Vol. 7, Issue 3 | September 2015
By Gerdie Olivier
After a surprisingly mild winter, spring arrived in early August. This is the start of our peak trading period for garden centres in South Africa.
Unfortunately with South Africa being a water scarce country, various regions are facing strict water restrictions. For the Central region this is the first water restrictions in 32 years. These restrictions have a big impact on sales but hopefully sufficient rainfall will alleviate the situation. The biggest aim is to educate the customers how to choose the right plants and to use water sparingly.
We hosted our SANA Spring Trade Fair in mid-August and exhibitors showcased a wide variety of plant and nursery supplies making it the perfect one-stop shopping experience to retail nurseries and landscapers. It is the biggest green industry fair in SA and is well supported by the industry.
Colour for spring is still a best seller, leading to good sales in bedding plants, perennials and flowering shrubs. Container plants and ‘Grow your Own’ vegetable gardening is continuing to trend in SA. There is certainly a younger generation of gardeners coming through with wholesome, healthy and natural growing methods being their preference.
Our annual GCA Garden Centre competition evaluations have kicked off on 8 September and we are very excited about this project. Winners will be announced at our Convention that will be held in May 2016.
Life is a Garden, our consumer marketing initiative, is still growing strong. The focus of the current campaign is Social Media and themes are marketed through our extensive media strategy that includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube with our website www.lifeisagarden.co.za being the central information hub. Articles in regional print media support the social media message.
We have also embarked on a Life is a Garden blogger outreach programme. Guest bloggers, who are keen on gardening, have been given a ‘shopping basket’ with various products and have been asked to mention their project and what they are doing in their blogs.
We strive to be relevant and timeous with our communication as keeping members up to date on projects, events and industry issues are extremely important. To achieve this goal, we use e-mail communication, social media and text messages. The SANA Facebook page www.facebook.com/sanurseryassociation remains an important part of our communications strategy giving members daily updates on our activities and projects. This is supported by three different EDM newsletters sent out regularly and our SANA website.
Personal contact with members are maintained by attending regional trade days and organising social events in regions. The management committee has also taken road trips to various regions in South Africa to visit nurseries and connect with members on a more personal basis.
Membership to SANA has grown nicely within the past two months and we are constantly doing membership canvassing to introduce our association to non-members and highlight membership to continue this positive trend.
South African Nursery Association
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