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To Brand or Not to Brand

Proven Profits


To Brand or Not to Brand

Selling name-brand plants can be a game-changer for many retailers.  Find out if they’re an ideal fit for your operation.

By Curt Varsogea, Sales Manager

We live in a world of brand-name goods, and many retailers have found great success selling them. Think about it — have you ever shopped for a specific brand-name item, like appliances, cars, cereal, clothing?  We all have!

Garden Ready
Branded plants with SELF-SYMETRICIZE® locking containers keep
rows of greenhouse production or retail displays looking neat,
eye-catching and attractive.

Leading companies invest millions in marketing, advertising, and merchandising – to drive awareness and demand.  And retailers know those dollars help build value in the eyes of potential customers – value that justifies premium prices.  Retailers also like the fact that they can receive higher profit margins when they sell name-brand products.

Some retailers go a step further and merchandise their high-end brands creatively, using signage, shelving, ‘shops’ within their stores, and other ways of setting premium products apart and drawing customers’ attention.  Great examples of these are how Dick’s Sporting Goods groups Nike and Adidas gear in their own sections; Ralph Lauren or Estee Lauder have their own ‘turf’ in department stores; or a grocery store end-cap highlights popular food brands. 

Customers Love Variety

Many retailers carry their own in-house brands in order to offer customers variety and price options. They build in different margins on different products – some higher and some lower.  As consumers, we expect options and price choices.

Five Steps to
Branded Plants Success

If you’re thinking of selling name-brand premium plants, consider carefully how you can best profit from that decision.  The more wisely you merchandise, the more you have the opportunity to profit.  Here are our top recommendations:

1. Don’t change your business model in the first year.  Start modestly, measure success, and plan for larger changes as you grow.

2. Just try it!  Test the same plant in a Proven Winners® branded container and one in your own and see which sells better.  Then, put a Proven Winners® container next to the same generic variety and see which sells better.   Don’t forget to use premium pricing for the Proven Winners® branded containers.

3. Use Proven Winners® branded containers and price accordingly. 

4. Use Proven Winners® P.O.P. creatively, grouping varieties by genera, color, or characteristic.  Use this marketing to draw in customers.

5. Create your own “Store within a store” Proven Winners® destination.  We recommend setting aside an area dedicated to Proven Winners® plants, combinations, fertilizers, soils, and irrigation kits, plus appropriate P.O.P.  Now see how they sell!

So why should it be any different at retail garden centers?  In fact, many garden centers have added name-brand plants like Proven Winners® products, and have been pleasantly surprised at the results.

Common Retailer Questions

Some retailers ask me how their operations would change if they added branded plants to the mix.  I ask them, “What if it changed very much for the better?”  Their questions are often similar, and boil down to these:

1. Will I lose my ‘brand identity’ if I add name-brand plants?
Name-brand plant organizations like Proven Winners® have spent millions of dollars to develop strong customer awareness and demand.  And research has shown that name-brand plants deliver much higher margins than generics and in-house brands. 

Ask why customers prefer your store — is it selection, prices, expertise?  Will any of these reasons change if you add and merchandise a premium line of plants?  Will your business suffer if you attract new customers seeking name-brand plants and expertise?  Will your bottom line grow if you charge higher margins on premium products?

2.  Will I only be perceived as a supplier of the brand and nothing else? 
Many retailers have spent years building a loyal clientele, as well as marketing their own in-house plant brands.  Your store attracts customers for reasons that already exist.  We don’t recommend dropping any existing product lines or services.  Instead, start modestly and introduce a new brand properly — as a new and exciting offering for your customers.  Merchandise it properly, price it properly, then compare how it sells and what margins you get.

3.  My customers may not have confidence in the national brand, but they do in mine.  How do I handle that? 
Our goal is for you, and your customers, to succeed with their plants.  Proven Winners® has dedicated its research to developing the best plants and products available.  If you’ve never tried Proven Winners®, step one is to see for yourself how they perform.  Once your customers see the difference for themselves, they will trust your judgment even more.

Proven Winners
PROVEN WINNERS® plants in branded containers consistently
sell at higher prices, with higher profits for growers and retailers.

If you already sell Proven Winners® plants in your own containers, offer your customers a new option — Proven Winners® branded containers, priced and merchandised at premium.  Then compare your sales and margins. 

4.  How can I be sure my customers want those branded varieties?  I’ve had success selling generics for years.
Big box stores sell premium plants, as well as the same generics typically sold at independent garden centers, because they want to attract more customers.  Have you had requests for different varieties, different brands, or better-performing products?   Maybe it’s time for a change.  Big box stores understand it’s about giving customers options, and that same philosophy can work well for any sized operation. 

Money Plant5.  What if I invest in the national brand and my local big box store undersells me?
We encourage you to visit your local big box stores and see exactly what they’re charging for both generic and branded plants.  You may be surprised.  While prices vary by region, we’ve actually seen Proven Winners® premium annuals at an independent garden center sell for $3.50; and the same plants at a nearby big box store for $4.49.

You compete with big box stores by offering something special in terms of convenience, location, expertise, experience, selection or other factors.  Why not take advantage of those factors and build a stronger customer bond by offering them premium plants developed to help them succeed at gardening?

We welcome your questions and ideas on selling Proven Winners® products at retail.  Our team has many ways to help you introduce these premium products and merchandise them to the max.  For more information, contact or call 734.654.6420.



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