across the nation. Much smaller than its standard mega-stores, these dwarfs are located closer to established residential areas, often in old remodeled storefronts. IGC retailers have a unique opportunity to expand their local brand to other local areas - especially more urban ones, with smaller versions of their larger mother ship store that appeal to the container gardening crowd.
Diarmuid's Air Garden
Garden Chic's buddy Diarmuid Gavin - the Irish "rock star" garden designer - stole the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show with his airborne "Irish Sky Garden." Inspired by the floating islands of Pandora in the movie Avatar, it featured an elevated pod lifted over the Central London grounds of the show. Diarmuid won his first-ever Gold award at Chelsea for his inspiring, lofty work. Even Queen Elizabeth on her annual inspection trip to the annual garden show took it in and appeared awed!