Hanging basket tags –Can you see the problem? By Carrie Burns

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

Isn’t it frustrating when you go to the store, and what youwant is on the top shelf, which is nearly impossible to reach? You finallyretrieve the product, and it turns out not to be what you wanted in the firstplace. You have to stretch to put it back and pull down another one. If youcould’ve seen it better, this might not have happened. Now look at your hangingbaskets. 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 inyour pockets, they also grow large, trailing runners, often covering uptraditional-type tags in the basket. Is it really that big of a problem to findthe tag? Well, the world is full of lazy people. Consumers don’t want to gothrough the trouble of standing on their tiptoes, reaching over their head topull 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 hangingbaskets, new developments in tags have arisen that promise easier shopping forconsumers, more sales at retail and more money in your bank account. A fewcompanies are now offering these labels to eliminate the two biggest problemsof 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 trendof fuller baskets. Consumers love big, full baskets, which make it almostimpossible to see traditional tags, therefore requiring them to pull tags outof the basket, potentially causing irate customers and loss of tags.

“Those bacopas or trailing petunias can obstructconsumers’ views of tags, especially the tags you stick. The plant can easilyjust grow up over and cover them,” says Gerry Giorgio, creative directorwith MasterTag, Montague, Mich. “The tags we’ve created are highly visible.”

Collar Tags. New for2003, MasterTag’s Hanging Basket Collars provide information for consumerswithout 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 itdoesn’t solve the problem of not being able to see it when displayed high up inthe garden center, the collar has more space than other tags with three largesides, 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 ofthe amount of space you have, but the collar gives us the opportunity toprovide more information to the consumer,” says Giorgio.

Traditional hang tags.The most popular and traditional tags are a good choice — definitely betterthan the original sticking tags. The tags are also placed near the hanger awayfrom the product and provide the consumer with needed information.

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

Mercurius’ labels in its Hanging Label Collection areprinted on 50 micron, tear-proof material and come with a drilled hole andthreaded elastic tie to apply over the hanger. The tags offer a different shapethan the others, making them more distinguishable. The collection consists ofthree sizes of labels: the Swingstick, Major and Major Plus.

Eliminating the height problem

Maybe the best invention in tags, danglers allow consumersto see what is in the basket when it is displayed above eye level. “Theissue with baskets is that they’re always merchandised at seven or eight feet,so when you consider a consumer-friendly merchandising effort, they’renot,” says Mac Faulkner, general manager of the Grower and Floral Divisionat John Henry, Lansing, Mich. “But, they simply must be up there. Hangingbaskets 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 tagis about communicating to the customer in a way that is friendly orappealing.” These new tags allow consumers to walk down the garden centeraisles and see what’s in the baskets hanging eight feet up without having to pullthem down.

John Henry’s danglers, both in the Trait Tag collection andas custom-made tags, hang over the edge and away from the product, allowingbetter visibility from below. They are stuck into the media just liketraditional tags but are around 13 inches long, so they dangle down past thebasket.

MasterTag’s dangler, only one year old and about 14 incheslong, can be inserted into the basket at the time of production before or whilethe basket is filled with media. It’s still large enough to dangle over theedge of the pot along with the plant, and remains visible closer lower to theconsumer level.

Customizing your tags

“Custom tags is where the action is,” saysFaulkner. All three companies will customize tags for you, equipped with yourcompany name, logo or whatever else desired on them. No matter what shape yourtags are, customizing them is always a good idea. If done correctly, tags canhelp foster a loyal relationship between the consumer and the grower orretailer, and danglers can provide easily viewed information as well as thegrower or retailer’s logo right at eye level. So make sure your logo, companyname, Web site, a beautiful image of the product and consumer-friendly careinstructions are provided on the tag, and consumers will look for your productyear after year.

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Carrie Burns

Carrie Burns is associate editor for GPN.

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