2021 is off and running! Vaccinations are giving us hope for a brighter future but is that going to be enough? I think we can agree that 2020 is over and for many professions it was difficult and many saw a decrease in business. The green profession didn’t have the same outcome. People were forced to stay home which led them to beautify their personal areas. Independent garden centers were leery of their future but when customers showed up they bought everything they could. Landscapers that had employees were able to capitalize on business too! So where does this leave us as we begin 2021?
Think long term
Many homeowners invested in their back yards and made them retreats. Although there will be many people that will go back to traveling a portion will continue to enjoy their backyard pools, gardens, and time with family. Having products that will make them successful with gardening will keep them coming to your door. Remember many of the homeowners are “new” gardeners and don’t know that Spirea and Privet are old and not fun, they only know they grow and take little care.
Homeowners don’t know what homeowners don’t know about gardening. This is your time to encourage your staff to cross-sell products and maximize your average cash sale. Mulch, fertilizer, irrigation, annuals, containers, planting tools are just a few to train on. If landscapers are looking for cross-selling, think plants to go with the hardscapes being installed. A maintenance contract will keep your company in front of the customer.
Selling and cross-selling to your customers will be easy when you have products on the ground. Attending a web meeting this past fall with the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association was eye-opening. They had 4 growers and re-wholesalers speaking about the future of plants. The lack of plants may be only part of the problems retailers and contractors will face. Another problem they will face is finding plants mature enough to satisfy your homeowners that have expendable money.
This is not the year to cut vendors from your lists. You may need to become creative with your plant listings. You as a green professional may look at many plants as old and not showy enough but to a new gardener, those plants that live thru the worst conditions and lack of care will be what they want to take home. Remember, if they have success with the good old standbys they will return and try something a little more risky for a newbie!
The best advice that was given to me from an 80+-year-old gardener, remember everyone is a beginner! If we plan for the new gardeners coming thru the door we can have success with many generations to come. Cross-selling will bring more dollars to your bottom line and help with the success for everyone.
2020 is hindsight (pun intended) so let’s make 2021 the best we can.