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Knowledge is Power

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Knowledge is Power

Use the sales info we’ve gathered at retail to confidently plan your future crops. 

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Sales of hundreds of bar coded plants and combinations show real home gardener buying trends.

The future is here, and at Four Star, it’s called bar code tracking.  For two years, five retail garden centers have used our bar codes to track the sales of plants — and the results are amazing!

In 2012, the system only tracked sales in Grande™ containers, but for the 2013 selling season, it was expanded to include all plant varieties, along with combinations, as their own stock-keeping units (SKUs). 

“This is a terrific way to know what is actually selling,” explained Amber Coch, Garden Ready Coordinator.  “We’re tracking monos and combinations by actual sales, which is a huge improvement over previous methods.  This will help growers know exactly what to plan for production next year.”

“The bar code tracking program gives growers, retailers and Four Star solid information about what is taking up space and what is selling on the bench,” added Tom Smith, President.  “Our goal is to help retailers have the right product mix on the bench to help their customers be successful.  No other company does anything like this.”

Some Surprises
in Retail Sales

The participating retail and retail/growing companies track a huge number of sales at multiple locations (as many as 50 market stores for one retailer), Amber Coch said.  They use Four Star’s bar codes for individual varieties, so the information this year is far more detailed than in the past.

“The trends we’re seeing are amazing, and in some cases, very surprising,” she noted. 

One surprise is the strong success of Superbells® Lemon Slice, in a field of other top-selling yellow Superbells:  Yellow Chiffon, Saffron, and Yellow.  “The growing popularity of yellow in this variety was surprising,” she added.  “This is obviously something growers should look at in the future.”

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Bar coding helps growers and retailers understand exactly what monos and hanging basket combinations are selling now, so they can plan better in the future.

 

Another surprise from the bar code sales data was the continuing popularity of certain hanging basket combinations.  “We had feedback that Bermuda Skies, Velvet Skies, and Bahama Beach continue to be popular, and the bar code information supported it,” she explained.  “But we didn’t realize how popular the Candyland combination was with consumers.  It’s a simple combination with three Superbells® — and it was Number 4 in sales.”

The continued popularity of long-time Proven Winners® varieties was also confirmed in the bar code tracking, according to Tom Smith.  “We were surprised and glad to see that Snowstorm® Giant Snowflake® Bacopa, which is one of the earliest Proven Winners varieties, continues to be one of the biggest sellers.

“In fact, the data show that three varieties which have been around a while — Diamond Frost®, Supertunia® Royal Velvet and Snowstorm Giant Snowflake — are still top sellers,” he added.

Plan Ahead with Bar Code Data

“We want to pass this type of information along to growers and retailers to help them be successful,” said Tom Smith.  “Sales at retail happen so quickly.  A retailer can sell out in one day or in two weeks, and realize ‘I could have sold more if I knew.’  This information can help them plan ahead to be prepared.”

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Several garden centers take part in the bar code tracking program, so we get realistic market data.

 

Amber Coch explains how Four Star will release the information.  “We will roll the results out this year, because the information is so important for planning next year.  This will make it easy and allow growers to feel confident in selecting plants that are actually selling well.”

“Growers and retailers can use this data to plan for specific combinations, too,” she noted.  “Now we have statistics that can help people confidently narrow down their selections to get great sellers.  Instead of having 50 different combinations, they might focus on 35 strong selling ones.”

The bar code tracking information will be available to Four Star customers and others later this year.  For more information on how this program operates, contact Amber Coch at 734-654-6420 or ajones@PWfourstar.com.

 


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