CHICAGO — Dr. Charlie Hall, professor and Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, has spent his distinguished career helping green industry businesses be more profitable. Now, he is gearing up to share his vision of the future for independent garden centers during his IGC Show keynote Tuesday, Aug.14, “The Evolution of IGC Retail: How Our Todays Will Affect our Tomorrows.” His is one of three free morning keynotes open to all IGC Show-goers next month.
Hall will explain that, in today’s ultra-competitive and fast-changing retail scene, it is imperative for IGCs to be aware of both historic and current economic trends and market forces to understand how we arrived at where we are today — and to avoid repeating past mistakes.
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For years, every major consulting firm has examined the evolution of the new retail economy. To be sure, Hall says, the retail sector has been, and will continue to be, shaped by housing and development preferences (think “smart cities” and “agrihoods”), alternative distribution methods (think drones and driverless vehicles) and shopping behaviors (“save me time, not just money”). Consumer lifestyles are changing at an accelerating pace. Hall says we must think beyond the typical 3- to 5-year horizon, and forecast the economy and retail environment 10 years from now — especially the strategies brick-and-mortar IGC retailers must make in order to survive and thrive in the ever-evolving marketplace.
The foundational elements of value, relevancy and authenticity will remain the three-pronged rules of successful retailing, Hall will explain, but the messaging in IGCs’ marketing and merchandising programs will likely look markedly different. In addition, future macroeconomic factors underlying the retail economy will be impacted by current monetary and fiscal policies — but will we be better off in a decade? The response to these driving forces will require insightful strategic thinking in the positioning of garden centers’ businesses. But first, he’ll explain, you have to know what to respond to — and that is exactly what this keynote is all about.
Hall specializes in strategic management, market situation/outlook, cost accounting and financial analysis for firms across all green industry sectors. Hall currently serves as chief economist for AmericanHort and co-chair of the advisory council of Seed Your Future. He is the former president of the board of directors for America in Bloom. He is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association (TNLA), and the recipient of TNLA’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Nursery Industry. He is a member of the Hall of Fame and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association.