Garden centre owners can make more of health benefits of plants says Stein

Working with EcoG in Shanghai, China's first western-style garden centre business, garden industry consultant Neville Stein has become convinced that there are enormous opportunities for garden retailers in cities to promote the health benefits of plants in the environment.

He said: "Many garden retailers do a great job at creating eye catching visual displays, and often promote the individual plant benefits but I have not seen many examples of retailers promoting the generic benefits of the plant category."

Stein said many urban dwellers are living and working in stressful environments and added: "We all know that plants help reduce stress, clean the air, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, create a connection with the natural environment and soften the harshness of urban design yet unfortunately this message isn’t promoted at the point of sale."

"People are still buying plants based on their visual appeal yet imagine how many more plants could be sold if the benefit message was clearer."

Stein recommends:

  • Identifying a young team member who takes responsibility for championing the health benefits of plants
  • Producing point of sale cards with simple health benefit messages and placing these around the plant area
  • Using imagery that reinforces plants as central to a healthy lifestyle
  • Display all the health benefits of plants on your web site

Ultimately though said Stein: "It comes down to enthusiasm. I recently visited the Urban Garden centre in Harlem, New York City and was particularly struck with the enthusiastic young staff member who really loved plants and understood the need for them in a city environment."

He also recommends recruiting staff that have an affinity and enthusiasm for the natural environment: "They don’t have to be brilliant plants people – they can be trained in plant knowledge – but having someone that can communicate their love and joy of the natural world is perhaps more important."

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