Consumer research: Higher margins for growers and retailers

Several years ago we conducted research to find out if the value of a plant could be increased with good marketing and a strong brand promise. With the influx of new and improved bedding plant varieties into the marketplace, we thought there was definitely opportunity to add value and enjoy increased margins by clearly calling out differentiation that resonates with the end consumer.

To find out we created a fictitious plant brand that promoted two brand promises that we thought would clearly differentiate and add value in the eyes of the end consumer. These were #1 in University Testing and Heat Tolerance. With today’s genetic diversity and improved plant trials, both these promises could in fact be identified and claimed.

Would the consumer see the benefit and pay a higher price than the standard selection? Could the grower and retailer benefit?

Research Methodology

The research was conducted at both IGC's and box stores in the DFW area.

Impatiens was chosen for the research since it is one of the best-selling annuals.

Plants were custom grown by our grower partner. The same plants, in the same pots were used for the branded and unbranded products

Tags, display signs, and bench wrap were created to promote the plant brand and points of differentiation (#1 in University Testing and Heat Tolerance) at the point of sale.

The branded product was merchandised at retail next to or in close proximity to the unbranded plants that were marketed with a standard plant tag. Same plants, same pots the only difference was the labeling and signing.

The branded product was priced 20-40% higher than the identical non- branded product.

Key Findings

Overall the branded products outsold the unbranded version of the same product by almost 40%. In addition to this, the branded product carried a significantly higher cost than the unbranded product.

After considering the additional marketing costs, the results proved that the right combination of brand promise, point of sale, and effective pricing did add substantial gross margin dollars to the bottom line for both grower and retailer.

About the author: Bob Schmidtke is a Senior Account Executive at Horticultural Marketing & Printing. He services both horticultural accounts as well as commercial clients. Bob has been with HMP for almost 17 years serving the Mid-West and SE US customers. Prior; Bob has worked in both the retail and wholesale nursery industry. You can reach Bob at

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