As garden centers across the United States shut their doors to comply with shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19, Little Prince of Oregon Nursery has launched a new online referral program to help businesses maintain service to customers and offset losses without requiring cash outlay.
Beginning March 26, garden centers can use their social media, email marketing and other digital channels to refer customers to the Little Prince online store — and make 20% of the purchase price on each sale they refer. No web setup, no tech, no inventory management, just an opportunity to continue to get plants to customers and money in the bank. The new program is called Garden Center 911 and is intended to create a low-input income stream for garden centers at a time when revenue is imperative for survival and while face-to-face interactions and transactions are severely limited.
Mark Leichty, Director of Business Development at Little Prince, says, “One of our core beliefs at Little Prince is the best place to buy Little Prince plants is your local garden center. That’s the first message an online shopper sees when they enter our online store, and that will never change.” He continues, “We know that many garden centers have closed temporarily due to COVID-19, and we want to help support those businesses that supported us for so many years.”
About the program, Shaina Froehlich, garden center manager of Froehlich’s Farm and Garden Center in Pennsylvania says, “In a time when the future is unknown, Little Prince of Oregon brings a beacon of light to the independent garden center industry. For the 2020 season, our first day open was also the last day before we were forced to switch our sales to curbside pickups and local deliveries only. Little Prince of Oregon’s Garden Center 911 program gives us the opportunity to create an avenue of revenue, even when our doors are mandated to remain closed.”
How Garden Center 911 Works
• Garden centers complete an online form here.
• Upon approval of documents submitted, each garden center will receive an individualized referral link to www.littleprinceplants.com for digital sharing.
• A garden center shares the link on social media, on their website, email newsletters, YouTube descriptions, and other marketing communications, letting their customers know that they can purchase plants online while still benefitting their local garden center.
• For each order placed through the referral link, the garden center will receive 20% of the purchase price of plants (not including shipping).
It’s that easy!
Why partner with Little Prince of Oregon?
Lloyd Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm, a wholesale nursery in Pennsylvania, says, “Little Prince has fabulous and cool plants, packaged cleverly and marketed for consumer joy, and has also devised a really solid shipping system already in place to go NOW. Their website is easy to use and robust.” Customers can select from nearly 1,000 varieties, including succulents, perennials, ornamental grasses, groundcovers, and more. “This could really be a lifeline to hard-pressed retailers who need to shut the doors for safety and cannot sell now. So many do not have any working solution for online business, and it might be their only option for months,” Traven says. “Even though we are a wholesaler, we will be participating. Why not?”
While participating in Garden Center 911 won’t replace all income lost by garden centers, it offers an easy way to replace some income (in hopes of reopening) and continue to get plants to customers who are clamoring for them right now. And for those garden centers that are open, but focusing on edibles for food-essential positioning, Garden Center 911 allows garden centers to “sell” ornamentals without needing to order, stock, care for and devote resources to them — the best of both worlds.