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When customers of the Northeast Ohio-based Maria Gardens Center visited the IGC website in early September, they were greeted with an ad on its home page: “Our Online Store has a new name ”.

The online store, formerly located at mariagardens.net, had updated to mariasplantfarm.com. At the same time, its two brick and mortar locations – one in Strongsville and one in North Royalton – remain under the original name, Maria Gardens Center.

Laura Robinson, marketing manager at Maria Gardens Center, explained that launching the website was a strategic decision for the company.

“Because we were doing a lot of business, we felt we needed to separate the website and the social media pages. It was originally just a one page website, but we wanted a full website dedicated to selling houseplants, succulents and things like that online. That’s why we created Maria’s Plant Farm, ”she says.

The company has found that customers who order plants online are not going to the garden center. She therefore seized the opportunity to increase her online sales by developing an online houseplant store.

As for the new name, it is a nod to their roots: “We are a family business and we have a growing factory located near us. It’s called ‘Maria’s Plant Farm’ because that’s an old name we used to call our grow facility, ”she says.

Another factor in creating a separate website is that most of the customers who buy from their online store are from out of state, says Robinson, as many orders are from California. While they haven’t encountered too many shipping issues, she notes the company is always in touch with customers if there are any delays.

“We have a very good packaging and shipping system. We use warm compresses in the winter so that the plants are not damaged and we have braces for tall plants. And the packaging team has a very good response from our customers, ”she said.

So far, customers have responded positively, but the launch of the new website has not been without hassle.

“We’ve created a new website with the new domain, but we’re having some issues because I think some of our customers are a bit confused,” says Robinson.

Currently (and ahead of launch), the company has announced the new name on Maria Gardens Center’s social media channels, as well as in the company’s newsletter. They have also created new Facebook and Instagram accounts for Maria’s Plant Farm and are in the process of creating followers for each account.

“We’ve lost a bit of business because we have customers who were so used to going to our website and ordering from there, so we’re doing our best to bring them back and really get off the ground with that. We did giveaways to build our fan base and everything, ”Robinson says. “With an online store, your brand name is so important. “

While Maria Gardens Center attracts many clients to its many departments, Maria’s Plant Farm primarily targets the Millennial population. “We have a lot of this group of people in their twenties and then we have women in their fifties as well,” she says.

As for their point of sale systems, BigCommerce powers Maria’s Plant Farm, while Shopify powers physical locations.

“We use Shopify because we only sell one thing online for our physical store, which is gift cards. Shopify has the styles that we love – from a marketing standpoint, it’s a little more creative and artistic, ”she says. “We really like BigCommerce for our online store, it has more modern themes and we really like using it for all the products we have out there. For online, it’s just a better tracking system.


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