How to sell plants online in the age of succulents
Have you ever passed that millennial on the street who can’t decide which plant to bring home? How about the woman sitting on the train with a small, potted cactus? Or the man holding a purple orchid on the crosswalk as he dives into a taxi?
We pass strangers holding flowers almost every day. Selling plants online has not become a fad but the future of business. As living spaces get tighter and tighter with increasingly cramped bedrooms, the need for green to liven up a room is overwhelming. Plus, we can’t argue that succulents offer a pretty good Instagram moment…
Already have a business? We’ll describe some steps you can take to add plant-selling to your current company or how to start selling succulents from scratch.
How do I find the plants to begin?
Option 1: Gro n’ Sell
This plant nursery allows you to place advance orders for a discount and is known for its high-quality starter plants.
Option 2: Grow your own plants
Remember that you may be buying plants when they’re still in the phase of growth, and this can be tricky. If you have a backyard, use it! If you plan to sell plants on a smaller scale, this could be your best option. This choice requires more time and personal land.
Option 3: Buy your plants wholesale
Google your local nurseries and ask for a partnership. This increases future success for both businesses and can be a smart way to grow. By partnering locally you also expand your time to decorate possible plant pots or gardening tools. These could become package deals when your customers purchase your company’s plants. For example, the Tennessee Wholesale Nursery even allows their resellers to use their descriptions or images. Check them out!
Overall—Keep your options open
There are endless plant varieties, prices, and shipping costs. Some plant nurseries vary greatly depending on climate or season. Keep up to date on local plant life in the area you are choosing from. If a nursery changes their inventory many times throughout the year, you may need to have a few nurseries to choose from season to season.
I have my plants—Now how do I sell them?
Option 1: Your own ecommerce site
With this option, you won’t have to stress about fees or other vendor competition. The most important aspect of an ecommerce site is that you have a large enough audience to make a profit. If you already have a website, you’re ahead of the game!
Option 2: Third-party vendor
This includes sites like eBay, Amazon, or Etsy because they reach millions of customers every minute. Think about which third-party vendors fit your audience. Which vendors allow you to sell at higher prices and still make a profit? Of course, don’t limit yourself to one website. But oftentimes when people start selling plants, they find the platform that works best for them and stick with a single vendor. It’s important to note that third-party vendors will all have different shipping restrictions depending on plant species, platform, and region. Check online to see if you need a license for your plant business, as you may need to report the plants you sell to the local government. This is to control invasive species and pests, keeping local flora and fauna safe.
Tip: Amazon currently has Amazon Plants Store to help customers easily browse plants and buy quickly. Only recently has this Amazon feature become widely accessible.
What are some SEO key plant findings?
3000 people search “best plants for shade” every month. The more your SEO is targeting these keywords, the more people will find your website. A great trick is to use Google search ads to efficiently learn what types of searches make the most money. For example, “plant delivery nyc” is very competitive, bringing in a wide variety of sales.
But how do I ship my plants?
After you’ve sorted out bookkeeping and marketing the next step is to find the perfect shipping partner.
Plants are incredibly delicate, especially when it comes to shipping. Not only do you need to protect the plant from damage, but you also need to keep it alive so you need to ship fast.
At ShippyPro we understand every merchant needs so we are able to offer the best shipping solution for a plant-based business.
If you organize your order, and if you manage the track and trace perfectly you will save precious time for you but also for your wonderful plants.
What about payment processing?
The reason why many companies opt-in to use a third-party vendor like Amazon or Etsy is because these companies will do the extra work in payment processing. You may have to provide an extra fee, but your customer orders will be extra secured and you’ll be paid on time.
If you decide to go with your own ecommerce website, apps like Shopify or JotForm will allow you to protect your customer data. Any data you collect from customers must be collected safely, especially addresses and credit card information.
Are accounting classes helpful or not?
If you don’t have a lot of experience running a business, an accounting class specifically for plant-selling can help you decide which plants will make you the most profit.
An accounting class is also a good idea to get an estimate of the plant-selling price range for your specific variety of plants. This way, you can calculate the cost of fertilizer and seeds ahead of time, as well as packaging and shipping costs.
Tip: You may want to start with more low-maintenance plants before you start selling rare and delicate plants. This will give you the opportunity to start off on an easier note and realize possible challenges before committing to more high-maintenance plants.
How do I develop an order management plan?
Two ways to proceed: Taking orders ahead of time or growing a wide variety of plants. Both of these methods offer very different approaches, but both can allow you to see what types of plants customers are after. Look at what your demand is. Set up future organizational plans to have these plants for the next few months ready. How can you ensure you will have December’s plants by June? JotForm also has order forms which you can use to map out what plants are catching customers’ eyes the most.
ShippyPro for your ecommerce shipping strategy
If you’re starting to think about how to sell plants online, then it’s essential that you also think about your ecommerce shipping strategy.
ShippyPro offers an all-in-one solution for ecommerce merchants who want to simplify their shipping strategy and have everything in one place.
ShippyPro integrates with more than 136 Carriers and 64 Sales Channels. It’s a complete shipping hub that offers great features including:
- Label Creator, allowing you to automate the printing of shipping labels in one easy click
- Track & Trace, for sending branded shipping notifications and keeping customers up-to-date on the status of their order
- Easy Return, an all-in-one portal to reduce the headache of dealing with customer returns
- Live Checkout, offering your customers multiple delivery options at checkout including real-time shipping rates and pickup locations
Try ShippyPro for free, with a trial of 30 days at no cost!
From all of us here at ShippyPro, we wish you the best with your plant startup. Let us know how it’s going in the comments. We hope this article allows your business to boom and bloom this spring!