FRONT LINES
5/1/2020

Online & App Options

Ellen C. Wells

Below are some of the no-contact services that have developed out of our industry’s creativity.

Smart Plant: While the Smart Plant app was in development before the coronavirus crisis, with Millennials being the target user, the tool’s debut gave retailers an early tool to address social distancing. Smart Plant came out of a collaboration between the people behind the Smart Plant Home app and multiple garden retail vendors: distributor Prince Corporation, ecommerce fulfillment company Home and Garden Fulfillment, and The Perfect Plant (technically now a part of Smart Plant Home as it was purchased several months ago).

The app was originally created four years ago as a plant identification tool. The app was enhanced to allow customers to scan bar codes for product information and upload plants to their digital gardens. IGCs in the program receive the data the app gleans from its users about the plants they’re scanning, their likes and dislikes, plant care issues and other patterns. When the virus crisis hit, the group mobilized quickly to help partner retailers by offering online ordering that directs users to the stores for curbside pickup. They soon began partners with a few companies, such as Proven Winners, whose top-selling plants have been pre-populated into the Smart Plant tool. 

No Contact Plant Pickup: From the folks at horticulture industry software company SBI, No Contact Plant Pick Up (nocontactplantpickup.com) lets retailers sign up for an instant online store through which customers can place plant orders. Folks can then order products online via the phone and tablet apps or a computer. Retailers receive notifications of new orders, which they then schedule for pickup. When the consumer arrives at the scheduled time, they’ll just pop the trunk, show a staff member a confirmation email and the customer’s car is then loaded. Besides being a way to sell product via non-contact means and emptying retail benches, it’s a feel-good purchase for the customer, too: half a percent of the customer’s sale goes to the COVID-19 Fund. As of press time, the app was free to retailers and a new enhancement in the service allowed customer orders to trigger drop-shipping of product using just-in-time shipping.

Garden Center 911: With the help of Little Prince of Oregon, garden centers don’t need a tech whiz on staff and don’t even need to stock plants or have customers come to the store. The program works by including an affiliate link to the Little Prince site somewhere on your store’s site or its socials. If a customer follows that link to the Little Prince site and places an order, your store receives 20% of that customer’s purchase price. Even if your store isn’t deemed essential in your location, you can bring in some revenue by promoting this link to your customers. You might even include messaging such as, “We want you to get your plants, even if you don't want or cannot leave your house. Order direct from our grower and we’ll benefit! Here's the link: [SHARE AFFILIATE LINK].” This revenue stream will allow you to get cash in the door with very little effort on you part. Contact littleprinceplants.com to find out how to get involved.

Monrovia & Plantt Online: As we were heading to press, Monrovia announced it purchased the Plantt Online consumer ecommerce store front solution for garden centers. Plantt Online, which will replace its Shop.Monrovia platform, allows consumers to buy in-house inventory at the garden center and specify store pickup or delivery. Plantt Online is built on Magento, an ecommerce solution with the added enhancement of integration with Epicor and NCR Counterpoint point-of-sale systems. It also offers home delivery via Roadie, a third-party delivery partner with real-time order tracking. GP

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