How to help mail order plants survive and thrive

For online nurseries there’s more to keeping your customers happy than mailing plants and crossing your fingers. Sending plants, seeds or cuttings is just the first step. In this article, we share tips for helping your customers nurture their plants, while also nurturing the customer relationship.

Key points

  • Providing useful and clear information about caring for plants is essential in nurturing your customers.
  • Your business website, social media and email newsletter are a great way to communicate useful information on plant care.
  • Consider ways to establish a point of difference that promotes brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Help your customers care for their online plant deliveries

As the pandemic-inspired gardening trend continues into 2022 and beyond, now is the perfect time for online nurseries to think about how you can keep your customers coming back for more. Giving them the information they need to care for their plants - from the moment they’re delivered - is a great place to start. 

Unboxing plants

You’ve done the hard yards packaging up the plants,  so it’s important to inform your customers about the best way to get them out of the box without damaging them. But how do you communicate this information before they open the parcel? Here are some ideas:

  • Under each plant listing on your website, provide details on how to unbox them for best results
  • Include instructions in the confirmation of purchase email or in a follow-up email
  • Link to a blog article on unboxing tips on your home page
  • Put a sticker with instructions on the outside of the parcel

Post-delivery care

This very much depends on the type of plant that’s been delivered, although there are some pretty crucial things your customers need to know. Again, post-delivery care instructions can be communicated on your website or via email, but they’re far more useful to your customers inside the box. The basics to include are:

Indoor or outdoor potted plants

  • Watering instructions
  • Does it need re-potting? If so, what size pot?
  • Type of soil required 
  • Light, no light or filtered light
  • Warm, moderate or cool conditions

Bare rooted plants

  • Does it need to go in soil immediately?
  • If not, how long before planting?
  • If yes, type of soil required
  • Watering instructions
  • Optimum position for growth

Ongoing care

Once your customers have either potted up their plants or put them in the garden, keeping them alive is key to maintaining their passion for gardening. This is where your creativity as a business comes into play, as staying in touch about ongoing care also means potential repeat customers. Below are some strategies for staying in touch:

  • Sign them up to an email newsletter when they purchase the plants
  • Post regular blog articles on your website about caring for different types of plants
  • Send follow-up eDMs, providing contact details or links if they’re having any issues with their plants
  • Use your social media platforms to keep customers updated, including posts about plant care

Building on the gardening boom

The pandemic-inspired spike and subsequent steady growth in the garden industry represents a great opportunity for online plant retailers to build on their customer base and expand their business. So how do you make sure your business stands out from the crowd? The answer is, give your customers that little bit extra. Here’s a few suggestions on how to do just that:

  • Personalise the instructions included in the box
  • Include a postcard with your social media platforms and a discount code or free shipping offer for their next purchase
  • Add in sachets of suitable plant food and instructions on when to use it
  • Send a bonus gift; a cutting, packet of seeds or gift voucherCreate a loyalty program and ask customers to join for exclusive offers and rewards. It makes sense, with 90% of Australians belonging to at least one loyalty program.

Just starting out sending plants in the mail? It’s a booming industry with plenty of opportunities for eCommerce sellers. Go back to basics with our guide on everything you need to know for selling plants online.  

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