The unsung heroes of the world are plants. They provide beautiful surroundings and therapeutic benefits that keep us happy and healthy. Plants can also fill in the gaps in our social lives when there are events like the COVID-19 pandemic. You can make money selling plants online as more people purchase plants for these reasons.
This guide will explain the basics of starting a plant-selling business. It will be easier for you to follow these steps if you have previous experience in running a business. Even if you don’t have a green thumb or previous experience running a business, you can still be successful as a plant entrepreneur. We have some tips to help you navigate this world of the foliage industry.
How to start an online plant business: 7 steps
1. Choose which plants you want to sell
The botanical world is full of variety, from herbs and spices to seeds and bulbs to outdoor plants and seeds, as well as many other items. When choosing plants to sell, it is important to consider not only your interests, but also what products you have available, how much space you have, and other factors.
- There are many options available for plants that you can sell online.
- Houseplants. Indoor plants include succulents, ferns and spider plants.
You can grow bulbs and seeds. You can think of bulbs, seeds, or other growing materials to help customers start from scratch.
Plant care products. You can think fertilizer, soil and grow lights. These products can be sold together with live plants.
Home decor. You can sell hanging planters, decorative pots and trays separately or together with the plants they hold.
Kits and Terrariums. For building terrariums at your home, you can use a combination of live plants and plant suppliers.
Subscriptions: Why don’t you offer recurring plant deliveries with a particular theme like “seeds of the month” or “seeds of the year”?
2. Get your plants from a reliable source
Two popular methods to locate the plants that you need for customers are available. You can grow your own plants to sell. This is the most time-consuming option. You have the option to grow plants in your own garden, make a greenhouse or rent space on an allotment.
It takes a lot of knowledge to grow plants. Also, you need to think about how you will scale up production as your order volumes increase. You need to ask yourself: Do I have the right conditions and space for growing and caring for plants?
For many sellers, it is easier to source plants from nurseries, greenhouses, professional growers, or suppliers. Visit local greenhouses or visit websites owned by companies. Remember these things when searching for the best plants:
Compare prices. Different suppliers may offer different benefits. Some suppliers have lower minimums for how many plants you can buy. Other companies may offer additional support and consulting.
Look into local growers. Because they don’t spend as much on shipping and packaging, local providers can often offer better deals.
Establish relationships. Your supplier should be a partner in your success. Good relationships with suppliers can lead to long-term better deals.
Be aware of seasonality. You should consider what plants are available at different times of the year from different suppliers. It is possible to need to change suppliers throughout the year.
Multiple suppliers are better. You’ll have serious problems if you only have one supplier. You can get a wider selection of products if you source from multiple suppliers.
Consider dropshipping. Dropshipping is a great option if you are worried about not having enough space for all your stock. Dropshipping companies like House Plant Dropship can store, pack, and ship your products for free. This allows you to save time and money by not having to fulfill orders yourself.
3. Photograph your plants
If you are selling a product that has a lot of aesthetics, such as plants or flowers, product photography is essential to draw people’s attention. Either hire a professional photographer, or go DIY with plant photography. Follow these best practices for product photography regardless of your choice.
Tips for photographing plants
Photograph in natural light. Natural lighting will give your customers a better idea of the plants that you are selling. Filters can lead to unmet customer expectations.
Your smartphone is your best friend. Smartphones today have sharp, high-quality cameras that can capture plant care videos and behind-the scenes images. These photos can also be used on ecommerce websites.
Think about 3D photography. 3D photography will allow your customers to place plants in their homes using AR technology.
Make a lifestyle photo. Place the plant in a natural area such as a bedroom, living or dining room to help your customer visualize how it will look.
Pay attention to the finer points. Take close-up photos to show the plant’s colors and textures.
4. Online plant shop
You will need a website to sell plants online. This will allow you to showcase your products and take orders from customers.
Shopify makes it easy to create a plant store.
Shopify Themes allows you to choose from one of the pre-made themes (Narrative is a great choice for beginners plant sellers), then customize it with your branding and colors.
Shopify offers all the necessary functionality, including marketing tools and payment gateways. You can add apps to your online shop to help you run a business in the plant industry. There are many apps in the Shopify App Store that can be used to make your webstore more user-friendly. Apps for marketing, customer support, dropshipping and other areas are available.
Make sure you include clear images and standard information on your product pages. This space can also be used for education. You can provide useful information such as the ideal pH for growing conditions or plant care tips to engage your audience.
Consider creating collections to organize your products by size, species or other useful categories such as “beginner friendly” or “pet friendly”.
5. Your plant brand
Branding is key to distinguishing your plant store from other online sellers of plants. Your value proposition should reflect your uniqueness. Grounded, an online retailer of plants, has its branding based on the power of plants in bringing mindfulness and peace to daily life. This proposition is sprinkled throughout its marketing copy and website.
Have a brand story to share? It can be shared on your About page, social media and packaging. Let customers see your humble beginnings by sharing your business values and details about any charitable partnerships. To show your knowledge and care for your products, you can also offer educational content.
Do not skip this step.
6. Your plants should be priced
If you are a new company, pricing any product can be challenging, even plants. It is possible to get a good idea of the prices that other businesses charge for similar products by looking at their pricing. Consider the following pricing formula:
- Know your shipping costs, packaging and freight costs
- A small profit margin
- Fixed costs, such as the cost of renting a greenhouse, are addressed
There are many factors that can affect the price of plants. Consider your target customer as an important factor. A rare and desirable plant will attract a higher price from flower enthusiasts or high-end plants. Others may be more willing to purchase lots of the same plant at a lower price.
You should also consider the following:
Seasonality. You can charge a premium if you offer plants that are difficult to find elsewhere. You will need to have a reliable supply network with a wide range of products in order to take advantage of seasonality.
Rarity. Rare plants and seeds can be difficult to find. The best pricing is determined by knowing which plants are in high demand with your target audience.
Market price. The industry standard pricing range. Although your brand may offer high-quality starter plants and seeds, the pricing should be comparable to what customers can find online.
7. Send your plants packaged and shipped
Shipping plants can be complicated because you may be shipping “living things.” This means that you will need to be extra careful. It is important to research the best ways to protect everything, from the leaves and stems, to the seeds.
Make sure you:
Establish rules and regulations. Certain types of soil and organic matter can be transported across borders according to rules. Canada, for example, allows soil imports from the US provided that the documentation is correct. However, it does not allow soil imports from any other country.
Investigate the climate. You may need to hire vans or heat packs to protect your plants from extreme temperatures while they are being transported.
Protect your plant with protection measures. You can protect your plants by taking a variety of steps, including wrapping cardboard around the plant’s base and covering it with bubble wrap. Do not cut corners.
Be careful when choosing a carrier. Express delivery is sometimes the best way to ship plants. Choose carriers that work seven days per week to ensure that your plants don’t go without care or light.
Shipping costs can be reduced wherever possible. You may be able ship plants without soil or other accessories. This can reduce shipping costs and increase the cost of shipping.
Go forth, harvest!
Although plants might not be the most sought-after item online, they can bring in good income if you present the right value proposition. Plants are also known to reduce stress levels and increase productivity. This is a great way to counter the stress of starting a business. There’s never been a better time to plant greens, as more people are interested in becoming parents.