Hanging basket tags --Can you see the problem?

February 28, 2003 - 07:24

Merchandising hanging baskets has always been difficult, but somenew tagging systems

Isn't it frustrating when you go to the store, and what you
want is on the top shelf, which is nearly impossible to reach? You finally
retrieve the product, and it turns out not to be what you wanted in the first
place. You have to stretch to put it back and pull down another one. If you
could've seen it better, this might not have happened. Now look at your hanging
baskets. Can you read the tags while the baskets are hanging above your head,
like they're most often displayed to the consumer?

As we all know, hanging baskets can not only grow money in
your pockets, they also grow large, trailing runners, often covering up
traditional-type tags in the basket. Is it really that big of a problem to find
the tag? Well, the world is full of lazy people. Consumers don't want to go
through the trouble of standing on their tiptoes, reaching over their head to
pull down a basket and searching through that bundle of foliage.

Years ago, due to the small market of hanging baskets,
unavailable tags was a major problem that growers could not do anything about;
now, however, there are no excuses. With the growing popularity of hanging
baskets, new developments in tags have arisen that promise easier shopping for
consumers, more sales at retail and more money in your bank account. A few
companies are now offering these labels to eliminate the two biggest problems
of hanging basket tags: tags covered by product and baskets displayed too high.

Eliminating obstructed views

Along with the growing trend of hanging baskets is the trend
of fuller baskets. Consumers love big, full baskets, which make it almost
impossible to see traditional tags, therefore requiring them to pull tags out
of the basket, potentially causing irate customers and loss of tags.

"Those bacopas or trailing petunias can obstruct
consumers' views of tags, especially the tags you stick. The plant can easily
just grow up over and cover them," says Gerry Giorgio, creative director
with MasterTag, Montague, Mich. "The tags we've created are highly visible."

Collar Tags. New for
2003, MasterTag's Hanging Basket Collars provide information for consumers
without hiding under mounds of product. Since it is placed around the wires,
close to the hanger, it is clearly visible away from the product. Though it
doesn't solve the problem of not being able to see it when displayed high up in
the garden center, the collar has more space than other tags with three large
sides, allowing more information to the consumer both on the front and back.
"It's always a challenge to put information onto a label just because of
the amount of space you have, but the collar gives us the opportunity to
provide more information to the consumer," says Giorgio.

Traditional hang tags.
The most popular and traditional tags are a good choice -- definitely better
than the original sticking tags. The tags are also placed near the hanger away
from the product and provide the consumer with needed information.

MasterTag's Premium Hanging Labels and John Henry's
Inventory and Custom Hang-N-Tags measure 2 x 41/2 inches. They hang down below
the hanger and are then kept away from the foliage.

Mercurius' labels in its Hanging Label Collection are
printed on 50 micron, tear-proof material and come with a drilled hole and
threaded elastic tie to apply over the hanger. The tags offer a different shape
than the others, making them more distinguishable. The collection consists of
three sizes of labels: the Swingstick, Major and Major Plus.

Eliminating the height problem

Maybe the best invention in tags, danglers allow consumers
to see what is in the basket when it is displayed above eye level. "The
issue with baskets is that they're always merchandised at seven or eight feet,
so when you consider a consumer-friendly merchandising effort, they're
not," says Mac Faulkner, general manager of the Grower and Floral Division
at John Henry, Lansing, Mich. "But, they simply must be up there. Hanging
baskets are a challenge to be merchandised, and that's what tags are about --
merchandising the product. So the notion of a dangler or oversized, strong tag
is about communicating to the customer in a way that is friendly or
appealing." These new tags allow consumers to walk down the garden center
aisles and see what's in the baskets hanging eight feet up without having to pull
them down.

John Henry's danglers, both in the Trait Tag collection and
as custom-made tags, hang over the edge and away from the product, allowing
better visibility from below. They are stuck into the media just like
traditional tags but are around 13 inches long, so they dangle down past the

MasterTag's dangler, only one year old and about 14 inches
long, can be inserted into the basket at the time of production before or while
the basket is filled with media. It's still large enough to dangle over the
edge of the pot along with the plant, and remains visible closer lower to the
consumer level.

Customizing your tags

"Custom tags is where the action is," says
Faulkner. All three companies will customize tags for you, equipped with your
company name, logo or whatever else desired on them. No matter what shape your
tags are, customizing them is always a good idea. If done correctly, tags can
help foster a loyal relationship between the consumer and the grower or
retailer, and danglers can provide easily viewed information as well as the
grower or retailer's logo right at eye level. So make sure your logo, company
name, Web site, a beautiful image of the product and consumer-friendly care
instructions are provided on the tag, and consumers will look for your product
year after year.

About The Author

Carrie Burns is associate editor for GPN.

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