As independent garden centers continue to look for ways to boost their bottom line in an age of online shopping, mail-order services continue to become increasingly popular.
The convenience of ordering items off sites like Amazon, Target and others have made it easy for consumers to get the goods they want without leaving their homes or waiting in line. So how can IGCs capitalize on this sector of the business and supplement any lost traffic at their brick and mortar locations?
One mail-order service that is currently thriving with delivering plants to the consumer’s door is Botany Box.
Purchasing is easy and fun
“I wanted an easy way for people to liven up their space and create the perfect indoor oasis,” Khosla said. “I also really want to make plant shopping fun and educate people on the positive benefits and encourage people that anyone can be plant parents.”
Khosla started the succulent mail-order service after launching her Instagram account and receiving lots of feedback from family and friends about the plants she was posting.
“When I created my Instagram account, I was frequently asked by friends and family to help them find the perfect plants or succulents for their home, and ship it to them,” Khosla said. “After building a strong presence on social media, I began to develop a whole business around the idea that I could educate people in cities [specifically] on how they can care for indoor plants. I then began gauging interest for what people would like to receive in a box."
Starting the business was one thing for Khosla but marketing the business to new clients and customers was something entirely different.
“My main means of marketing rely heavily on word-of-mouth, Instagram, Facebook and [email and web] marketing campaigns,” Khosla said. “I would encourage IGC's to really look into marketing resources, PR companies and invest in themselves. I find it really rewarding when I run a marketing campaign, [send a] Mailchimp email, [purchase an] Instagram ad and see my work and money pay off.”
Khosla says the key for IGCs to get started is to talk to their clients, customers and companies they work with and build relationships with them.
“I really think it's all about communicating and collaborating with the public and other businesses, not only does it allow your company to gain exposure, but you're then creating a relationship – which will lead to another, and another and so on,” Khosla said. “I highly recommend talking to everyone, literally – everyone.”
Khosla recommends that when building relationships that you include all aspects of your business.
“Build relationships with people in all fields, ask if they need any help learning about plants, ask what they're looking for,” Khosla said. “I've developed some of my closest and strongest relationships by just reaching out to companies and independent sellers asking to connect further.”
As Khosla and Botany Box continue to thrive, a mail-order service may be just the thing to take your IGC’s sales to the next level.