by Jeroen Pertijs___
As a grower of garden plants you should ask yourself this question every year. Use your customers to answer this question. To determine your assortment, make the following considerations:
- Who are my customers?
- Who are the customers of my customers?
- Who could become my new customers based on my current assortment?
- What varieties do I prefer to grow?
"Look at your assortment with different points of view" ____________© Jeroen Pertijs - Pertop Plants - 20171024
Your customers: “The people who are willing to give you their money in exchange for your product.” Why do they do that? Most garden plant growers sell their plants B2B (to garden centres, export traders, etcetera). Those business owners have goals themselves too. Their main goal with your product is to sell it to the right customer for the best price. Always remember this. Probably, it’s the same purpose as you’re having with selling your plants.
Your customers’ customers
You will have to find out who your customers’ customers are. By knowing what they love, what their purpose with your product is, where they’re located, etcetera, you can serve your customers with the plants they need.
For example, most of your customers are garden centres located in the big cities of the Scandinavian countries and you know that most of their customers are people who are living in appartments and small townhomes. Conclusion: your customers’ customers are looking for small, hardy shrub standards in a proper container. A 60cm Dogwood standard in C7,5 for instance. They’re not looking for a big mature olive tree in a 300 Litre container, to place on their balcony.
Based on this knowledge, you can choose the right varieties to grow and offer to your customers.
During your career as a garden plant grower you are always looking for new opportunities and expanding your customer list. If you gained new leads last year, try to figure out what part of your assortment is interesting for these leads. By analysing this, you’ll often find out that these leads are interested in the same varieties as your current customers, (maybe they are just looking for other sizes and qualities. More about this in chapter 3). Nevertheless, this isn’t a negative situation. More leads for particular plant varieties means you could expand your numbers and become a real specialist on these varieties. And as the business-experts say: Specialism and expertise will pay off eventually.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “What if we think the other way round? How can I find and generate more leads with my current assortment?” That’s an important question we all have in our business. My answer to this is: “Use social media to find out who are loving your plants”. If you’d like to know how I determine my direction for gathering more leads, please subscribe to this blog and receive this Bonus Material by e-mail.
Please don’t determine your assortment only based on sales history and requests from leads. Don’t forget why you started your garden plant business; Your Passion! Your passion is the fundamental part of your business and your success. So if you’re excited about a particular variety, but nobody asks for it, don’t throw it away immediately. Let the world know why this variety is so special, what you love about it and why everybody else on the planet deserves to own this particular plant. Your efforts determine your success and your efforts are fuelled with your passion, just remember that!
On the other hand, if you and nobody within your team love to work with a particular variety, stop cultivating it. Unless your business depends on it, of course
If working with a particular variety is demotivating for your and / or your colleagues it’s not contributing to your main goal: Expanding your business. So be brave and just erase it from your assortment list!
Your assortment for next year(s)
So to determine your assortment for the next year(s) figure out what your customers buy most, what your customers’ customers and prospects need – based on their location, their purpose with your product and what they love most (see Bonus Material) – and what varieties your love to grow yourself.
Cut off all varieties from your list that just don’t sell, that don’t match the needs of your (customers’) customers and which are demotivating for you and your nursery team.
By properly determining your assortment for the coming year(s) you completed the first step of the buying cycle you are going through.
In the following chapter we discuss “Customer-oriented renewal of your assortment.”
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