A decade ago, a professional grower decided that creeping perennials needed a face (and “feet”), as they were particularly well-suited for problem areas in the landscape and areas that need to tolerate foot traffic. Thus, Fran Hopkins created the STEPABLES® brand. Now, as part of its ten year anniversary, Under A Foot Plant Company has decided to enlighten the market again with the launch of a one-of-a-kind merchandising campaign called Grab n’ Go Paks, to be sold in conjunction with the brand’s well-known 3-inch STEPABLES pot line.

I was privileged to see the new packaging first hand during the grand unveiling at this week’s IGC Show in Chicago, and, wow…I’m just floored! There are three new unique programs from which growers and IGCs can select, including:

· Tough Ten – Top 10 most robust plants in the entire STEPABLES line
· Sole Mates – Top 45 best plants for direct foot traffic usages
· Garden SOLEutions – The most diverse 40 solution plants for common
landscape applications

The paks serve to reduce retailer’s 2010 signage and POP costs, as the new packaging targets consumers with clear and concise brand messaging printed directly on the pak. When I spoke with Fran about it, the concept was made even clearer by her simple statement, “Think of it like this; instead of point-of-purchase, it is point-of-contact.” Customers don’t have to search for signs to provide essential purchasing information, and retailers no longer have pressure to search for ample signage space. Customers will have all the plant information readily available the moment they pick up the package. Not only that, retailers are now able to sell a value-added product to consumers, offering a quick solution to buying STEPABLES in bulk.

Because this is such an innovative concept, I really enjoyed standing in the STEPABLES booth today and yesterday, listening to what passers-by had to say. I was really excited to find most people were thrilled by the idea. Several retailers commented that their customers will love the colorful, handled paks. One IGC owner said, “My customers are going to like these since they are drawn to plants with innovative information. The packaging is creative and just makes gardening look like a lot of fun.”

Research has shown that consumers, especially Gen Xers and Yers, want information immediately and opt not to take extensive time to research a product or even ask questions of an employee at times. Therefore STEPABLES Grab n’ Go Paks market directly to consumers who are used to being able to look at a cereal box or shampoo bottle and find all the information regarding that product readily available at-a-glance.

Thank you everyone for stopping by the booth and for your positive feedback.

~ Leslie

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Don Eberly

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