Burpee Gets a Boost from New Year’s Resolution Garden

Christmas is not a make-or-break time of the year for seed catalogers. But W. Atlee Burpee & Co. found a way to spike sales before the calendar year ended.

Burpee chairman George Ball came up with packaged seed product called the New Year’s Resolution Garden, which the company highlighted for a limited-time as an online-only product.

The New Year’s Resolution Garden seed pack, which sold for $10, contained a variety of vegetables and flowers to help with seven of the most-popular resolutions chosen by Burpee customers in an online poll that ran in December. Those resolutions were to lose weight, exercise more, save money, reduce stress, help the environment, be healthy and spend more time with the family.

The majority of the seeds fit in the “lose weight” category, as they are vegetables that are high in water content. But some of the seeds serve a dual-purpose: Ball said the home-grown tomatoes could cost you $2 each at a farmer’s market, so money is being saved, and beans require enough physical labor to give gardeners exercise.

The cataloger promoted the offer in a Dec. 26 e-mail blasted only to the Burpee house file. But a public relations campaign also helped boost sales of the seed pack. By Ball’s estimation, one-third of the seed packs were sold to first-time buyers.

“We had both a sales spike of at least 5% and a spike in Website activity because of the seed pack,” said Ball. “It was an attention-grabber that woke up interest between Christmas and New Year’s, which is not a traditional selling time for seed merchants.”

So why doesn’t Burpee have a Christmas catalog? Common sense. The gardening season runs from February to June and the sales season starts in late January for customers who live in the south. Instead, Burpee does its annual seed catalog drop the day after Christmas.

“That goes back to Mr. Burpee,” Ball said of the founder of the 134-year-old seed company. “If we send our catalog our before Christmas, it’s going to be thrown out with all the other junk mail.”

Partner Content

The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.
Strategies for Maximizing Mobile Point-of-Sale Technology - NetSuite
Learn the top five innovative ways to utilize your mobile POS technology to drive customer engagement, increase sales and elevate your brand.