Ben Langeveld

1. How important is merchandising and marketing when selling bulbs?
BL: Extremely important! Everything matters: the right varieties, graphics on packaging, placement in the stores to the attention-grabbing POP and signage. A large percentage of bulbs are an impulse buy, so they must be in a highly visible location.

2. What kind of tools or strategies could help retailers sell more bulbs?
BL: We have participated in and sponsored the Dig, Drop, Done campaign (www.digdropdone.com), which gives retailers ideas on how to promote bulb sales as well as cross-merchandising tips. Garden centers that sell the most bulbs are very proactive in advertising and giving customers a reason to stop in. Keeping in touch with your customer base through traditional advertising and social media makes a huge difference. Your customers don’t know what you sell unless you let them know what you have to offer. The slogan “Fall is for planting” is very effective when merchandising or advertising Fall bulbs. Reminding people when to plant may seem unnecessary, until they come in and ask for tulips in April when they are blooming in the neighbor’s yard.

3. I understand that plant preferences vary regionally and depend on zone, but are there any standouts that seem to be popular among your bulb offerings that retailers should know about?

BL: Deer-resistant bulbs have become essential throughout much of the US, and we have expanded our selection to meet that demand. We have seen a large increase in allium sales due to the fact that they perform well in all zones and are deer resistant as well. Our BLENDS OF BEAUTY® bulb collections also have been very popular to take the worry out of figuring out which varieties work well together. Offering great combinations makes it easy for the undecided gardener to buy with confidence. Inspiring customers with new ideas is the key to impulse and additional sales.

4. What solutions do bulbs offer for retailers and gardeners?
BL: For retailers, the timing for selling fall bulbs is perfect in conjunction with fall festivals. Mum and pumpkin season seem to get bigger every year for a large number of our customers and is a perfect way to cross-merchandise bulbs. Planting bulbs in the same hole with mums gives you 2 seasons of enjoyment. For the gardeners, planting bulbs in fall gives you the anticipation and enjoyment of spring’s first color in the yard after a long winter.