Online, direct selling (ODS) has become the leading way that people acquire goods, with Amazon (Seattle, WA) being the largest online vendor in the United States. This study sought to determine if horticultural businesses were engaging in ODS with Amazon, ebay, and other websites. Researchers examined the ODS activity of 498 businesses using quantitative content analysis methods, and found that 93 horticultural industry businesses were conducting some form of ODS through their websites, but only four offered products on Amazon. Results indicate that ODS remains an untapped marketplace for the horticultural industry, particularly for small, rural businesses.
This article shares survey results provided by both consumers and growers regarding the University of Florida Biodiversity Certified Plants for the Rapidly Expanding Urban Landscape Market project conducted at the University of Florida (UF). The overall goal of this project was to develop and test a scientifically based, UF-trademarked process for the certification of high-quality, commercially available, wildlife-friendly plants for the green industry. The objectives of two surveys that targeted consumers and growers, respectively, were to assess consumer and grower attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors pertaining to wildlife-friendly plants and a proposed certification. The consumer survey results (n = 868) indicated that respondents (consumers) strongly agreed with purchasing wildlife-friendly plants, and that respondents would benefit from the proposed certification. The certification could help consumers gain a better understanding of which plants are wildlife-friendly at the point of purchase. Nearly half of consumers reported an inability to identify wildlife-friendly plants in the store, which hinders them from purchasing. The grower survey results (n = 75) indicated that respondents were willing to offer biodiversity-certified plants. More growers rated themselves as innovators (the most innovative category) in terms of adopting innovations than any other diffusion of innovations category (early adopter, early majority, later majority, hesitant, or none of these), although the perceived cost of obtaining the certification was seen as a potential barrier toward grower adoption of the certification. These findings indicate that the proposed certification would be successful with appropriate and tailored marketing materials for both growers and consumers.