Online plant buying system aims to help garden centres

The developer of a new online plant-purchasing system hopes it will give independent garden centre operators more control over plant buying and help to reduce administration costs.

Quintus Garden Centre Sales will operate as a "one-stop shop" where plant stock is consolidated from 11 specialist growers and supplied on a one-order, one-invoice, one-delivery basis.

Garden centres will be able to select and buy plants from a range of specialist nurseries which should offer smaller operators better control over stock. Individual lines can be ordered by the shelf, with a minimum order of two trolleys.

The scheme belongs to a new division of Quintus Partnership, a group of growers operating as a commercial service agent.

Development director Stephen Pollington said the service was "much needed" in the industry and will be a "great asset" to the group.

He said the scheme offered convenience through technology and was based on an intuitive online system that let buyers browse plants, view descriptions with pictures and place orders. The technology provides real-time stock levels, fast ordering and calculates quantities and values automatically.

Pollington said the ordering process was faster and simpler and the system also reduced administration time in dispatch.

The database could also help garden centres by giving operators the chance to find specific plants requested by customers.

Quintus Partnership was formed in 1997 by five specialist companies that wanted to combat the squeeze on smaller nurseries caused by multiple retailers.

The system will be available from next month at the company's website,

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