A small introductory qualitative study was completed to set the stage for the plant valuation research project and inform upcoming quantitative studies. Intercept interviews (n=44) were conducted at three garden center locations in Southern Ontario as well as one location in British Columbia and one in Saskatchewan in September 2020.
Shoppers were intercepted on their way to the cash register and interviewed regarding their purchase decision-making process and the role of pricing in their decision. It was found the majority of shoppers mainly focus on plant attributes when making a choice and only look at price as an afterthought. Although most stated they noticed the price and made a qualitative judgment that it was “fair”, only around 30 percent made a calculated assessment of the price by comparing with other plants at the store or at other retailers.
Although all shoppers had some kind of plan for what they wanted to purchase when they walked in, two-thirds did not have a plant species or category pre-selected. Ultimately their decision to buy was based on plant dimensions, vitality, and color. Few mentioned price or hardiness and other features related to growing conditions as a determinant.
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