GardenSite.co.uk celebrates 18th birthday

GardenSite starting trading in 1999, with the site growing out of a garden centre established in 1952 that realised the internet offered a "great opportunity" to expand the business through online shopping.

Senior partner Robert Hall said: "GardenSite was set up to take advantage of brand new technology (the internet) and we were learning important lessons everyday. We were pioneers and had to quickly acquaint ourselves with the unfamiliar demands of online retailing."
The company says it finds TrustPilot and Reviews.co.uk important gauges of its service.
There are 10,000 products available for sale through the website. 
On top of online marketing, GardenSite take part in donating products to local and nationwide
causes.
Among the latest website improvements including a mobile friendly and user UI overhaul in April
2015, along with improving the website’s security for its users by enforcing SSL Https Encryption in
January 2017. 
Peer companies are those such as internetgardener.co.uk, garden4less.co.uk and Gardening Express. Sector leader is Primrose, with a £36m turnover, with Kybotech, T&M, J Parker and Crocus also big online gardening players.
Gardensite's David Coton said the 65 year old Hall's Garden Centre business in Birmingham gives the online business more credibility with suppliers.
He said: "You can offer more and keep traditional values through a different channel."
Coton said business turnover is 80% online, with overseas trade now increasing thanks to economic changes.
He added: "Garden centres can enhance opportunities and can get growth online by changing their business model slightly." He said aquatics and to lesser extent plants are difficult to buy online but grass seed, chemicals and sundries are seeing decline in garden centre growth, but are selling more online.
"Suppliers working online need to protect their brand. It's easy to deal with anyone online but without overheads it's easy to devalue. Prestige suppliers understand the importance of working with the right people online who often have bricks and mortar stores.
"Rather than ripping the price we look for product with a good USP, not just a cheap shed."
He advised: "Garden centres should use the knowledge of their existing staff. Online customers can't touch and feel but a detasled description and images can mean that is not necessary."
Brands listed at gardensite include Halls, Eden, Forest, Keter, Zest, Grange, Barlow Tyrie, Alexander Rose, Befeater, Napoleon and Kelkay.

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