10 May 2011

Better gardening advice right at the store

The New York Times reported that big box stores are making plant information available to shoppers with cell phones. Here's a excerpt.

"For now, garden plants sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s have bar codes on each plant tag that enable customers with smartphone scanners to check out whether the plant, for example, grows in low light or needs frequent watering.

This is the season when stores sell millions of garden plants, which are an important segment of the business. At Lowe’s, for example, nursery sales, which also include trees and flowers, were 4 percent of the chain’s total $48.8 billion sales in the fiscal year ended Jan. 28.

Whether it’s a piece of pipe or new kitchen cabinets, many Americans search for the right product in the aisles of home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s, trying to quickly identify what they need.

In a Home Depot commercial, a customer scanned a bar code with her smartphone to get information about a plant's preferred growing conditions.
The big-box stores are introducing some help to provide customers with immediate information for their buying decisions. They are adding bar codes to certain products that give potential buyers on-the-spot access to product reviews and ratings, how-to guides and videos.

This will gradually expand across a greater range of products in the thousands of stores across the country as the huge home improvement retailers, which have been hit by the poor economy, seek to prompt consumers to undertake repairs or renovations they have been delaying.

Chris Gerhard, a home gardener and real estate broker in San Antonio, says mobile bar codes have greatly improved her gardening outcomes.

“Those little plastic tags on plants always had minimal information,” she said of her purchases at her local Home Depot. “Now, with the bar codes, you can scan them and figure out immediately what is going to grow in the sun, when to plant and how far apart to place plants.

“That’s great for me because in this climate you can fry things to a crisp, and I have. This helped me know exactly what would work on my front porch and back patio without wasting a lot of time and money.”

Home Depot also has placed codes on its outdoor patio sets and is running a 30-second bar code commercial nationwide on cable and network television. "

Read the entire NYT article at the link above.
Thanks to Garden Design Online for posting this today!
http://www.gardendesignonline.com/gardendesignonline/2011/05/bar-code-for-plant-info.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Fjaneberger%2Fgardendesignonline+%28GardenDesignOnline%29

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