Gathering and promoting plants according to their use: a new commercialization approach to reach urban consumers

A.L. Laroche, R. Symoneaux
Ornamental plant consumers are mainly seniors, especially in western countries. Ornamental sector has to deal with urbanization, which reduces the space for private gardens. Moreover, young people often feel unfamiliar with gardening. Reaching new consumers is an important issue for the future of the ornamental sector. Consumers are not only looking for a plant, but also for an experience or a use. The objective of the study was to test marketing strategies based on different uses of plants. Four concepts were developed to answer urban gardener issues. Eight garden centers tested different stage settings during 2 weeks. The stage settings presented the plants by their uses. One of the originalities of the work lies in the fact that the concepts were tested in stores under real conditions of purchase. The concepts were combining plants, a contextualization, and informative elements such as banners and labels. To investigate consumer’s evaluation of the concepts, a questionnaire was submitted in the garden centers and six focus group discussion were organized. Results show that a marketing approach of the plants through their possible uses is an interesting answer to entice urban gardeners. They are very interested in ideas and advice adapted to their context (balconies, easy to grow, etc.). From a communication point of view, the use of banners is complicated since consumers mainly focus on plants when they enter a garden center. On the other hand, they are very interested in the scenarios demonstrating plant uses, the creation of space simulating a place of life (balcony, small terrace, etc.). The presentation of plants in a specific context helps them to project the plants in their own context. Regardless of the initiatives proposed, consumers remain enthusiastic for human advice. They want to trust promises about plant care, but the risk is that advice can be discouraging if it doesn’t work.
Laroche, A.L. and Symoneaux, R. (2023). Gathering and promoting plants according to their use: a new commercialization approach to reach urban consumers. Acta Hortic. 1368, 195-202
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1368.26
merchandising, garden center, plant usage, urban consumers

Acta Horticulturae