COVD-19 led to a massive growth in the horticulture industry. In 2020 alone, it was estimated that Australians spent $2.6 billion and purchased over two billion plants. These increased sales were seen in many other countries, such as the UK.
COVID-19 meant that people were suddenly unable to mix in the way that they were used to, fuelling a massive interest in gardening and horticulture.
As COVID has eased, this growth appears to have continued with sales in garden centres growing a further 10% last year.
As people have returned to work and returned to their normal day to day lives, is this growth likely to continue?
- Research by Plant Life Balance found that the majority of respondents said that they would keep growing their own plants in the future.
- There is an increasing interest in nature, sustainability and the climate, which will hopefully fuel people’s interests in growing their own fruit, vegetables and plants.
However, as people do return to work and their usual daily lives, they may have –
- Less time to garden
- Less inclination to garden
They may also return to more sociable activities and interests, such as going out for meals, going to the pub, meeting friends, going to exercise classes etc, rather than spending time in their own gardens.
We cannot predict
- How much the horticulture industry will grow as people continue their interest in growing their own fruit and veg.
- Whether the growth in the horticulture industry will continue in the future.
However, there are ways that gardening businesses can try to future proof their business.
Let’s look at six ways to enhance a gardening business
Sell Products Online
COVID-19 and the growth of the internet demonstrated the need for online sales in many different industries. The horticulture and gardening industry is no different. People may go to garden centres or gardening shops to buy plants and seeds, but buying online can be so much easier. People may make the effort to go out to the shops, but sometimes they may simply be sitting at home and buy on impulse.
Selling products online enables people to –
- Make impulse decisions
- Make purchases in a more convenient way if they do not wish to go to a garden centre
It is, therefore, a good idea for any gardening business to also offer services online.
This is not possible for everyone. For example, a person offer lawn maintenance services cannot offer to mow someone’s lawn online. But they could potentially offer products for sale online, such as –
- Lawn care books
- Lawn care courses
- Lawn care products
A garden centre might offer products for sale online more easily. For example, selling –
- Gardening books
- Gardening equipment
- Garden furniture
Tours and Talks
Gardening tours and talks can be really popular for many people who are interested in gardening. There are many options available here. It really depends on what you can offer. Some examples –
- Tours of gardens and homes of interest
- Talks about different varieties of plants
- Talks about how to grow particular plants, such as tomatoes
- Talks about how to start gardening
- The list is potentially endless.
Online Tours and Talks
Not everyone wants to go tramping around a garden, but they may want to sit and watch a talk or tour online. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an increase in the number of online tours available. For example, the presenter would walk around an interesting gardening whilst filming and talking about the plants and wildlife there. This could be hosted live or pre-recorded.
The same can apply for talks, such as how to start gardening, growing your own vegetables and so on. A gardening expert can offer live talks or record videos to share with potential customers.
You may choose to charge for these tours and videos.
Or you might offer them free as a way to attract people to your website and the products and services you have on offer.
Providing information can be another way to increase the number of customers coming to your site or store. These may include –
- Writing blogs and articles
- Posting on social media
- Writing information leaflets
- Making information videos, as mentioned above
Some people may choose to monetize these options. For example, a customer may have to pay a subscription to receive a weekly or monthly blog.
They may have to pay to watch the video.
Or you may choose to offer this information for free as a way to, again, attract customers to your website to view your services and products.
Selling eBooks is another way of increasing your income, and the goods available to your customers. Ebooks are electronic books. The number of people buying eBooks is increasing rapidly and it is estimated that 3.6 million people in Australia will be reading eBooks by 2027. This shows a massive potential client base for selling eBooks.
Gardening offers a great deal of potential for eBooks. Writing books about –
- Growing tomatoes
- Growing your own vegetables
- Growing herbs
- Garden irrigation
These are just a few examples, but the number of potential eBooks is virtually limitless.
As a gardener, you could write your own eBooks.
If this is not something you are happy to do, there are other options, such as reselling eBooks from other organisations.
ACS Distance Education has over 80 eBooks currently available with many in horticulture. If you are interested in reselling our ebooks, please get in touch.
Selling gardening courses is another option.
There are many options here also. From small, short courses through to more detailed ones. Let’s look at some potential ideas for face to face courses -
- Selling short courses in gardening techniques. For example, you might run a morning course showing people how to prune trees.
- You might offer a string of courses. For example, an evening a week for ten weeks showing people how to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
- You might choose more detailed courses, such as permaculture design or garden design courses.
Courses do not have to be face to face though, another option is online courses –
- As we mentioned above, gardeners might do tours or talks about gardening. These can easily be turned into short, one off online courses. Or a series of talks building to a course.
- You might also sell courses via e-learning or online learning.
- Another option is to set up your own online gardening school.
Not sure where to start ?
If you are not sure about writing and developing your own courses, we can help. We have over 700 distance learning courses. Read more ABOUT US
Not sure What Online Study or E-Learning Really is ? Read the below blogs to help you out :
We were established in 1979 and our very first course was in HORTICULTURE . We have come on in leaps and bounds since then. We have a great deal of knowledge and experience in teaching horticulture, but also in designing and offering online courses.