New paper highlights importance of embracing technology in the garden industry

Posted On 27 Jan 2013
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THEALE, UK, 27, 2013: QR codes, smart phones, apps, contactless payment, twitter, Facebook – just some of the IT terminology in regular and increasing use. An HTA white paper, ‘How to profit from a connected world’, launched on January 16 at Contact 2013 in Bromsgrove, highlights the importance of embracing technology in the garden industry and the opportunities that it presents.
Caroline Owen, HTA President and chair of the HTA Marketing Committee, adds, “This white paper outlines some of the technologies driving change in our industry. Based on research among consumers and across different industries, this paper explores how these technologies may change the shape of gardening and garden retailing in the coming decade. We want it to provoke ideas and debate about what potential technology holds for invigorating the nation’s favourite pastime.”
‘How to profit from a connected world’ explores how both consumers and staff of garden centres will benefit from websites, QR codes and apps available to them in seconds through the use of a smart phone or tablet. QR codes can be printed on plant related material to provide the consumer with more information and assurance about what they’re considering purchasing. In addition, applications for smart phones are using consumer information to provide tailored tips and reminders for their particular garden.
HTA Market Information Manager, David Denny said, “Smart phone and tablet ownership is increasing rapidly. More use is being made of the potential to help inspire and inform customers about plants through smart technology. Consumers want access to information on the go.”
According to Future Foundation consumer surveys, more than half of our highest garden spending age group (British 45-64 year olds) will own a smart phone by 2014. What’s more a 2012 report published by the Sponge Group1, 42% of Smart phone owners in June 2012 claimed to have used their device to compare prices or look up information on a product in store. So it seems that technology intervention is certainly in demand among consumers and will no doubt be well received by the garden retail staff members who advise over 3 million people a year on how to improve their gardens.
Overall it’s said that the basics of how consumers garden isn’t likely to change in its fundamentals. But with increased use of technology in business and the home, consumers’ expectations of the way plants and garden products are bought and sold will. Garden centres will still be somewhere to indulge the senses, but technology will enrich the store environment.
‘How to profit from a connected world’ suggests a starting point for garden businesses to review how technology can really increase the value our customers get from plants, their gardens, and service. And, based on this, garden businesses can begin to prioritise and apply the technologies effectively as they move into the mobile information and communication age.

HTA’s David Denny and Paul Hogden of IT Genetics launch the HTA IT White Paper at Contact 2013.

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