Michelle Simakis
KEN BLAZE

Although individual merchants, including independent garden centers, have been selling plants on Amazon.com for some time now, when the e-commerce giant officially unveiled the Amazon Plants Store in February, it created a buzz within and outside of the horticulture industry. News outlets from Fortune to Mashable reported on the launch; however, the articles didn’t provide many details, including who was selling the plants through the platform, how prices compare to those at brick-and-mortar retailers and how many plants are available through Amazon.

We set out to answer those questions and more as part of our Tech Report. You’ll hear from IGCs and a grower who sell plants on their own websites and through Amazon, and insights from Amazon in an article from frequent contributor and former horticulture professional Jolene Hansen. We also look at the latest capabilities of mobile point-of-sale systems and other devices and offer advice on how to decide if the technology is right for your store. Online reviews are as important as ever, and frequent contributor Brooke Bilyj spoke to experts who share best practices for managing your reputation..

We peppered other technology-focused articles throughout the issue, including an article on how to set up a business page and even sell products directly on Instagram on page 8, and look at new technology for grower-retailers.

New trucking regulations officially rolled out at the end of last year are creating delivery and logistical problems for garden centers across the country. Associate Editor Conner Howard provides more insight on what is driving the changes, how they are being implemented and how retailers can mitigate shipping headaches.

Finally, we share the latest trends in miniature gardening, which may surprise you, and bring you highlights from the California Spring Trials. We were too excited not to include some of the plants we saw at the trials in this issue, but look for more coverage from the event in the June edition.

As I’m writing this column, the weather has finally improved in Cleveland, and it’s beginning to feel like spring. How has the season been for you so far? I’d love to hear what’s going on in your area of the country, and if you’ve had a slow start, I hope sales heat up for you soon.

Michelle Simakis
msimakis@gie.net