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UK: Garden centre customers source plants using latest technology

Gardeners are now more likely to use the latest technology to source plants for their plots before they visit their nearest garden centre but also when they are in-store too.

Cutting edge software innovations and hardware installations are helping boost website visits and plant sales, according to one Norfolk garden centre.

Nick Haydon, who manages Fakenham Garden Centre, said: “We introduced Joy of Plants’ Plant Finder software two years ago and our plant department web page is now one of our most visited, along with the coffee shop and our opening hours sections. Previously it didn’t get much traffic, but now it comes in each month at either second or third after the coffee shop and opening hours, which is fairly significant, as you’d expect those two pages to be top anyway. So, it's performing better than all the other pages.

“As well as using the Plant Finder on our website and buoyed by its success, we also installed, 11 months ago, two freestanding, Joy of Plants’ Plant Finder touchscreen kiosks in our shop and outdoor plant area, labelled up as customer information points. These provide an easy way of giving customers further information about the plants we have on display.

“It also helps staff and customers pick plants for their specific requirements. It’s also useful for our non-plant, in-store experts, as they can stand in front of the screen with customers and clearly talk about each plant as required.

“Customers feel unpressured when looking at plant details, as the screen isn’t all about the hard sell, but instead gives useful and invaluable information to the gardener. Also plant lists can easily be created by customers and sent directly to our plant manager by email, and we have definitely picked some business up here.”

Joy of Plants, which is a plant information company, created the Plant Finder and Touchscreen Kiosk for garden centre’s websites and plant areas, so customers can have an easier and familiar garden centre experience. 

Nick added: “We’ve so far found many benefits of using the plant finder on our website. For example, when a customer phones in with a plant-related question, we ask if they have access to the internet. We then talk through how to find and use the plant finder, highlighting the way each plant is explained in terms of care, features and placement. We also go through how the customer can use the various search functions to find the right plant for them and the space they wish to fill.

“And, if our plant experts are not on hand to answer specific plant questions, our other staff members can use the plant finder to help with customer questions or queries. Our landscaping and design team also use it to design plant schemes for clients’ gardens too, so it has many uses across departments.”

Joy of Plants has created a library of more than 14,300 garden plants and trees and offers a platform of tools to help garden centres, retailers and growers maximise their plant sales.

The company has spent the past 25 years photographing and documenting plants to provide information in many forms including Bed Cards, Apps and Plant Finder technology for websites and its Touchscreen Kiosks.

Terri Jones, Managing Director of Joy of Plants in Twyford, said: “The Plant Finder Touchscreen Kiosk guides customers to the plants a garden centre sells and it’s like having a new team assistant in the plant area ready to answer any plant-related questions.

“The home screen can be personalised to certain plant groups, such as easy-care plants, houseplants or trees for small gardens and there are buttons to quickly find plants by name or criteria to meet a customer’s precise needs.

“People who are time poor can also use the kiosk, as it will save them trying to find a member of staff to help provide plant information.

“As well as customers using the kiosk staff members can also use it to help find answers to plant questions quickly and efficiently.”

Garden centres can also use the Touchscreen Kiosk as a digital advertising tool while the Plant Finder is not in use. Customers can be made aware of seasonal offers, promotions and daily specials. Content can be scheduled any time of the day and kiosks can run targeted campaigns to a single screen or to a network of units across multiple sites.

Joy of Plants has been working with Review Systems Digital Signage Ltd in Preston on the hardware for its Plant Finder Touchscreen Kiosks. The company offers bespoke and off the shelf digital signage solutions to the horticulture industry.

For more information:
Joy of Plants
07717 532 323

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