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In-store vs. E-commerce – Using Different Channels to Engage Consumers and Encourage Plant Sales

April 20 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm

Presented by: Dr. Bridget Behe, Michigan State University; Dr. Melinda Knuth, North Carolina State University; and Dr. Alicia Rihn, University of Tennessee

According to the Annual Retail Trade Survey, E-commerce sales increased by 43% during the pandemic. Consumers are embracing online shopping more than ever. Yet, little is known about how consumer shopping habits differ between in-store behavior and online behavior when it comes to plant purchases.

Based on industry research, our expert speakers will give insight on:

  • Consumer perception of in-store and online shopping for: edible plants (fruits and vegetables), cut flower, and foliage houseplants
  • What types of plants are purchased the most in-store vs e-commerce to help you with planning your different product offerings in each area
  • What gives customers the feeling of satisfaction and delight that is derived from in-store vs online plant purchasing and what that means for your marketing content

Use the learnings from this program to develop marketing strategies that engage customers and drive online and in-person sales.

Free for AmericanHort members, $49 for non-members
Not an AmericanHort member? Become a member today for free registration to this webinar and many other member benefits.

Meet Our Expert Speakers

Dr. Alicia Rihn

Assistant Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

Dr. Alicia Rihn is an Assistant Professor of Specialty Crops Marketing in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee. She joined the University of Tennessee in July 2020 after serving as a research associate and post-doc at the University of Florida’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, FL. Alicia earned her degrees from the University of Minnesota (Ph.D. Horticulture Marketing; M.S. Horticulture Marketing) and the University of Wisconsin – River Falls (B.S. Professional Horticulture). At Tennessee, Alicia’s position is split between research and extension with a focus on consumer behavior and valuation, niche marketing, value-added opportunities, and market feasibility of various specialty crops with an emphasis on horticultural crops. Her previous work has addressed generational differences for cut flower preferences, pollinator friendly labeling, state promotional programs, sustainable landscaping, and green industry marketing trends. Moving forward, her research and extension endeavors will focus on addressing questions related to the interface between consumers and specialty crop growers to improve communication, expand markets, and increase product value and profits.

Dr. Bridget Behe

Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University

Dr. Bridget Behe is currently a Professor of Horticultural Marketing at Michigan State University. She teaches courses on marketing and management for horticulture majors. Bridget has conducted over 100 consumer and market research projects on horticultural products, both edible and ornamental. She has written more than 500 publications in the trade press and peer-reviewed journals. She joined Michigan State’s faculty in August, 1997, after serving on the faculty at Auburn University (Alabama) for 8 years. Bridget earned degrees from Penn State University (Ph.D. Horticulture, B.S. Horticulture, B.S. Agricultural Education) and The Ohio State University.  Each year, she speaks to professionals and industry groups nationally and internationally. She writes articles for trade magazines to share the findings of her consumer research studies. She was co-chair of the AmericanHort (formerly OFA) Garden Center Committee for several years and now serves on their Retail Committee. Dr. Behe has served as chair of a USDA regional project committee where horticulturists and agricultural economists work collaboratively on consumer and economic challenges facing the ornamental horticulture industry. In 2018, she was awarded the American Society for Horticultural Science Undergraduate Educator of the Year. In 2016, she was awarded the Outstanding Extension Specialist in Michigan. In 2018, she was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Educator Career Award by the American Society for Horticultural Science. Launched in 2018, she publishes a weekly podcast called “Marketing Munchies” available for free on her website bridgetbehe.com.

Dr. Melinda Knuth

Assistant Professor, Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University

Dr. Knuth’s research area focuses on consumer and market research experience by focusing on the interface between people and plants, helping the horticulture industry understand consumer preferences, perceptions, and motivations. Historically, Dr. Knuth has evaluated trade flows of horticulture products in the United States, assessed the supply chain in the cut flower industry, investigated profit margins in substituting species in floral arrangements, and estimated consumer acceptance of retail messaging.

She currently is an Assistant Professor in Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University. Dr. Knuth teaches Greenhouse Management, Floriculture Production, Floral Design, and Horticulture Marketing. Dr. Knuth received her PhD from Texas A&M University in Horticultural Science with a certificate in Applied Statistics. From there, she was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Florida in the Food & Resource Economics Department. Dr. Knuth received GPN Magazine’s 40 under 40 award in 2021, is a member of AFE’s Young Professionals Council, and a 2017 AmericanHort Scholar.

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