AmericanHort: Exploring the Future of The Horticulture Industry

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Have You Heard About SHIFT?

 
SHIFT is exploring the changing demographics of our consumers, their expectations, and their mindsets. AND how this impacts the horticulture industry, specifically garden retailers. This pioneering initiative was once known as The Future of Garden Retail. Now, it’s not just about retail anymore – it’s about the future of our industry and how to rise to the challenge of meeting modern and future consumers’ expectations. This research demands of us a shift in our strategies, thinking, and paradigms. It forces us to think and to ask ourselves, “What if we started doing things differently?”
 
The Purpose
When we began asking ourselves “What IF…,” we knew that it demanded answers. These resulting answers are not just to satisfy our own curiosities, but are also a part of our responsibility as the industry’s voice, advocate, and thought-leader.
 
AmericanHort and the Horticulture Research Institute (HRI) have embarked on a multi-year research journey that includes discovering the industry’s true potential and its opportunities to capitalize on what consumers are telling us.
 
The field-research phase began in 2014 in conjunction with the MindMarket program at the world’s oldest design college, the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). This research digs deep into our current business and retail models and how they can effectively evolve.
 
SHIFT is the only initiative of its kind for this industry. For over a year now, the research has been documented, deliberated, dissected, and put back together again in the form of insights and recommendations. Some are no-brainers, while others are a little tougher to swallow. But no one ever said change was easy.
 
The Process
By asking such an open-ended question as “What IF…?” it was important for us to proceed strategically, holistically, and boldly to cover every aspect and angle.
 
The approach to this research is known as design thinking, which identifies and investigates known and ambiguous aspects of a situation to discover hidden opportunities and open alternative paths for solutions. Sound complicated? How’s this:
 
Design thinking is solution-focused exploration. Instead of starting with the problem (the horticulture industry is struggling), it starts with the goal (attracting new and dedicated consumers, re-engaging the old, and taking the shopping experience to a whole new level; solidifying the value of plants and horticulture products and services to consumers and increasing revenues for the whole industry).
 
Design thinking focuses on what is happening, why it’s happening, and then explores simultaneous, holistic options that would achieve the described goal.
 
The Results
The writing on the wall says “Opportunity.” Potential. A chance for greatness. This initiative is happening because the industry provides and contributes to a higher quality of life for today’s and tomorrow’s consumers.
 
Over the next few months and year, you will be seeing the insights and recommendations of this research in several ways:
• Training pieces for you and your employees (brochures, pamphlets, cards)
• Webinars
• Educational sessions at different AmericanHort events
• Signage templates
• Social media strategies
• Articles
• And more…
 
There is significant content to work through and present to the industry. AmericanHort wants to make sure that they present the insights and recommendations to their fullest and clearest potential so that you can turn around and leverage them to your greatest advantage.
 
What’s Next
AmericanHort is setting the stage for these insights and recommendations to be presented to you, the industry, in their finest form. They’re putting together quick-fixes and long-term sustainable solutions. You will see these begin to roll out over the coming months and year, with the first reveal at Cultivate’15, July 11-14 in Columbus, Ohio.
 
SHIFT is the future of retail, the future of our supply chain, and the future of our industry. Get a sneak peek at Cultivate’15.