Gardeners are now more likely to use technology to source plants before visiting a garden centre.
Software innovations and hardware installations are helping boost website visits and plant sales. This is according to one Norfolk garden centre.
Nick Haydon, Fakenham Garden Centre, said: “We introduced Joy of Plants’ Plant Finder software two years ago. Our plant department web page is now one of our most visited.
“Before, 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. This is significant, as you’d expect those two pages to be top anyway. So, its performing better than all the other pages.
“We also installed two freestanding, Joy of Plants’ Plant Finder touchscreen kiosks. These are in our shop and outdoor plant area, labelled up as customer information points. These provide an easy way of giving customers information about our plants.
“It also helps staff and customers pick plants for their specific requirements. It’s also useful for our non-plant, in-store experts. They can stand in front of the screen with customers and talk about each plant as required.
“Customers feel no pressure when looking at plant details. The screen isn’t all about the hard sell. Instead, it gives useful and invaluable information to the gardener.
“Also customers can create plant lists and send it to our plant manager by email. We have definitely picked some business up here.”
Finding the right plants
Joy of Plants created the Plant Finder and Touchscreen Kiosk for garden centre’s websites and plant areas. It was 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. 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. We also go through how the customer can use the search functions to find the right plant for them.
“If our plant experts are not on hand to answer questions, our other staff members can use the plant finder to help.
“Our landscaping and design team also use it to design plant schemes for clients’ gardens too. It has many uses across departments.”
Joy of Plants has created a library of more than 14,300 garden plants and trees. It offers a platform of tools to help maximise plant sales.
Terri Jones, MD said: “The Plant Finder Touchscreen Kiosk guides customers to the plants a garden centre sells. 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. There are buttons to find plants by name or criteria to meet a customer’s precise needs.
“People who are time poor can also use the kiosk. 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.”
Garden centres can also use the Touchscreen Kiosk as a digital advertising tool while the Plant Finder is not in use.