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Julie H. Campbell and Benjamin L. Campbell

A survey of Connecticut consumers was used to investigate perceptions of various green industry retailers. Consumer perceptions of independent garden centers (IGC), home improvement centers (HIC), and mass merchandisers (MM) business practices and their perceived value were assessed. Analysis of variance and ordinary least squares regression models were used to analyze the data. Results indicated that customer service, knowledgeable staff, and high-quality plants are important factors when consumers are deciding where to shop. IGCs were ranked highest in perceived customer service, knowledgeable staff, and plant quality, followed by HICs. MMs were ranked lowest for the majority of measured business practices, with the most notable exception being price. Additionally, IGCs, HICs, and MMs are perceived differently across age cohorts.

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Madiha Zaffou and Benjamin L. Campbell

Over the last decade, there has been a move by many consumers to purchase locally grown products. Many studies have focused on food with limited studies examining plants. Using an online survey of Connecticut residents in conjunction with a choice experiment, we examine the impact of various attributes (e.g., local labeling, retail outlet, color, bloom, and price) on preference and willingness to pay (WTP) for azaleas. Results of the latent class model (LCM) indicate that only one of the latent classes, ≈43% of the sample, valued local labeling. Furthermore, the same class that valued local also preferred a nursery/greenhouse outlet over a home improvement center/mass merchandiser. Recommendations for the different retail outlets are given based on the results.

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Benjamin L. Campbell and Charles R. Hall

Data from the 2004 National Nursery Survey conducted by the USDA-CSREES S-1021 Multistate Research Committee (referred to as the Green Industry Research Consortium) were used to evaluate the effect of pricing influences and selling characteristics on total gross firm sales and gross sales of several plant categories (trees, roses, shrubs/azaleas, herbaceous perennials, bedding plants, foliage, and potted flowering plants) for commercial nurseries and greenhouses. As expected, the firm's selling characteristics play a large role in whether a firm sells a specific plant category. Demand factors also play a role in affecting plant category sales with income, population, and race tending to be the only significant variables, except for the potted flowering plants category. In regard to sales, our results show that certain factors affecting pricing decisions play a critical role in both plant category sales and total sales. Furthermore, demand and business characteristics play a limited role as well, but not as big a role as selling characteristics. Of note is that firms with an increased percentage of sales through wholesale channels (of most plant categories and overall) result in increased sales. By understanding the nursery and greenhouse industry environment and how decisions affect overall and categorical sales, firms can implement strategies that capitalize on factors that have the potential to generate increased sales.

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Candace Bartholomew, Benjamin L. Campbell and Victoria Wallace

Pesticide laws focused on school grounds/athletic fields are beginning to take shape around the United States. A body of literature has examined the health implications of pesticides on school children and faculty and staff. However, little research has examined the impact of changing pesticide regulations on grounds/field quality and expenses. Our research indicate that school grounds/field managers have perceived decreased quality after the Connecticut kindergarten to eighth grade pesticide ban went into effect in 2010. Furthermore, we find that educational sessions or increased expenditures on school grounds/fields can increase the probability of maintaining field quality at integrated pest management levels. However, we see that lower income areas are more likely to experience decreased grounds/field quality after the lawn care pesticide ban took effect.

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Bridget K. Behe, Benjamin L. Campbell, Charles R. Hall, Hayk Khachatryan, Jennifer H. Dennis and Chengyan Yue

Some consumers are becoming more interested in and purchasing products that are locally grown and/or ecologically friendly. Market segmentation and product targeting are efficient methods to allocate a firm’s scarce marketing resources to supply heterogeneous markets. This study’s objective was to identify consumer segments, focusing on their gardening purchases, to determine whether there were differences in consumer preferences for provenance and environmental attributes for transplant purchases. Using a consumer survey of U.S. and Canadian consumers, we found that participants who purchased different plant types had distinct preferences for varying environmental attributes and provenances. We profiled nine consumer segments, identifying their plant purchases and preferences for local and sustainably grown products and plant containers. Results provide plant producers and retailers with market segments that can be identified and targeted and provide a basis for customizable marketing communications to enhance profits.

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Bridget K. Behe, Benjamin L. Campbell, Charles R. Hall, Hayk Khachatryan, Jennifer H. Dennis and Chengyan Yue

Information plays a vital role in the purchase decisions of retail lawn and garden consumers. Consumers have readily adopted personal computers and Internet technology as a way of seeking information and/or making purchases online. However, the extent to which horticultural consumers specifically seek information and make purchases online is not well documented. Our interests for this project were driven by an interest in the impact of smartphone ownership and Internet search behavior on product purchasing related to gardening products and items and how search and purchase were similar to (or different from) non-gardening information and products. Given the sharp rise in the use of smartphones and mobile media use, we explored differences among online shoppers, specifically those who had searched online for gardening information with those who were online for other purposes. We found differences between those who had searched online for non-gardening information compared with those who had searched online for gardening information. Women were more likely to search online for both gardening and non-gardening information, but men were more likely to make online gardening purchases. Education level, ethnicity, and geographic location of residence had varying impacts on the likelihood of online search and purchase. Having searched online for non-gardening information increased the likelihood of an online purchase by 16%, whereas the likelihood of purchase increased to 19% for online gardening-related searches.

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Benjamin L. Campbell, Robert G. Nelson, Robert C. Ebel and William A. Dozier

For most grocery stores, external quality standards require that premium mandarins be orange, unblemished, and large. Thus, for consumers to differentiate among the premium mandarins on any dimension other than price, additional positioning attributes must be evaluated. This study considered consumer preferences for price ($2.18/kg, $4.39/kg, or $15.41/kg), packaging (1.36 kg of loose fruit, 1.36-kg bag, 2.27-kg box, or 0.23-kg clamshell with peeled fruit sections), type of mandarin (clementine, satsuma, tangerine), shelf life from the day of purchase (3, 14, or 31 days), and vitamin C content (with or without a label stating high in vitamin C). A conjoint survey was conducted in four grocery stores located in Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala. In total, 289 respondents used a 7-point intention-to-buy scale to rate photographs of 16 product profiles. Six market segments were identified, based on maximal similarity of preferences within each segment and maximal differences between segments. A simulation was conducted of the effect that an introduction of peeled-and-sectioned satsumas would have on the market share and gross revenue of other mandarins. This product showed great potential, but should be offered in a product mix that includes the loose form as well. Labeling for vitamin C was preferred by all segments, but did not contribute much to the intention-to-buy rating. Awareness and recognition of satsumas needs to be addressed in promotional campaigns. The longest shelf life was the first choice of almost half the respondents.

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Benjamin L. Campbell, Isabelle Lesschaeve, Amy J. Bowen, Stephen R. Onufrey and Howard Moskowitz

In recent years, the new trend for local and organic produce has transformed the landscape of fruit and vegetable purchasing. To this effect, “local” and “organic” logos have become the norm in many retail outlets. To examine the effects of different “local” and “organic” logos on Canadian consumers, a consumer survey was used to identify preferences for various external attributes and to identify consumer segments within the buyers of both local and organic purchasers. Our results indicate that the “Foodland Ontario” logo has the largest effect on likelihood of purchase and also increases willingness to pay within the overall sample. Furthermore, there are gender, region, and income differences associated with the likelihood of purchase and willingness to pay given various logos. Through this study, three consumer segments were identified, “Confident in Produce Produced in Ontario,” “In Organic We Trust,” and “Socially Responsible Locavores,” each of which has their own preferences for external characteristics.

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Robert G. Nelson, Benjamin L. Campbell, Robert C. Ebel and William A. Dozier Jr.

This article reviews the results of 5 years of marketing research on Alabama satsumas and makes recommendations for future progress. Although there are only 28 ha of satsuma orchards in production in Alabama at this time, there are a number of encouraging developments that suggest considerable potential for expanding the industry such as microsprinkler freeze protection, new early-maturing and cold-tolerant varieties, contract sales through the Farm-to-School Program, and rising demand for premium mandarins. Prospects for the industry marketing effort are considered from the perspectives of analyzing marketing opportunities, identifying market segments, selecting attractive target markets, designing marketing strategies, planning marketing programs, and managing the continuing marketing effort. A number of distinct consumer segments have been identified, including one that prefers fruit that is still slightly green and another that prefers a longer shelf life. A peeled-and-sectioned product also appears to have considerable market potential. Name recognition is still a problem as is insipid flavor from fruit that is marketed beyond its optimal ripeness. Needs for the future are detailed and include the needs of the commodity (freeze protection and expanded acreage), the needs of the market (consistency and quality), the needs of the product (quality standards and consumer awareness), the need for and the needs of a brand (recognition and equity potential), the needs of an organization (cooperation and leadership), and the needs of the industry (processes for building equity, forestalling competition, reducing supply shocks, and attracting investment).

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Benjamin L. Campbell, Robert G. Nelson, Robert C. Ebel, William A. Dozier, John L. Adrian and Brandon R. Hockema

Satsuma mandarins (Citrus unshiu) have been produced intermittently along the Gulf Coast for over a century. However, very little is known about the market potential for this citrus fruit in today's consumer markets. This study evaluated consumer preferences for seven external attributes over a range of levels: price ($1.07, $2.18, or $4.39/kg), color (green-yellow, yellow-orange, or orange), size (5.08, 6.35, or 7.62 cm in diameter), seediness (0, 3, or 7 seeds), blemishes (0, 1.91, or 3 cm in diameter), production region label (Alabama or U.S.A.), and organic production (yes or no). Consumers from grocery stores in nine cities in Alabama and Georgia were asked to evaluate 20 photographs of various combinations of these attribute levels using a seven-point intention-to-buy scale. 605 useable surveys were collected and a conjoint analysis was conducted to determine the strength of preference for the attribute levels and the relative importance for attributes. Three consumer segments were identified by cluster analysis of strengths of preferences: the no-blemish segment (37% of sample), the price-sensitive segment (23% of sample), and the no-seeds segment (41% of sample). A multinomial logit analysis identified several demographic, socioeconomic, and usage variables as significant determinants of segment membership.