Retailers told to promote green image to boost sales

If garden centre operators could tap into the environmental consumer trend then they were sitting on a "green gold mine", Westland Horticulture head of marketing Keith Nicholson told the GCA's annual conference on Sunday.

He said the environment issue was "here to stay" and would play a vital role in how the industry communicated, educated and grew. Consumer attitudes and expectations were changing and it was imperative the industry took advantage of those.

"The environment is something that should influence your firm's strategy over the next five to 10 years." He added that garden centres were in a great position to take advantage of the change in consumer attitudes.

Other companies recognised the importance of selling a green image - Dell planted a tree for each computer sold, he said. "In garden centres you don't have to buy a computer to plant a tree. We sell them. We make more difference in a day (helping the environment) than EasyJet would in a year," he said.

Operators needed to find products to sell that appealed to the green gardener. The 66 per cent growth in green advertising last year was affecting consumer purchasing decisions.

"So we should be putting the environmental benefits of plants on PoS material and promote what the benefits are. We must take the lead in the matter - not EasyJet or an energy company."

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