Garden Center 911

Last week I left you with the thought that it’s no longer business as usual at Little Prince, it’s business better than usual! I’m on several Facebook groups related to horticulture. (Ok, I’m on dozens of groups.) I also follow dozens…ok hundreds of IGC’s Facebook. Last week as garden centers across the country began to close or change sales models to order by phone or curbside, industry professionals and IGC owners began to ask this question: “How quickly and cheaply can IGC’s get set up to sell online?” I can state definitively that it is not fast, cheap or easy to do.  I’ve been involved in setting up two online stores selling plants during my career in horticulture. The logistical challenges are enormous. Garden centers should not think they can do this quickly enough to help their bottom line during the coming  months. There should be a way for a garden center to dial 911!

I’m sure you’re all aware by now that about a year ago, Little Prince launched a new website, www.littleprinceplants.com. We created this online store NOT to take customers from local garden centers, but to help you market our plants at your store. For example, the first message a gardener sees when they land on our website is “THE BEST PLACE TO BUY LITTLE PRINCE PLANTS IS IN YOUR LOCAL GARDEN CENTER” We absolutely believe that’s true! Little Prince is first and foremost a wholesale supplier of great plants. Our online marketing and daily social media posts are great advertising for our plants whether they are on your benches or in our virtual store. If you look at the prices we’re charging in our store, you wont worry that we’re taking business away. We’ve continued to do price comparisons with local garden centers to maintain significant separation between local retail prices and online prices. Garden Centers can also sign up for a wholesale account on our retail site, and you’ll see our wholesale price rather than the retail. You can even place orders online now!

But what about the 911 call? This really is an emergency. Some of you have had to close your doors. Some are doing curbside retail, and some remain open. No matter where you fall in that spectrum, the fact remains that GARDENING HAS NOT BEEN CANCELLED FOR THE 2020 SEASON! Consumers are still looking for plants, and we know you all need a morale boost. Who you gonna call? How about Garden Center 911!

Little Prince is introducing an innovative new program, Garden Center 911, to assist Independent Garden Centers as they deal with the effects of Covid-19, which is affecting every aspect of American life and culture, including horticulture. We hope a new service offered by Little Prince can help offset some of the loss in sales due to Covid-19.

We launched our online retail website in early 2019. Over the past year, we have perfected our shipping method and listed nearly 1000 varieties on our website: www.littleprinceplants.com. In today’s convenience driven world, some people prefer to shop online, and Covid-19 is exacerbating the need for online shopping, including the purchasing of plants. Thus, we are offering a unique solution to help Independent Garden Centers through these difficult times.

Little Prince is creating a link for any garden center who chooses to participate. Once Garden Centers share this link (via social media, email, or on their website) their customers can log on to www.littleprinceplants.com, and any purchases within that garden center specific portal will have  20% of the purchase price of the plants diverted back to the garden center. In other words, Little Prince will pay 20% of the purchase price of the plants, excluding shipping charges, back to the Garden Center. This 20% diversion will be deposited into a PayPal account set up by the Garden Center within 3 weeks. The only reason for this delay is to give some time for return credits, though our return rate is less than 1%.  It’s that simple! All the garden center has to do is invite customers and watch the money come in. You will also have access to what your customers bought, which is useful information when deciding which plants are the best sellers when you re-open your garden center.

On Thursday, March 26th we will send a press release through Upshoot, LLC that will go out to some 5000 media outlets introducing this new program. We hope garden centers all over the US will participate in this program. Who doesn’t like free money, right? We are glad we’re in a position to help ease the pain right now.

If you are still open, we are still delivering plants to garden centers too! Sales have slowed just a bit, but we are still filling lots of wholesale orders. We have closed the nursery to tours and walk through shopping, but you can call us, and we’ll have your plants pulled and waiting. We will get through these difficult times.

TOGETHER WE THRIVE,

Mark

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