Anything can be sold online, and if you love and care for plants, you can learn how to sell plants online and boost your income while beautifying the homes of hundreds in your neighborhood.
As more people migrate to urban areas and modern architecture takes center stage, nature is pushed farther away from people. Today, many people lack any connection with nature except for a few potted plants in their apartments, or some potted herbs on the window sill.
Indoor plants are full of benefits. Aside from beautifying your space, they improve sleep, cleanse the air, and are a refreshing sight on a gloomy day.
If you are enthusiastic about nature, starting an online plant business will put extra money in your pocket and help others build a passion and love for nature.
Starting an online plant business can be daunting, and we are here to help you.
Just in case you are wondering if this business is profitable.
Is an online plant business profitable?
Like any business, whether offline or online, it will take time, dedication, consistency, and passion before it starts to yield profits. The plant business is profitable.
Today, the US plant and flower growing industry is worth 16.2 billion US dollars and is expected to grow by 2.3% before the year runs out.
So, while the opportunity of making it big is possible, building a successful online plant business is a bit tricky.
This guide will walk you through the fundamental steps and hopefully cover everything you need to know about selling plants online.
But first things first: does selling plants online require a permit?
Do I need a license or permit to sell plants online?
It depends on the laws of the state you are in and what type of plant you intend to sell. Many states in the US require that a business have some kind of permit, but it is best to inquire from your state’s licensing office to find out more.
However, if you are ordering plants from outside the country or importing them, you will need some form of documentation for clearance at the airport. Additionally, do not forget tax, which you might need to pay in some states.
Step 1: What to sell
The first step in this natural affair is to know the different categories and which one is best for your online store.
- Are you selling only plants or flowers?
- Are they real, edible, or simply decorative plants?
- Are you selling seeds, full-grown plants, or clippings?
- Decide the category – potted, hanging, succulents, vegetables, ornamental, bushes, herbals, etc.
You need some plant knowledge and experience under your belt before venturing into this business and remember plants also need care and nurturing too.
So you must choose plants that will not mind your absence and cause you to lose money.
While you are at it, keep the following in mind:
- Who are your buyers?
- Where are they located? If you sell outside your vicinity, then you must endeavor to choose plants that will survive the shipping haul.
- Your location
- Plants available in your location (if you are locally sourcing for them) or vendors outside your location
- Storage space or indoor garden space if you are growing your plants.
- The plants’ market demand and supply
- Seasonal plants
Now that we have this out of the way, what are the best plants to sell online?
They are in high demand and are low-maintenance plants.
- Succulents are the best for starting a plant business and require less maintenance.
- Herbal plants are plants like aromatic herbs (ginseng) or medicinal herbs like basil, lavender, and others.
- Flowers – has loads of work, but its market opportunity is limitless. It includes bulbs, dried flowers, seeds, cut flowers, etc.
- Landscape or cover plants.
- Ornamental plants and mushrooms
- Aquatic plants, aloes, and orchids
Step 2: Sourcing for the plants
There are two ways to source your plants.
Cultivate your own garden
As good as this route is, it is limiting, and if you work alone to manage a small garden, your clients are also small. Additionally, you should keep a keen eye on their progress and ensure they are grown in the right environment and temperature and catered to adequately.
Cultivating your plants is expensive, but if your customers are elite or organizations looking for scarce but unique greens, this is for you.
Ordering Your Plants
If you cannot do the dirty work, finding a plant vendor or local nursery is your best bet for a successful online plant business.
If you are going with a plant vendor, ensure they have the selected plants at all times. You do not want to disappoint your customers. We advise you to pick two or more vendors and choose different supply times and seasons if possible.
If you have a local nursery, this is another way to source your plants. In fact, if your plant knowledge is updated, you can work with the nursery to grow your type of plant. It will benefit them and ensure you never run out of stock.
Furthermore, working with a nursery is cheaper, and they already have all the equipment needed to grow plants. It is a win-win if you ask us.
Step 3: Supplies and Inventory
When you have finalized your decision to sell plants online, whether, from home or a physical store, you need supplies to make the process easy. Some supplies to invest in are
- Shipping boxes or packages
In addition to the supplies, you will need a comprehensive strategy that accounts for every business section.
Your stock sheet should adequately record
- Plants ordered date, types, shipping dates, and details about the customer.
- When new stocks come in,
- Who will cater to the plants when you are away?
Ecomitize will help you create a simple digital inventory system that allows you to manage your stock and track plant status, order time, and ship information.
The system will allow employees working with you to make entries when you are not around.
Step 4: Set up your online store
Regardless of the platform, you want to sell on; you need to stand out in the online marketplace. However, we advise most online plant business owners to own a store, which gives you total control over the store.
At Ecomitize, our website developers will design an aesthetically pleasing and Google-friendly storefront with easy-to-use features (payment, intuitive interface, shipping and tracking, and marketing) for your customers. You also get SEO-written content, including descriptions, image placement, and other arrangements to capture your potential customers.
Furthermore, our developer will help you choose the perfect domain name, theme, and color or customize it to enable you to start selling within days.
On the other hand, if you choose to sell your plants on another platform other than your own, Ecomitize can help too.
We will create an account and design your storefront as desired. Our team will go further to add the features and upload product pictures, descriptions, and other details to enable you to start selling immediately.
Online plant selling Tips
When you choose to sell plants online, the following tips will attract more attention and sales to your store.
Use high-quality pictures
Plant pictures can be attention-grabbing with the right lighting and camera. Your photo should capture all the good qualities and features of the plant from different angles.
To make the green or plant color pop, always use a white background or place the plant in a real home setting to give the customer some arrangement ideas.
This is where your knowledge and history of plants come into play. Buyers want to know about the plants and how best to use them.
You can attach keywords and internal links that lead the customers to a website where they will find more information on the plants. Additionally, add some care instructions to the details of the plant.
The plant should be priced correctly.
Pricing is one tip that must be understood before you launch your online store. Price them too low, and you lose your profits. When priced too high, they stay too long in the store. When pricing your plants, consider the following:
- What is the price in the market (check at least five stores)?
- How much of the plant is in your vicinity?
- What are people willing to pay for it?
- Is the plant seasonal, scarce, or common?
- How much is the plant (factoring in shipping, care, and labor)?
- How much is invested in your business?
- Will you make a profit after selling the plant?
- Cut shipping costs where necessary.
Plants that can be transported without soil will enable you to cut additional weight and cost. Except where absolutely necessary, remove all unnecessary accessories.
Finally, remember that customers will pay more if the plants are in good condition.
Packaging and Shipping Your Plants
Plants are living things, and packaging and shipping them can be a slightly complex process as they need extra protection and handling. While some plants take well to shipping, some do not. It is critical to arm yourself with the necessary knowledge and know-how to convey it to your client.
Keep the following in mind when packing and shipping these beauties:
Understand the rules of plant packaging.
Plants and soil traveling across the border attract the attention of agriculturists who are worried about microorganisms and pathogens coming in and destroying the flora system. With this in mind, you must know countries that disallow it or follow their rules when shipping your plants.
Be aware of the location.
If a warm plant is going to a cold climate region, it is vital to add a care tip in the package and pack it neatly to enable it to stay nourished and alive when they get to its destination.
Be aware of the appropriate packing boxes.
Most plant shipments are in cardboard boxes and bubble wrap to prevent them from rubbing against the surface, causing any damage.
Know the right carriers and shipping companies.
Plants in bubble wrap and cardboard boxes dehydrate and stress them. So it is essential to choose an express delivery carrier. Furthermore, they must work all seven days of the week.
Lastly, hire the services of a digital company that will market your online plant business to the right audience without breaking the bank. This guide has given you all the information on how to sell plants online.
Do you have any questions? Contact Ecomitize to ensure you start a business on the right foot.