Consumer engagement experts featured at 2019 Greenhouse Growers Expo

Industry experts share insights on sales, merchandising and social media success.

Flowers inside a nursery
Staying connected with your customers is one way to keep them coming back again and again. Photo by Jeremy Jubenville, MSU Extension.

We all love plants. If we didn't, we probably wouldn't be in this business. Is there anything more thrilling than planting seeds and watching the first tiny green shoots emerge from the soil? We nurture and shape these tiny plants into beautiful works of art and then share that beauty with the rest of the world. In so many ways, operating a retail garden center can be an immensely gratifying endeavor. Wouldn't it be great to make a profit at the same time?

We certainly think so.

If retail garden center sales are a part of your business, you will not want to miss the sales, merchandising and marketing education track at the 2019 Greenhouse Growers Expo, Dec. 10-12 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The retail world is constantly changing and keeping up with it can be a tremendous challenge. The Michigan State University Extension floriculture team has put together a spectacular six-session track with research-based insights from industry experts to help you cut through all the noise and focus your efforts on what is most important: consumer engagement.

Featured speakers

Bridget Behe is a highly acclaimed speaker, researcher and MSU professor who focuses on horticultural marketing. During her two seminars at this year’s Expo, “Art and Science of Pricing” and “The Shopper’s Journey,” she will discuss the nuances of retail pricing as well as her innovative research using eye-tracking technology to gain understanding of consumer choices in the retail garden center.

Ariana Torres is an assistant professor in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. She is known for her insight into online business marketing through social media and other online advertising approaches. Her two seminars, “Ten Social Media Best Practices to Win More Customers” and “Online Retail Marketing: Seven Approaches to Boost Sales,” will focus on digital communication strategies that can help build brand awareness, attract new customers and maintain engagement with current customers.

Kari Mazzaferro works in the live goods division at Scotts Miracle-Gro where she helps develop creative container combinations using edible and ornamental plants. Come listen to her presentation, “Contemporary Containers: Combining Function and Fab,” where she’ll share the insights gained from working with plant species that don't always play nice in the same container.

Daedre McGrath is the manager of the Annual Trial Gardens at MSU. She directs the entire trialing process for hundreds of new varieties of annuals, perennials and vegetables and evaluates their landscape performance under typical mid-Michigan climatic conditions. Heidi Lindberg is the greenhouse and nursery Extension educator for west Michigan. She’ll highlight some of the plant selections that stood out to her during the 2019 Michigan Garden Plant Tour. Come see the best new plants on the market at “Best Performing Annuals and Perennials.”

For a quick overview, check out the MSU Extension Floriculture website for the entire Greenhouse Growers Expo schedule at a glance. Interested in attending? Online registration is now open! Attendees and exhibitors can find the full session schedule, registration, lodging and trade show information at the Great Lakes Expo website.


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