Plants and Gardens as Merchandise

A couple of weeks ago I went to PANTS10 (Penn Atlantic Nursery Trade Show) which is a pretty big show regionally. About a week after that, pictures started surfacing of the IGC (Independent Garden Center) show in Chicago which is a big deal nationally.

I want these shows to be better than they are.  I want them to dazzle me.  It’s time for the green industry to realize that all consumers–wholesale or retail—want an experience, not just merchandise–even if that merchandise is plants.  It’s time to inspire us to buy merchandise to help combat economic uncertainties.

Typical Pile it High Nursery Display

Too many of the displays had no thought or merchandising pizazz–these aren’t big box stores, they’re showcases for merchandise and plants that their purveyors really want and need us to buy.   I realize that much of the audience is garden center owners, contractors and nursery growers, but I firmly believe that even the most die hard, steel toed boot wearing, big pickup truck driving, tree spade buying guy would respond to great merchandising.  Hell Cabela’s, the outdoor sportsman’s paradise, excels at it.

Since I didn’t go to IGC, I only have pictures from PANTS10…here’s some who did it well there…often on a budget.

Still primarily plants…Moon’s simple use of their name punch added to this wholesale nursery’s brand–simple and effective.

Moon Nursery display

Plug trays coupled with photographs and a simple graphic layout from North Creek Nurseries was extremely effective.

Photos and Plug Trays from North Creek

The current trend for vertical gardening was used to great effect to display their annuals by Garden State Growers.

A Wall of Annuals

How do you make bags of soil appealing?  Organic Mechanics underscored their brand’s earthy appeal and commitment to sustainability via their booth.

The Potting Shed

And lastly, a bit of sizzle doesn’t have to be exotic.  Overdevest Nurseries used aluminum trash cans and bins as planters to contrast with an incredible selection of plants.

Aluminum 'planters'

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4 thoughts on “Plants and Gardens as Merchandise

  1. Susan, While I didn’t go to PANTS10 I do recognize some of those booths from last year’s NEGROWS. While I enjoy going to these kinds of industry shows I do remember coming away last year feeling like I hadn’t seen much new or inspiring. In fact I swear many of the booths were the same, and in the same location, as they had been the prior year.

    APLDCT is planning our first trade show booth at the state landscape industry convention in January and we’re struggling with the same concept – how do you engage attendees and get your message across at the same time. How do you set your booth (service) apart from everyone else? It’s not easy but I do believe it will be worth the effort.

    Debbie–We all look to the leaders in our field (no pun intended) for inspiration–what better place than a trade show? Also, has anyone else ever commented on how unfortunate the acronym for New England Grows is?–s

  2. I agree whole heartedly. Also, if the show merchandising can trickle down to the IGC stores and retail outlets. I get bored shopping product also. Garden Rant has a great post on ICG’s. We all got to vent.

    We can’t just depend on the pretty plants to make it sell any more. We need to grow up and get with the program. If mass merchants like Target recognize the value of selling the design sizzle, so should garden retailers and wholesalers.–s

  3. Couldn’t agree with you more….show me some pizazz! Make me stop in my strolling tracks and anxiously fumble for my camera to capture your display. Make the plants work for you…not just sit in front of you.

    Great post!

    Boy you said it…make me stop instead of just walk by.–s

  4. Well said by all. MOON’s both was well put together and an eye catcher. If their plants weren’t enough to make one stop (which in my case, they were), their huge block lettered name jumps out at you.

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