10 Challenges in Home and Garden Ecommerce (and How to Solve Them)

Gardening is an outdoor hobby but to sell gardening equipment and advice, business owners don’t need direct contact with shoppers

Gardening is an outdoor hobby but to sell gardening equipment and advice, business owners don’t need direct contact with shoppers. Just like pretty much every industry during the coronavirus pandemic, home and garden commerce really took off in 2020, and 2021 will see an increase in this trend.

Here are the 10 challenges that gardening entrepreneurs are facing and more importantly, 10 suggestions on how to solve them quickly and permanently.

Private label brands are coming

From Amazon to and Target, big names in the home and gardening business are introducing their own labels. These are usually commissioned straight from the manufacturers, so they come with competitive prices that many shoppers will choose over established brands you sell.

The solution to this challenge is to accentuate the advantage of buying brands that have been around for decades and that shoppers can trust.

Furthermore, you might want to decrease the profit margin on the products that see the largest drop in sales due to competition from private brands. By doing so, you will be able to reduce the price difference to the point that shoppers click on a well-known brand because it’s only 10 dollars, for example, more expensive.

Do you know what digitally native vertical brands are?

Behind the acronym DNVB stand “digitally native vertical brands,” i.e. highly-specialized companies that sell their products to a target audience. These companies usually start out without physical retailing space but nevertheless manage to gain popularity and market share fast.

From the shoppers’ viewpoint, brands like these are perceived as honest, and more importantly, cost-saving because of their D2C model that eliminates the middle-man. In this sense, there is no sense in fighting DNBVs but rather joining them, as they can muster support from venture capitalists.

Knowing who your target audience is

Knowing your target audience is important in any business, including home and garden eCommerce. Once you figure out who are the people clinking “buy” on the website, you will be able to better tailor your marketing strategy.

The end goal of this practice is to retain shoppers as long as possible. In gardening, unlike other industries, this usually means for life, as people garden well into old-age. If we look at the statistics in the United States, people over 50 make almost a third of all gardeners.

The rise in popularity of social media

When you finally decide that you are going to remodel your home, where do you head for inspiration? Online, most likely, in your friends’ social media feed.

Channels such as Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram have exploded for home and garden eCommerce companies. They are full of stunning photography and guides for dummies, making amateur home design a serious business.

Moreover, there are now social media influencers that took the home and garden industry by storm. One of them is Mrs Hinch, who is an extremely popular mother-of-one with a passion for gardening, cleaning, and furnishing both her house and the garden in the back.

Building an online community

Learning from her and other “green” influencers, you should try to build your own online gardening community. Instead of creating content to upload, user-generated content will do that for you. Showcasing the amazing results of your products through the customers’ perfective is the best ad you’ll ever get (for free).

According to research, online furniture sales are growing at a rate of 11.9% and set to reach a market value of $294 billion by the end of 2022. However, what is particularly interesting is that 50% of the customers contributing to this growth are millennials and Gen Z.

Millennials are getting into gardening

When we said that you should get to know your shoppers, their age was just one of the factors you had to pay attention to. Although seniors still make a large number of gardeners, the number of “millennial gardeners” is on a constant rise.

The reason? Along with Gen Z, millennials are buying their own homes and they wish to adopt green practices right from the start. This includes buying top-quality garden accessories and equipment that will last them for decades.

As the number of these shoppers is only going to grow, you need to rise to the challenge and snap them up from the hands of the competitors. For a home and garden eCommerce business to be sustainable, they need cash from the coming generations.

The real estate market has slowed down

Market fluctuations are causing many homeowners and renters to stay where they are. In the long run, most homeowners plan to stay in their existing homes rather than look for a new house. Consequently, those homeowners are planning to spend more time and money on home improvement projects.

This doesn’t only include regular maintenance but also home remodels. The logic behind this approach is those home improvements will essentially pay for themselves since their ROI is presently lingering at 15%.

Sprucing up the garden and owning a green lawn tops the list of lucrative home improvements. For this reason, your marketing department should put it in fifth gear, as you try to cash in on the “stay at home” trend.

Handling the pandemic

Speaking of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has made a major impact on home and garden eCommerce. Unlike other industries where the pandemic and subsequent measures have brought businesses to the verge of shutting down, the gardening industry is doing quite well.

Since consumers across the globe have quarantined in their homes, they quickly turned to make their home environment as pleasant as possible. Home and garden businesses saw a rise of more than 50% in online sales, which is challenging in itself.

Namely, small businesses were caught off-guard and didn’t have the logistics to handle such huge spikes in sales. Again, bug businesses made the biggest profits because of the vast network of cooperates. For other players in the business, the challenge was outsoaring services during peak periods of demand.

Using website personalization to boost your brand

The question always remains: how can you build on increased demand and drive even more sales on our e-shopping platform? Website personalization is the shortest answer, as furnishing your home with furniture and trinkets is the most personal thing ever.

Customers have specifically sourced accessories to appeal to their own taste and personality. Therefore, it’s imperative that the buying experience reflects this, especially in eCommerce.

Shoppers turn to brands that offer this type of personalized experience, which presents a lucrative revenue opportunity for retailers.

Personalization will give you a leading edge

Technology is key for driving sales up. By employing behavioral segmentation, brands can display ultra-personalized and extremely targeted product recommendations based on the users’ preferences.

In this sense, your eCommerce platform should be like Netflix, where every user receives a customized home screen based on their viewing/shopping preferences.

The end goal is to take the visitor on a carefully curated customer journey, exposing them to as many products as possible. Once you establish a predictive relationship with a customer, as opposed to a reactive one, your online platform will grow from a static website to a trusted advisor.

There are many challenges in the home and garden eCommerce industry. The demand might be higher than ever due to the pandemic but the competition is equally fierce. However, if you are able to successfully overcome the 10 challenges listed above, your eCommerce business should thrive.