Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Vegetable Podcast
Articles with lots of ideas and help
- A guide for local producers to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak - some of this is aimed at Indiana but lots is general
- Garden Retail Strategies to Sell in the Current Environment - More Bridget Behe ideas
New! Michigan State University Garden center retail survival strategy series
- Marketing and merchandizing
- Thinking through the shopping experience
- Communicating in extraordinary times
What have you heard about other stores (any kind) doing something that makes you feel good about going there?
Here are some that I have heard…
- Having someone at the door sanitizing carts (and they are now free)
- Telling me what the company is doing to protect their workers
- Making it clear where I should pick up
- Telling me when they are likely to be least busy or setting up special times for particular groups to shop (yes, I am that old)
- One way aisles
- Marking 6’ indicators for waiting lines
- Good signage: Are you open? When? Where do you want people to park, enter, pickup?
- And more: A Checklist of Ideas for Retail
Hit as many ways of selling as possible
- Google Facebook Greenhouse COVID or just greenhouse COVID and see what other people are doing and saying to their customers on Facebook
- Make sure there is contact information on social media/signs/ etc. so people can find you (and times you are available)
- Mailing lists – use it if you have it, get one if you don’t.
- Videos! I saw one of people dancing in the greenhouse!
- Put plants outside under tents – especially vegetables – maybe with a big sign – “We can help you with your vegetable garden!”
- Get creative with edible crops in containers
- Promote edible flowers as well as veggies and herbs
- Reach out to that handful of really important customers that every greenhouse retailer has, and consider arranging a personal shopping experience, either as a scheduled private time for them at your greenhouse or remotely walking through with FaceTime etc. and letting them choose while you fill the cart as you go. Or make this a weekly drawing for people coming to your website or social media.
- No-contact sales webinar
- From Ball Buzz! – Remind customers that vegetable (and other) gardening doesn’t end in May!
- Also from Ball Buzz! – Put information on your website and social media (or anything else) in the box when plants are picked up or delivered
- On-line plant education and sales
Advertise your food crop resources – even a picture of your vegetable seed display
Creating an on-line business
- There are lots of resources. This is one I found: How to Start an Online Business in 8 Steps
- Pictures are essential – on websites, etc. - they don’t have to be fancy – we are all hungry for happiness and normalcy and flower/plant pictures help!
- Drive through sales times: for example, Painter's Greenhouse
- On-line ordering: Ramp Up Your Online Ordering for Expanded Delivery or Curb-Side Pickup
- Touchless Transactions: E-commerce Guidance for Rural Business Managers Considering Online Sales (platforms, considerations, etc.)
Give customers some help or encouragement – especially new gardeners or new vegetable gardeners
- Generate ‘kits’, of easy to grow plants for a new wave of horticulture enthusiasts
- Offer online demonstrations or classes, branding your business as top-notch
- Even short daily tips on the website, Facebook, Instagram, at the door
- Victory Garden blog from the National Garden Bureau. This one has graphics on gardening you can put on your website or social media. All posts here.
- Garden Tutor online class (promotes buying their starter kit but you don’t have to).
- Why Gardening is Important to Your Health
- UMass has tips for the month – scroll down to Garden Clippings
Make shopping faster and easier
- Top 7 Mobile Payment Options You Should Provide
- 14 Ways to Accept Mobile Payments
- Wider aisles or more space in front of registers – can you take out some benches?
Since we are being told to shop with a list to make it faster, make it easy to see where things are!
- Overhead signs
- Directional signs when you come in
- Is there a local CSA that would include some of your products with theirs or let you chip in for their home delivery costs to deliver your products?
- Check with your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office. They might also have lists of farms that they could include you on.
- Can you find local growers who want to sell their food products at your store?
- Discounts even in tough times – to health care workers, grocery store check out people, people who have lost their jobs…
- If you have something that you can’t sell because of lack of customers, can you give it away?
- Tips on How to Hold ‘Em
- Tips on Holding Greenhouse Crops
- When Temperature and PGRs Don't Suffice
- New! Maintaining quality of plants in retail spaces
Application of mulch as a pest management practice
- Letter explaining scientific background available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanitation and hygiene
Printable signage on COVID policies for customers and employees
Other organizations and agencies
Cornell Small Farms
- Accessing Federal, State and Local Disaster Resources
- COVID-19 Update on Emergency Resources for Farm Businesses