Back to top

Marketing Methods

Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Vegetable Podcast

Consumer messaging and online sales in response to COVID 19

Articles with lots of ideas and help



Greenhouse Grower


New! Michigan State University Garden center retail survival strategy series

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

Give customers some help or encouragement – especially new gardeners or new vegetable gardeners

Make shopping faster and easier

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?

Holding crops

Application of mulch as a pest management practice

  • Letter explaining scientific background available. Email

Sanitation and hygiene

Printable signage on COVID policies for customers and employees

On-farm deliveries

Dealing with Stress

Other organizations and agencies


Cornell Small Farms

Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture COVID Podcast Series

American Hort Coronavirus Resource Center

National Association of Landscape Professionals

Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) COVID Assistance

New York State Flower Industries

New York State Nursery and Landscape Association