Money only grows on trees if you are growing those trees to sell.
If you have green fingers and are looking for a potentially lucrative side hustle or even to grow a full-time business, selling plants online might be a good option.
But selling plants online doesn’t come without its challenges. In this post, we’ll explore some of the growing pains online sellers will have to overcome if they want to sell plants online.
10 Growing Pains to Consider When Selling Plants Online
- Inventory: You’ll need to determine the types of plants you want to sell and ensure you have a reliable and diverse inventory. Consider factors like popular plant varieties, seasonal plants, and rare or hard-to-find species. Seasonality and shelf-life is the biggest challenge here. Regardless of how you secure your stock, whether you grow your own or buy it from a supplier, your inventory may have a limited shelf life. Ensuring you have available stock to sell while minimising the impact of excess inventory is a balancing act.
- Plant Quality and Health: Healthy plants not only attract customers but also improve customer satisfaction and minimise returns. On the topic of returns, it will be virtually impossible to resell any returned plants. Therefore, you should prioritise the health and quality of your plants by ensuring they are disease-free, properly potted, and well-nurtured.
- Detailed Descriptions: Provide accurate and detailed descriptions for each plant listing. Include information about size, growth habits, lighting requirements, water needs, and any special care instructions. This helps customers make informed decisions and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings.
- High-Quality Images: High-quality images contribute to the overall impression of professionalism and reliability. Take clear, well-lit, and visually appealing photographs of the plants you are selling. Include multiple angles and close-ups to showcase the plant’s features and condition. If selling seedlings or cuttings, it may be helpful to include images of what the mature plant will look like.
- Packaging and Shipping: This is one of the more challenging aspects of selling plants online. You’ll need to develop a packaging strategy to ensure safe transit for your plants. You’ll need to locate appropriate materials like plant-friendly packaging, secure pots, and cushioning to prevent damage during transportation. You could order some inexpensive plants from other sellers to see what they use and to see which options seem to work best.
- Shipping Restrictions: Familiarise yourself with local and international shipping regulations, as some plants may be subject to restrictions or require permits. Check whether particular plants are prohibited or require special documentation to be shipped to specific regions.
- Pricing and Profitability: Set reasonable and competitive prices for your plants, considering factors such as rarity, size, and demand. Factor in the cost of shipping and packaging materials to ensure profitability without compromising customer value.
- Customer Service: Potential customers will ask a lot of questions. Respond promptly to inquiries, address concerns, and offer guidance on plant care. Consider establishing clear communication channels such as email, phone, or live chat to facilitate customer interaction. You can reduce unnecessary communications by including a FAQ section in your listings.
- Marketing and Promotion: Develop a marketing strategy to increase the visibility of your plant business. Leverage visual social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest to create engaging content and interact with plant enthusiasts. Consider running targeted ads, collaborating with influencers, or offering special promotions to attract customers.
- Reviews and Testimonials: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and testimonials. Positive feedback builds trust and credibility, attracting new customers. Display these reviews prominently on your website or social media platforms.
Selling Plants on eBay
With a ready-made audience of millions of consumers, eBay is a great place to start selling plants online. The speed at which listings can be added to the online marketplace makes it ideal for selling seasonal products. The flexibility of the different listing formats (Buy Now or Auction) also offers an excellent opportunity to test pricing strategies.
As your business grows and you become a more sophisticated seller, eBay offers a variety of promotional tools to make your listings stand out from the crowd, enabling you to sell more. Bespoke eBay design templates also allow online sellers to grow their own online brand, increasing customer recognition and building the trust you need to take your business to the next level.
Selling Plants on Your Own eCommerce Store
Once you have built a solid reputation on eBay, it may be time to transfer some of that business over to your own eCommerce store. Setting up an online store on an eCommerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify enables you to take greater ownership of the customer relationship and benefit from low-cost marketing strategies like email marketing, bringing your cost of sale down.
To learn more about how Frooition works with successful online plant sellers, helping them to grow their businesses on online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon and their own eCommerce stores., check out this recent podcast with Shaun O’Brien, Direct Plants. See how he made the journey from a successful eBay business to adding his own online store.