At Cultivate’21, Katie Dubow, president of Garden media group, shared the 2022 Garden Trends: Crisis to Innovation report. As the industry emerges from COVID-19 and heads for a renaissance, customers are responding by spending more money. Retailers can capitalize on the revolution by focusing their efforts on the individual and focusing on customer personalization, she said. Discover the eight trends that can help your business capture customers’ attention and better serve their lifestyle.
1. Creator class
The chaos and upheaval of 2020 created more opportunities for creators as people quit their drab jobs instead of greener pastures and self-interest. These creators have relied on the behaviors and trends of TikTok or Instagram influencers to sell products inspired by their own individuality and their own values, and garden centers should pay special attention to this.
Creators are more likely to start their own micro businesses, and COVID hasn’t changed the fact that many customers want to buy small and give back to the community, she said. Garden centers are ready to partner with these creators by working with local artisans – wall painters, ceramists and more – to boost their local economy. Create pop-up shops or organize courses with these micro-influencers to develop their business and create community links.
2. Shopping animation
As IGCs connected to the Zoom boom of 2020, virtual events “broke the boundaries that limited in-person events,” she said. As a result, garden centers should focus their e-commerce efforts on “Shoppertainment,” where customers can shop online while watching videos online (think Instagram or TikTok). According to Dubow, brands will eventually have a link in their social media handles where shoppers can do so. Encourage your customers to buy directly or virtually from your social media accounts. She also noted that the future will be hybrid and that CIGs should offer in-person and virtual shopping experiences.
3. The experience
People want to reconnect after the 2020 isolation, but there is a fine line between FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and FOGO (Fear Of Going Out), she said. To navigate between these social behaviors, retailers need to focus on INsperience for a better EXperience. This means that front yards can be the new space for entertainment, and garden centers can provide good common ground for allaying anxiety about returning to social life. Think of the front yard as a new room and feature smaller plants, outdoor decor, and dining sets to set the mood.
Show clients how to designate children’s areas and home work areas in their outdoor spaces as well. Items like trampolines, badminton sets, tree houses or large leafy plants provide a fun place for children to play or hide. Privacy hedges, shady trees, and hanging plants can create ideal outdoor workspaces.
4. Bridge the gap
Retailers need to provide new gardeners with an educational foundation that fills their knowledge gap to turn them into lifelong gardeners. Focus on the lowest prices as these new consumers are interested in edible gardening and gardening for stress relief. Provide smaller plants for new owners and residents of apartments or townhouses – these people want to garden and don’t need a lot of space, she said.
COVID-19 gardeners are from the DIY generation, and retailers should offer them organic and natural products, as well as smart accessories or easy-to-grow plants. Narrow down your product line and offer quality over quantity, she said. Use fun and educational videos on TikTok or Instagram, and even experiment with platforms like Reddit or Clubhouse. It is also a good idea to designate a reference person who can answer any questions they might have about plants. Go one step further and create how-to guides embedded in QR codes so they can easily access plant care information. All of these steps will help them become more successful gardeners and keep them coming back.
5. Living television
Bird watching has become a popular pandemic activity, and it shows no signs of slowing down. As this activity has been rediscovered, people have turned to gardening not only for themselves, but for the wildlife around them. This means that more customers are taking care of their gardens and buying native plants. Support these new bird watchers by donating birding equipment, native plant collections and local bird walks.
6. Flowers on demand
Many people have experienced feelings of depression or anxiety as a result of the pandemic, and cut flowers were the perfect way to deliver messages of hope and optimism. Cut flower sales are still booming and garden centers can follow the trend by offering bulbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Purchases of cut flowers have also led to an unexpected increase in plant sales, which offers them the perfect path to ornamental gardening.
Try to promote flower shops in your area and partner with them for classes, events or workshops. Retailers can also invite local flower trucks to come to their stores to create a sense of community.
7. Wild conservation
Conservation should be a priority for the industry, as recent data from conservation biology have shown that more than three times the number of plants in the United States and Canada are becoming extirpated from what had been previously reported. Garden centers can do their part in preventing extinction by bolstering customer sustainability efforts, offering local seeds, and even offering a limited collection of rare houseplants to pique interest.
8. Living color
Dubow noted that by 2022, the color green will be everywhere. Signifying renewal, rebirth and stability, retailers should pay special attention to shades of shamrock. From your floors to decor to accent walls, different shades of green will give your business a touch of energy, she said.