As the rush to online continues in the garden retail sector, GrowNation (grownation.co.uk) reports that almost half of sales are made whilst garden centres are closed for the day.
The industry has been slower than other retail sectors to embrace selling online, so many have been left far behind by those with the capability already in place.
Mark Scott, Commercial Manager at Gordale Garden Centre said: “Moving forward, being online is inevitable for the whole industry. With GrowNation’s help, we've been able to get our web-shop off the ground in record time.
"Sales of garden furniture were way beyond expectations from the day we went live. They’ve made the whole experience quick, easy and above all, profitable.”
Online sales have been booming, with online searches for plants and gardening products exploding.
According to Google UK, breakout search terms for the last 90 days include:
Steve Meleka, Managing Director or GrowNation said: “The growth of online selling has been super-charged by lockdown. Online retailers are experiencing unprecedented demand and garden centres should be mindful of this opportunity.
Our offer to garden centres is unique; no up-front costs, no contractual obligation and the fastest site build and implementation in the UK.
"A new web shop can be built within an hour, fully populated with products including detailed product information and images from our partner suppliers.
"With no investment cost and no previous history of selling online, garden centres can be taking orders 24 hours a day. This is the perfect opportunity to future-proof their businesses.”
For Silverwell’s Garden Centre in Arbroath, where Scotland’s lockdown is still in force, their GrowNation web shop has made it possible to continue trading.
Silverwell’s owner, Adam Meldrum said: “We’ve added over 1,500 products to our site now and are doing brisk business. We started by offering local deliveries, but now we’re selling more to customers who want to click and collect.
This is great for us, as it means we can fulfil a lot more orders than before. Once we’re back open, it will allow us to make up for any shortfall in shop sales because of social distancing.”
Since Silverwells began offering click and collect, 54% of customers have requested it. This is set to continue after re-opening as elderly and vulnerable customers seek to continue avoiding physical contact.
On 25th May, the Government announced that all non-essential retail will be allowed to open from June 15th. Some garden centre owners have expressed concern that this will impact the number of customers they'll see as a result. It’s still not completely clear whether recent increased custom was a result of pent-up demand or simply the novelty of having somewhere new to visit during lockdown.
All GrowNation websites are completely free to set up and include:
- The ability to list as many (or as few) products as each retailer wants.
- Secure online payments via credit/debit card.
- Simple, commission based fee with no up-front cost and no lock-in period.
- A unique web address with its own storefront and product range.
- A simple to use retailer dashboard to manage products, orders and customers.
- Payment processing fees included, no more to pay.
Garden centres can now apply for their own web shops - fully populated with detailed product information and images from suppliers including Farplants, Hozelock, Porters Fuchsias/Happy Plants, Bransford Webbs, Lovania, Taylors Bulbs, SBM Life Science (Phostrogen/Baby Bio), Plantworks (Empathy/Rootgrow/After Plant), Vegepod, Daro Cane, IKON, Fallen Fruits and Primus.
GrowNation charges no up-front fees, instead, the business model is completely commission based, with credit card transaction fees absorbed by the company as part of the service. Retailers can get more information or claim their free website at: grownation.co.uk.
The GrowNation (grownation.co.uk) platform is one of a series of marketplaces from ConnectNation Ltd, a company formed to help address some of the unique business challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
ConnectNation was founded by a group of colleagues with specialisms in marketing (including in the horticulture sector), CRM platform design & integration, business analysis, social media management and ecommerce website development.
The company is currently working with the award-winning ecommerce platform and digital marketing company, Visualsoft. Their VSCommerce platform underpins the GrowNation service, making it possible to rapidly deploy websites to allow garden centres to start selling online quickly. See: www.visualsoft.co.uk