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7-week course on attracting young gardeners

Where did the 18 million new gardeners go?

According to Brands in Blooms, the gardening industry saw an unprecedented surge during the pandemic, with 18 million new gardeners in the United States alone, taking up the hobby as a form of therapy and a means of coping with stress. "However, as the pandemic waned, so did the enthusiasm of these new gardeners. Many young consumers have since disappeared from garden centers, and the industry is grappling with the challenge of retaining this new generation of gardeners."

An aging consumer base and the fear of failure from the next generation
"The gardening industry has long struggled with an aging consumer base, and the influx of younger gardeners during the pandemic provided a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, the industry has not adequately addressed the barriers that deter young people from gardening. One of the primary challenges is the fear of failure. Young gardeners are often hesitant to invest in plants due to the fear of killing them and wasting money.

Moreover, the current layout of garden center websites and in-store displays does little to alleviate these fears. Products are typically organized alphabetically or by genus, which can be overwhelming for new gardeners who may not even know what perennials are, let alone specific plant names. This lack of accessible information and guidance further discourages potential young gardeners."

A new approach: educate and inspire
To attract and retain the next generation of gardeners, the industry needs to shift its focus towards delivering solutions that educate and inspire, states Brands in Blooms. Garden centers could categorize plants based on practical, lifestyle-oriented themes such a Front/Back yard plants, kitchen garden plants, privacy plants, and new and hot plants.

They add: Additionally, grouping plants by customer needs like full sun, full shade, and partial shade can make the selection process less daunting for beginners and this layout will also help educate the garden center staff, which is another major challenge that garden center owners face. This approach will not only make gardening more accessible but also more appealing to young people by aligning with their lifestyles and interests.

Brands in Blooms wants to help win those 18 million gardeners back into independent garden centers, and to that end they've created a 7-week course.

The 7-week course: The 'Next-Gen Consumer Insights Course'
Through the 'Next-Gen Consumer Insights Course' Jeff and Jon seek to help garden center owners, managers, marketing teams, and retail staff understand and connect with the next generation of gardeners. The course covers topics such as consumer behavior, effective marketing strategies, in-store layout optimization, and sales techniques. Brands in Blooms has developed a 7-week course that aims to empower garden centers to attract and retain the next generation of gardeners. This course covers topics such as:

  1. Consumer Research: Understanding the purchasing behaviors and barriers faced by young, non-gardeners.
  2. Powerful Storytelling: Creating emotional connections with customers by placing them at the center of a brand's story.
  3. Effective Website Design: Developing user-friendly, visually appealing websites optimized for search engines.
  4. In-Store Layout Optimization: Strategically placing products, creating clear pathways, and using effective signage.
  5. Content Marketing Strategies: Utilizing blogs, social media, and email newsletters to engage customers with valuable content.
  6. Sales and Upselling Techniques: Offering tailored product suggestions and upselling effectively.
  7. Peer-to-Peer Mentorship: Providing opportunities for garden center staff to discuss challenges and share solutions in a group setting.

The course is a live seven-week course delivered on zoom. Instructors Jeff O'Brien and Jon Morrison deliver an overview of the course in a 20-minute webinar, which can be accessed for free by clicking here.

The path forward
Brands in Blooms believes that by implementing these strategies, garden centers can transform their approach to appeal to younger generations, ensuring the long-term vitality of the gardening industry. The 7-week course seeks to offer a comprehensive framework to help garden centers understand and meet the needs of emerging gardeners, ultimately fostering a new generation of plant enthusiasts who are confident and inspired.

For more details and to join the movement, garden centers can access a free 20-minute webinar overview of the course by clicking here.

"By focusing on education, inspiration, and practical solutions, we can turn the tide and bring back the millions of young gardeners who have the potential to become lifelong enthusiasts," Brands in Blooms concludes.

For more information:
Jeff O'Brien
Brands in Bloom
Email: [email protected]

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