Oki printers give green-fingered professional touch
With a new generation of gardeners with limited horticultural experience keen to join in the latest trend, excellent plant information and a high quality picture of the plant in bloom play an important role at garden centres and nurseries throughout the UK.
For both Newhall Garden Centre and plant grower Winrow Nurseries, the combination of Greenfield Software and Oki digital LED printers is producing excellent colour labels, with pictures, detailed plant information and barcodes, an investment that both companies believe is key to boosting sales in an increasingly professional marketplace
Whether it is the Alan Titchmarsh effect or a succession of hot summers, the UK is in the grip of a gardening frenzy. According to a report on the leading companies in the commercial horticultural and garden centre industry, sales increased by 32.7 percent during the three years to June 2002.
The result has been a growth in garden centres, nurseries and professional growers creating increased competition alongside market growth. As Mike Isherwood, owner of Newhall Garden Centre in Essex says, "Garden centres really need to be extremely professional these days."
They also need to provide the new generation of gardeners with excellent information about plants, and associated products. High quality pictures of plants in bloom, supported by excellent, detailed plant care and growth information are critical for customer service and differentiation.
Says Simon Stock, sales manager of Winrow Nurseries, "The information on the label is very important for the customer, especially the new generation of television gardener who is keen but has limited horticultural knowledge. The plant on sale may not yet have flowered, so a picture of it in bloom is very important in achieving the sale."
However, few companies want to invest up front in stocks of pre-manufactured labels over which they have no content control. Both Newhall Garden Centre and Winrow Nurseries have turned to Greenfield Software and Oki colour LED printers to provide improved plant information to customers. Using the solution companies can print self-tie, self adhesive stickers, bed cards, stick-ins and banners as required and on demand.
Explains Winrow's Stock, "As plant growers we create different labels for each of our nursery customers. Using Greenfield's HLS software we can create a label that includes a picture - taken on a digital camera - excellent plant information and a good quality barcode. The Oki C7000 Series digital LED colour printer provides excellent quality labels that can be used outdoors with our plants."
Both Newhall and Winrow have found the Oki printers easy to use. Says Stock, "The Oki printer is very intuitive and delivers amazing quality print with lots of colour to do justice to our plants."
Winrow Nurseries has integrated its core business software with the Greenfield HLS package, exporting information on genus, species, variety, price and name of nursery, as well as a plant description. Labels are created based on orders received and then used to provide the order pick list, which can range from a few plants to several thousand.
Garden Centre self-adhesive labels are used across the majority of the product range from plants to garden furniture and in-store products such as tools and plant food. The company prints either sixteen or five labels per page, depending on size of item, and, says Isherwood, is leveraging the HLS software's flexibility to tailor label design to specific products.
"We can reorganise our product database to pull off appropriate labels which is very cost effective," says Isherwood. "Furthermore, the HLS system is extremely flexible, enabling us to add additional information to labels as required."
The HLS system also automatically changes the font size on labels to accommodate the length of plant description. "The Oki print quality remains excellent irrespective of small font size," Stock confirms.
Stock estimates the system will save Winrow Nurseries £7,000 annually. He adds, "More importantly it enables us to provide our garden centre customers with excellent labels, good pictures and information for customers and high quality bar codes that can be read at the point of sale with no errors. It will play an important role in fostering improved relationships with our customers."
Isherwood agrees, "Excellent information and a high quality, professional approach to labelling has become increasingly important. We now produce high clarity labels that are easy for customers to read - and expect to see a resultant increase in sales."
Stock concludes, "The look of the label is very important in today's market. We are currently growing the business at around five percent per annum and I believe the quality of our labelling will help sustain that growth. Compared to the quality of some labels in garden centres, those produced by Greenfield Software and Oki are infinitely superior."