10 May 2021

Plants: you’ve got hundreds of them in your garden centre. But how do you help your customer to find the ideal plant? And how do you prevent their purchase from ending in disappointment?

In this blog, we’ll cover how to help your online customers find the ideal plant. Because what might be simple to you, is not always easy for your customers!!


1. Shrub, perennial or ground cover

Is a shrub a perennial? It might seem like a weird question, but we often see categories set up like this in the webshop:

  • Shrub
  • Perennial
  • Ground cover
  • Hedge plants
  • Climbing plants

Imagine looking for something to fill my border, which category do I need? Searching for plants is quite complicated if you don’t know what a shrub is, or when you don’t know the difference between a hedge plant and a perennial (I think all hedge plants are perennials by the way).

So what do you need to do to help them?

Always keep the customers’ point of view in mind. They always have a goal in mind for each purchase:

  • Plants for the balcony
  • A hedge instead of a fence
  • An effortless border
  • Flowering plants to enjoy

You can place 1 plant in multiple categories. Hydrangeas can be connected to categories for borders, balconies, and flowering plants. Every customer searches in their own way so this shouldn’t lead to problems.

Start with the problem that the customer wants to solve, and don’t think too literally in the assortment groups that you use in your garden centre.


2. Which plant fits in my garden?

Recent Dutch research by GFK showed that the average customer doesn’t know which plant he’s going to buy when they walk into a garden centre.

On the one hand that’s nice, because you can surprise the customer. On the other hand, it’s a problem as well. When your customer buys a plant that needs shadow but places it on a sunny place then this purchase will eventually be a disappointment and they will blame you for selling plants that die.

How can you prevent this from happening? You can create filters on your webshop to help your customer to find the right plant. Don’t make it too complicated.

One of our customers had the following options when it comes to the location:

  • Full sun
  • Sun
  • Light shadow
  • Sheltered
  • Half shaded
  • Shade
  • Dark

You may understand this one, but it’s hard to understand for the customer. I don’t know the difference between sheltered or shadow, for example. It’s easier to summarise in 3 options:

  • Sun
  • Half shadow
  • shadow

This is easier to understand for everybody and it will help your customer to find the right plant. This garden centre understood this point very well and they are only using these simple filters in their webshop:

You might think that more options are always better, but that’s not the case. It can lead to choice stress for your customer, who will eventually get stuck and leave your website. That’s called the choice paradox on which much research has been done.


3. I like that one!

The struggle to find the right category or type has been ended, so now the customer is going to look at the pictures, but what kind of photos are you showing to them?

Many garden centres show the plants the way they are displayed in the garden centre at the moment. It makes sense, but it’s not that attractive:

If it would be effective to show products without ambience and inspiration, the whole upper floor of IKEA could be closed: so why would that work online?

We prefer pictures of plants on how they will look at home or in the garden. It’s important to mention that a plant is a natural product and that every plant grows and blossoms differently (that’s not the case with the IKEA Billy).

When you do this correctly, you get these inspiring photos in your webshop:

Plant data: how can you arrange this?

We get a lot of questions from the users of our platform who are looking for the right plant information. It’s good to know that we have a database with thousands of plants: shrubs, trees, perennials and indoor plants.

This database contains around 15 characteristics per plant, pictures, and a Google-friendly description. This is an easy and fast way to display professional plant data in your webshop.

Do you want to know how this works? Feel free to contact your account manager or call (+44) 203 475 5541for more information.

Help your customer to find the ideal plant
Edwin Meijer

This article is written by:

Edwin Meijer

Co-founder & CMO

Follow us for more inspiration

Garden Retail Market Update Q1-2023

Download our Garden Retail Market Update!

Read our market data report for benchmarking data about websites, webshops & search trends.
Garden Connect