Thursday, January 28, 2010

Online Plant Nurseries Need Videos

When one goes to The Nursery at TyTy's website I find most of their plants have videos along with the usual plant info. That's it, just videos. No real information is spread, there's hardly any talking for some of them, they're just hosted on youtube and embed onto their website. They usually come off as strange, and they probably answer the question, "what if Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies opened a nursery." They're just so odd and quirky though that I can't look away.

I've never bought from TyTy. I'm not getting paid to promote them in any way. I may buy from them someday but what's great about these is they give you a feel for the plant. Sure they could be improved but for now as far as I can tell they're some of the best and most abundantly found videos on youtube for certain plants!

Imagen opening a nursery and finding a way for people to hand out your business card for you. All it takes is making a series of videos that are the staple of information and quality about each plant sold. You get people watching these videos, subscribing to them, and sending them to friends. Assuming your website is prominently placed in each episode you'll get more people to your site. Don't mention the price in the video just say, "available at such and such."

That's why videos are so important. They add a whole other dimension to the experience of buying plants online. I'm not trying to insult the people at TyTy but having never bought from them, the fact that I'm finding their videos, using them as a reference and reposting them... you can see what a great model videos on your site can have. It's just this extra level of interaction that I love. Sure they sold us jack all about the plant but I saw the flowers, the fruit, how tall it gets, for some reason a man holding a metal star next to it, and I wouldn't have given their website another thought had this video not been there!

Prairie Moon Nursery has started doing the same thing. One plant I didn't get to show flowering in my most recent episode of Ant Chat, titled Plant Chat, was Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis. The info on their site about this plant is great but having a video is so much better. You get a sense of scale and they even show a potential companion plant.

So many times I'll go shopping for plants online and never get any feel for the plant. Usually it's just a single picture of the flower, god only knows what the rest of the plant looks like. I do a lot of research on plants before I buy a plant but I do that by leaving the site!

I need to know the species name, if it's native, and then the basic info on growing the plant.

Species Name: If the nursery doesn't feature the species name then clearly I'm not their target audience, best of luck in the future, I'm not shopping here, goodbye. Common names are almost completely useless! They're fun to say and use but offer nothing in the way of scientific information. For most plants common names are fine to use but almost every other group, insects especially common names becomes completely useless. The common name "Carpenter Ant" can apply to all members of the genus Camponotus which contains 300+ described species. We don't see this to much in plants but it still happens.

Is it Native: The next step is to Google said species name and include the letters "USDA" in that order. Example If we do that with Sanguinaria canadensis usually we find in the first couple of results is the USDA webpage on that plant, see here. We can see the map of the US and Canada and can easily tell where this plant is found. Right under that big map you can click "View Native Status" and everywhere in blue we can say would be an ideal for this plant to buy.

Basic Info: Almost every nursery is at least good about giving us this. But it's worthless on a customer like me because I try my best to only plant native plants, and food crops. Going back to the plant info, we can see the plant like partial sun to full shade (Savanna, Woodland) and likes it not to wet and not to dry.

And I do this for every spot in my yard. I'm an addict when it comes to buying plants. Owning a credit card doesn't help. Only planting native plants limits me to picking online sources of native plants. More than 95% of the plants sold at Prairie Moon Nursery and Prairie Nursery are native to North America. If either of these vendors doesn't have something that I'm after it's up to the hundreds of other online nurseries to get my attention. Having videos of the plants just might put them over the edge for me.