How to Sell Plants Online in India (Step By Step Method)
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Is gardening your first love? Do you want to share the happiness of watching the buds growing into flowers? Now you can without burdening yourself with opening a nursery and everything! Yes, selling plants online is a thing now. Your love for plants could turn this thing into a trend! If you are confused about how everything will happen, here is what you need!. A complete guide to selling plants online.
Steps to Sell Plants in India
Here are the beginning steps to follow for opening an online nursery.
1. Decide Your Supplier
Like any other business, begin with deciding who would be your supplier? In the plant business, you have two options, grow them in your nursery and sell them to your online customers or source it from a wholesaler. While growing it yourself means investing a good amount in a nursery, sourcing it means comparatively less investment.
But investment is only one aspect to consider while deciding on your supplies. Here are some other things you should know about both methods. If you have sufficient space and some required conditions to grow your plants, you can opt for a nursery. However, if you plan to start low, you only need a small space with access to sunlight to store your plants.
With a nursery, you have an option to scale your business to the extent you want to expand it. However, purchasing from wholesalers might raise concerns when you want to scale the business. But maintaining a full-fledged nursery requires a lot of hard work, techniques, learnings, materials, and people with expertise in plants. On the other hand, outsourcing will give you all the comforts.
So, both options have pros and cons. It depends on your situation. If you feel that space and environment aren't a factor for you, you should choose a nursery. It would help you express your love for plants while also spreading that love. However, if the nursery is out of your budget, it is better to go to a wholesaler. Here are some tips to work with nurseries or wholesalers that might also help you decide on your suppliers.
Make a Connection with Your Supplier
For a long-term business, it is significant to have a positive relationship with your supplier. A good way to do that is by offering repeated business. It will enable you to get the best stock and advanced information on supply.
Explore as Much as Possible
Even while buying vegetables, you explore many vendors to ensure that you get the best possible price. Similarly, when it comes to selecting your supplier, look around as much as possible.
Do not settle in one nursery. Ask for prices at various wholesalers or nurseries. There is a huge possibility that a supplier has a lower minimum than others. It is particularly important if you are beginning small.
Depend on Local Suppliers More
It is better to look for a local supplier of plants as it will reduce your transportation cost. It will also ensure that you can get supplies whenever you want with minimum time constraints. Moreover, try to pick up wholesale orders if you have storage space. It will reduce the stress of supply and will also contribute to minimizing cost.
Learn About Seasonality
If you want to sell plants online, you have to learn about seasonality. It means you should know in which season a plant is most in demand or in which season a particular plant is in abundance. It will help you to decide your inventory and plan campaigns.
Do Not Bet on One Card
Instead of depending on a particular supplier, look for multiple places where you can get plants. Sometimes a nursery might be out of a particular plant that has huge demand in the market. In such a situation, you might need to lose consumers if you are solely dependent on that nursery.
However, if you have other suppliers also, you might find that plant and cater to the needs of consumers. Another thing to note is some nurseries operate in particular seasons. They are usually experts in seasonal plants. You can also connect to them for stocks.
A Stable Pricing Strategy
The plant business involves a lot of price fluctuation. Seasonal plants are cheap during a particular season and expensive during the rest of the year. Some plants might require low maintenance costs during particular times than others.
All these factors contribute to the fluctuation of price. So, you need to come up with a strategy that maintains a balance between these fluctuations and the price you serve to your consumers.
Switch to Online Wholesalers
In case you live in an area where there is no reliable local supplier and you do not have space to open a nursery, you might look for online wholesalers. Yes, many businesses offer wholesale plants online. It will help you to get plants at your doorstep that you can distribute further to your consumers.
So with these tips, you can smoothly work with a nursery or wholesaler. Now, if you plan to open a nursery or storage space at your home, keep the following things in your mind.
- Your area should have sufficient sunlight to ensure the right growth of the plants.
- Choose an area with moderate wind speed because a place with high speed would lead to damage to plants and might also hamper their growth.
- Avoid a nursery near construction sites or any other heavy industrial areas as the wind carries dust and pollutants that could deteriorate the plant quality.
Considering all these things, you can decide on your supplier.
2. Decide Your Niche
Although deciding your niche should be the first step, it is second so that you can first decide on your suppliers. While some people prefer to decide their niche first so they can choose their supplier accordingly, choosing your supplier first helps you in several ways.
If you already know your possible suppliers and the plants they can offer, you can easily niche down your categories. It filters down the infinite number of plants to only the ones that your suppliers can offer, making your work comparatively easier.
Besides suppliers, here are a few other factors you should consider while selecting your niche. Some of them are:
- Which plant do you love the most?
- Environment conditions, such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, etc, of the area of the storage
- Kinds of plants that easily grow and survive in your area.
- Whether you can maintain an indoor garden or not? If yes, what could be the maximum capacity?
- Which demographic zone are you targeting?
- Which plants are in most demand in the market? You will learn more about it through the subsequent sections.
If you are not aware of the categories, here is a list to help you.
While you might provide a wide variety of plants, you might specialize in cacti, succulents, air plants, or other houseplants. Here you need to consider whether you can grow those plants at home or are they in stock with your suppliers.
You can also keep stock of outdoor plants that are in demand. Here you need to plan not only according to the season of the place where you live but also according to the season of the place where you are planning to sell your plants.
Seeds and Bulbs
Although this does not come under directly selling plants it is a part of it. You might not sell live plants but specialize in bulbs, seeds, and other growing supplies to plant lovers. It is one of the best options for you if you do not have conditions to store live plants. It also allows you to widen your customer base as a plant seller and customers both could buy products from you.
Plant Care Products
Along with keeping some live plants you can also keep some plant care products, such as growing mediums, fertilizers, soil, and grow lights among others. While you can only keep these products also, keeping them with live plants will help you to scale your business.
You might also offer schemes like offering a particular weight of soil with a live plant. It would attract more consumers as they could get all their gardening requirements at one location.
You might also specialize in kits that include every material a person would require to make a terrarium at home. A terrarium is a small area where plants grow in a clear container, such as a bottle, carboy, old aquarium, etc. It represents a miniature ecosystem.
Yes, here you cannot sell plants online but you are indirectly doing the same thing. If gardening is your passion, you can grow plants in your location and sell its products. For instance, if you grow lavender, you can make soaps or sprays from it and sell them online. Nowadays, people love natural products. So, your business might get noticed easily. Moreover, you can slowly begin selling plants too.
You can begin a subscription kind of model in the plant business. For instance, plants need frequent maintenance. So, you can offer soil, fertilizers, and other equipment to maintain the plants only to the consumers with a subscription. You can customize this by giving them suggestions according to their plant. This will encourage more and more people to buy a subscription.
You can come up with a completely different idea and offer plants in events and corporate offices. You might also go for expertise in organizing plants in houses. Many people want to have many plants in their house but are not sure where to keep them or which plants would look good.
You can help them with your suggestions and plant products. So, you know your niche, and you can plan your budget and other things according to it.
3. Price Your Plants
To sell plants online, you have to come up with a price for every plant. You can use the standard way to price a product. This standard model includes:
- Adding all your fixed costs ( rent, overhead expenses)
- Adding all the variable costs per product ( shipping, cost of goods sold, packaging, etc)
- Include a profit margin
But are these factors enough to price your plants? Well, not! Here are a few more factors you should consider while pricing your plants.
Seasonality can widely impact the price of a particular plant. Most nurseries adjust prices according to seasons. So you have two options. Either adjust the prices of your plants according to the season on your online site or give a consistent price to the consumers. You can do this by considering the maximum possible price.
So, even if you are paying different cost prices to a nursery, you consumers can get a consistent price. However, adjusting prices according to the season is also a good idea. It will increase the sale of a plant in a particular season. Moreover, you might get that plant very cheap in a particular season and could sell them a little bit more costly to maximize profit.
You cannot just price plants according to your fixed and variable costs, or your cost price. You might have built a strong reputation in the market but still, you should avoid pricing a product much higher than its market price.
If a plant seller is selling Bonzai at Rs. 1500 and you have priced it at Rs. 2000, no one would prefer to buy from you. So, make sure you consider the market price while pricing your products.
4. Your Target Audience
You should know how much your target audience is ready to spend on plants. It is undoubtedly best to price it at a point that is accessible to most people. But if you know your target audience way too well, you can price it according to their pay range.
5. Consider Your Efforts
Whether you have kept labours under you for maintaining a nursery or other business-related work or not, you should consider your efforts while pricing the products. So, include it in your fixed cost and then price accordingly. Most business owners miss this point and fail to price their plants efficiently.
6. Register Yourself Online
You need to register your business online. For simplifying the process, you might use an online selling platform, such as Fynd Platform. These platforms make your work easy and help you connect to consumers in PAN India. Moreover, their registration process is easy. So, even if you are not a tech person you can register your business with them.
7. Presenting Your Plants
In any business, particularly an online business, the most significant thing is how you present your product to your consumer. Your consumer cannot touch the product and guess its quality.
They look at the picture available on the site and decide whether they want to buy that particular product or not. This means the way you present your plants in the picture should be impossible to ignore. Here are some tips that might help you in capturing the best pictures of your plants.
Various Angle Shots
Make sure your consumer can look at your products from various angles. Like most clothing products, they offer looks from various angles so that the consumers could be sure of their decision. Here also, capture from all the possible angles. This will help your consumers to know how that plant would look in their homes.
Try to Capture the Texture
Well, it might sound impossible. But you can capture the texture of a product. You will need to take some close-up shots. While it cannot capture the entire texture, it could give a hint of it.
Take a Lifestyle Shot
Instead of taking just simple or alone photos, you can also click lifestyle photos. You can show a particular plant in a beautiful location at your house. This will leave a lasting impression on consumers' minds and they might also want to purchase that plant.
Whenever you click pictures to sell plants online, make sure they are 3D pictures. It will help your possible consumers to use AR technology and decide whether a plant looks good or not in their room.
Other Phone Shoots
Other than capturing the images and videos of only plants, you can also make behind the scene videos, plant maintenance videos, and other interesting and attractive images for social media coverage.
For capturing plants, it is best to shoot in proper sunlight. It will give photos a realistic look. However, if conditions around you do not allow you to capture photos in sunlight, you can use the magic of filters. After all, it's not the reality. Once you are done clicking pictures, you can upload them on the site to attract consumers.
Grow a Plant Brand
There are infinite brands in the world selling the same plants that you sell. So you need to give consumers a reason to buy from your brand only. Here are some things that you might focus on to grow your brand.
Make some Grounded Rules
Rather than rules, it is more of taking a stand. Do not try to ride on multiple boats at the same time. You should be very clear about what your brand is about or what it will offer to the consumers.
Take a firm stand on what you will sell and set a quality standard. Even if you scale your business, these grounded rules should stay. Your marketing copies and branding should be according to those particular guidelines.
For instance, if your brand is known for its customer service, you should continue to give the best customer service until your brand exists. You might begin offering products other than plants but your customer service should not deteriorate.
One of the most significant things a person looks for in a brand is trust. Even if you sell costlier than other brands, people will make purchases from you if you have established that trust within the consumers.
Make sure your marketing strategy and content reflect trust. Then your shipping, product quality, and customer service justify that content. Also, your advertising should be in a way that shows you are highly knowledgeable and very sensitive, and careful about your shipping process.
Talk About Your Brand
Every brand has a story that makes it stand out. You can bring that story to the front through the About Us section on your website. You can also share some information on social media and the packaging of your products.
Make sure the story involves the values you hold or things you do with your brand. Your aim should be to make people love you for the beautiful story and values your brand holds.
Always remember, that branding is not about everything about your brand. It is about what you want your customers to know or understand about your brand. So, grow your brand wisely and you will never run out of consumers.
8. Social Media Marketing for Plants
In a talk with Pure and Eco India, Dipti Sarda, a resident of Bengaluru, mentions,
“Going to a nursery, loading heavy pots in the car, then unloading them again once I reach home—all of this is highly cumbersome. That is why, I do not, in the least mind pay slightly extra for online plants for the ease of purchase they afford me. Also, some foreign plants like the Green Golden Pothos Natural Plant are of better quality at the e-store than in a physical nursery.”
So, one thing is sure people are now looking for online options to purchase plants. But how will a consumer reach your brand whenever they need a plant? How will they know that you have an online site where you sell exotic plants?
The answer to all these is Social Media Marketing and SEO. With the perfect recipe with ingredients, such as content marketing, SEO, and social media, you can grow your audience within a short time. Here are the tactics you might use.
Social Media Platforms
The moment you began your website, you began preparing for a social media page. You can come up with the best social media platform for you in two ways. They are Research your target audience well. Look for the site that most of your target audience uses. You can create a strong presence on that particular website and continue to post content on other sites to attract a new section of consumers.
Another way is to post content on all the social media sites and see which one is giving you maximum recognition and sales. Then you can focus on that particular platform only. If you are not much aware of social media marketing, you can hire professionals to track and manage your social media performance.
Another factor that could boost your presence on online platforms is the contempt on your website. There are two types of content that you should focus on. The content that you put in the front. Whenever you visit a site, you find texts at various places. These are the sites that consumers see at first when they visit your site.
So make sure these texts are in easy language and clear. Another type of content is the blogs you publish on your site. You can post articles related to taking care of the plants, services you offer, types of plants you keep and their benefits, etc. Make sure you write this content according to the rules of SEO and incorporate keywords in them.
Email marketing is one of the oldest yet most effective marketing tricks. You might launch a weekly or monthly newsletter that will keep you connected with your consumers. Even if consumers are not purchasing from you, your emails would keep reminding them about your brand.
You might also send them an email about your daily offers or other services. So, these are the steps to work to sell plants online. But is selling plants worth it in India? You will learn more about it in the next section.
The Blooming Love for Plants
Do you know that there are around 1 Lakh seven thousand and 72 lakh 31 thousand posts on Instagram with the hashtag #onlineplantshop and #plantlover respectively on Instagram? Yes, the love for plants is blooming. More and more people want to fill their houses with exotic plants that look beautiful and give out fresh air.
Surya Balakrishnan,33, and Sharanya Sridhar, 27 are two individuals with different backgrounds and lifestyles. The former is a Mumbai-based filmmaker, and the latter runs a home bakery in Hyderabad.
Despite being completely different, a thing that connects them is their love and enthusiasm toward indoor plants. However, both of them do not prefer to follow the habit of their ancestors to hit nurseries to buy plants.
Instead, they visit Instagram to see what online nurseries have to offer. The co-founder of Nurserylive, an online nursery with 52,000 followers on Instagram, Nandu Singh mentions in The Economic Times, that more than 60% of the registered users ( approx one million) on his site are of the same demographic section, that is between 23 to 38 years old.
The umbrella term for this generation could be millennials. But why are millennials so interested in plants?
The founder of Ugaoo, a Pune-based online nursery, Siddhant Bhalinga answers this. He told The Economic Times, “Millennials are at a life stage where they are just renting a house or buying a flat, and investing in plants for their homes. It aligns with their climate change discourse and is also Instagram-worthy. At times, it is a statement about their environmental consciousness, at other times, it is a means to relieve stress.”
Siddhant, who started his journey by selling seeds, soon realized the growing demand for live plants. After a few years of his startup, he gained more sales from plants than seeds.
According to a report by Barometer of Trade on the online plant nursery market, the approximate size of the online plant nursery market was nearly Rs 100 Crore in 2019. The market size is continuously growing with a 27% and 24.1 % increase in sales of outdoor and indoor plants between 2017-2018 respectively.
In the past decade, almost 50 small to big online plant nurseries have established themselves in India. All these nurseries advertise through Instagram or Facebook ads. As a business owner, a significant thing you should know about opening a plant nursery is USP. Each popular nursery has a unique selling point that makes it stand out from others.
For instance, Nurseryville tries to sell at the lowest prices while Ugaoo offers self-watering plants. So, the plant sales are blooming but you need to find a gap in the market and come up with a solution. In this way, you would be able to benefit from a growing market.
Is it Legal to Sell Plants Online?
While the question might look vague, its answer is not. Okay, maybe the answer is vague too. But there are certain things that you should know about it. Selling plants online is legal but requires licenses or permissions. Here is a list of required licenses and permissions.
This is particularly important if you want to open a nursery. You will need permission from the local authority of your city to use the land for commercial purposes.
If you are sourcing your plants from a nursery, you would not need an agriculture license. However, if you are growing plants yourself, you will need to take an agriculture license to sell them.
Besides these permissions, you need to have your nursery investigated by local government personnel. Also, make sure you take permission from the local authority to use electricity for commercial purposes.
Documents for Plant Nursery License
This section is for those business owners who want to open a nursery. Here are the documents you will require for a plant nursery license.
- The form-I application to begin a plant nursery business
- You will then receive a verified report in form - II by the director of horticulture.
- Don't forget to take the receipt of the paid challan.
- A signed sketch map of the plant nursery. It should be signed by the revenue inspector.
- A joint verification report on the land document ( of the land where you plan to open a nursery) by the tehsildar of the locality and concerned DDH.
- NOC from the executive magistrate and land authorities.
- A certificate from the DDH.
While these are some general document requirements, you might need some other documents from your locality. So, make sure you carefully study the rules and regulations of your state and arrange documents accordingly. Now you know how to sell plants online but do you know which plants to sell? Well, the next section will help you learn about it.
Most Profitable Plants to Sell in India
While thinking of profitable plants to sell online, you might consider tomatoes or green chillies. But ironically, the most profitable plants are the ones that do not usually make space in the home vegetable garden. These plants are easy to grow and can offer you a good amount of money. Here is a list of such plants.
The demand for Bamboo is so high that many growers fail to keep up with the demand. There are various factors responsible for the huge demand for Bamboo. One of them is its low maintenance requirements.
It can be used for screens and hedges. It is not just any tropical plant. With bamboo pots and bamboo plants in it, you can grow and sell thousands of dollars of bamboo and make infinite profit from it.
If you want to sell something that could offer you profit from the very beginning, you can opt for this high-value speciality crop. Selling flowers gives you an option to keep infinite varieties of plants, from cut flowers to bulb flowers. You might also keep dried flowers, also known as everlastings because of their long life.
Moreover, growing a flowering plant does not require much investment. You need to spend a few dollars on supplies and seeds. Most plant growers get materials at a very cheap rate in Saturday or Wednesday markets held in various cities.
Also known as Green gold, Ginseng has been a popular tonic and herb in Asia. The slowly growing roots of this plant hold all its values. The only loophole in growing this plant is that it requires six years to harvest mature roots.
However, you might also sell seeds and young “rootlets” to make a profit initially and meanwhile wait for some roots to become mature. Since the time Ginseng has helped finance the revolution against Britishers, that is around George Washington’s time, it has been called a speciality crop.
4. Ground Covers
With water shortage and the high cost of labour, people find ground covers low maintenance and sensible options. You can also grow and sell ground covers for profit.
Instead of focusing on a variety of plants, you can focus on herbs. Asians value herbal plants more than anything. They have used it for medicinal purposes from ancient times and consider it a safe way to protect yourself from disease.
So, you can earn a good profit by selling herbs. You can either sell herbs or herbal plants. For instance, you can sell lavender flowers which have various medicinal benefits and are also material in essential oils
Besides these, you might also sell mushrooms. If you have a small growing space, mushrooms can be your go-to option. Many exotic mushrooms, such as shiitake and oyster, can be grown indoors without soil. They also offer good prices and maximum profit.
Investment Required to Start Plant Nursery Business
If you want to sell plants online from your nursery, here is how much investment you would require.
While this is the cost for a full-fledged business, your investment can differ according to the facilities you take. So, you might calculate your investment through this list.
Online Vs Offline Plant Selling in India
A question might come to you: why would you sell plants online and not offline? Well, the answer lies in the benefits of selling things online. Here are some of the benefits an e-commerce platform offers.
Offer Faster Buying Process
If a consumer visits a nursery, it takes him/her a lot of time. First the travelling time, then the customer might need to dedicate an entire day looking for their desired plants. This wastes a lot of their time.
This is where e-commerce holds its back! They can be travelling for their work and can scroll through the pages of a nursery. Then add the plants they like to the cart list and order whenever they want. So, they find e-commerce more time-saving and prefer to purchase from e-commerce.
Now, this is where you and your consumer both benefit from e-commerce. Opening an e-commerce store helps you save a lot of money. If you set up a selling unit, you will need heavy investment. Then other variables cost, such as electricity, water, labour, etc will add.
On e-commerce you save all these amounts, making the products comparatively cheaper than offline stores. Consumers also enjoy various discounts or offers, making e-commerce a reasonable option.
Reasonable Advertising and Marketing
Imagine you are going to begin an offline store for selling plants. You want to advertise it. So, you decide to reach TV channels and newspaper advertisements. It will cost you around or more than Rs. 10,000 for TV and Rs 5,000 for newspaper. On the other hand, if you open an online store to sell plants online, you can make a social media post.
It costs you nothing. You can make an account on social media and post content. You can also use SEO techniques to attract organic traffic to your site. While you can hire a professional for all these for maximum reach, you can do these things yourself too, making it free.
So, you can benefit from e-commerce in all these ways. You can create an online presence through online platforms, such as Fynd Platform. They help you to grow your business without making much effort.
Opening a nursery is not difficult but requires investment and effort. You can also source plants but opening a nursery will help you to also follow your passion for gardening.
You can check your budget and market type to decide which one would be a better option. Then you can register yourself on online platforms, such as Fynd Platform, and enjoy a wide consumer base.
Learn from the masters and cracks the code to festive season sales success with Fynd Platform's Festive Readiness Guide
How do sell plants to nurseries?
While nurseries are the primary source of plants, you might also try selling plants to nurseries. However, for that, you need to grow unique plants that are challenging to grow and tough to maintain. Also, you need to have a USP that attracts nurseries to shop from you.
Undoubtedly, it is difficult to sell plants to a nursery but your exotic well-maintained plants might make their purchase from you. Also, you need to have irresistible marketing skills.
How profitable is the nursery business?
While it is quite tough to tell the exact profit of a nursery business, it is surely one of the profitable businesses. Most nurseries require a one-time investment. After that, there is recurring income with every purchase.
Moreover, the profit of a retail nursery widely depends on the seasons and operational costs. For instance, if a nursery uses heavy fertilizers to grow plants, their operational cost would be comparatively more than nurseries that use plants and animal wastes for plant growth. Thus, their profit margin would differ.
Can we get a nursery franchise?
Yes, many nurseries offer franchises. You can contact them and open their franchise. However, if you have the operational cost to open a new nursery, you can open an independent one without a franchise. It will enable you to work without any restrictions.
How many types of nurseries are there?
Nurseries can be classified according to their vegetation. Here are five types of nursery you can begin:
Each nursery specializes in different types of plants. For instance, a medicinal nursery will include only medicinal plants, such as tulsi, ashwagandha, and various other herbs. While a forest nursery would involve saplings of trees, such as Oak, Eucalyptus, etc. These seedlings would grow into large trees.
What are some best marketing techniques for online nurseries?
While social media marketing has already been discussed in the article, you can look for other marketing strategies too. Newspapers, door-to-door campaigns, and word of mouth still count as some amazing marketing tricks.
You can tell more and more people about your nursery and ask them to inform their acquaintances about it. In this way, soon your nursery business will begin getting noticed.
How to sell plants online without a nursery?
If you do not have the cost to begin and operate a nursery, you can still sell plants online by outsourcing them. You need to establish a contact with a nursery and ask them to give you products at a comparatively lower rate than the market price.
Then you can sell these plants online. Here you will benefit from the profit margin, while the nursery will benefit from continued demand for materials and sales.