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.
Julie H. Campbell and Benjamin L. Campbell
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.
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.
Benjamin L. Campbell and William Steele
The number of pollinators has been reported to be decreasing for the past several decades. Numerous sources (e.g., climate change, pesticides, loss of habitat) have been noted as potential contributing factors to the decline. With respect to the green industry, the impact of pesticides on pollinator decline and consumer response to this impact is of critical importance. Although no definitive link exists of pesticides being a major contributing factor to pollinator decline, some retailers have banned their suppliers from using certain pesticides. As various sources (e.g., universities, media, activist groups) provide information (both positive, neutral, and negative) about the impact of pesticides on pollinators, no information exists regarding how consumers value such information. Using a sample of Connecticut consumers, this study evaluates how both information source and information type impact a consumer’s decision to purchase pollinator-friendly plants in the future. The study finds that consumers exposed to either neutral (no link between pesticides and pollinator decline) or negative (link between pesticides and pollinator decline) information from universities and major media outlets indicate they will purchase more pollinator-friendly plants compared with the no information (control) treatment. The results show that information from the federal government, nursery/greenhouse industry associations, and environmental activist groups have the same impact on self-reported future pollinator-friendly plant purchasing as the no information group.
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.
Benjamin L. Campbell, Julie H. Campbell, and Joshua P. Berning
Using conjoint analysis and market simulations, the impact of the introduction of certified genetically modified organism (GMO)-free; GMO-free, not certified; and nonlabeled turfgrass was examined for Connecticut consumers. We categorized consumers into five distinct segments according to their preferences. The largest segment consisted of 38% of respondents (multifaceted), whereas the smallest consisted of 8% of respondents (extremely price sensitive). For most consumers GMO labeling was not a major driver for purchasing decisions, accounting for only 11% of purchasing decisions. However, holding all factors constant except GMO labeling and price, 66% of the market preferred a noncertified GMO-free label, with a significant number of consumers willing to pay for the certified GMO-free label. Based on market simulations, the noncertified GMO-free-labeled seed would maximize revenue at a 60% premium whereas the certified GMO-free label maximizes revenue when there is no premium.
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.
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).
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.
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.