Why Seedling Kit Collectible Promotions Are So Successful

23.09.2020 innovation, research

Supermarkets’ collectible promotions featuring seedling kits have been a hit around the world in the last few years. These campaigns are not only environmentally friendly and loved by all ages but also connect customers and grocery retailers, helping them build long-lasting relationships. Let’s take a look at the reasons behind this success and two popular seedling kit campaigns: Little Garden and Little Chefs.


How seedling kit campaigns connect retailers with their customers


The powerful mechanics of seedling kit promotions

During a seedling kit collectible promotion, customers receive a free kit whenever they spend a certain amount on groceries at a certain retailer. As a short-term campaign, the promotion often lasts between six and eight weeks. There are usually about 15 to 25 different seeds to collect, including vegetables, herbs and/or flowers.


Such campaigns allow retailers to grasp the opportunity to reward their shoppers with products perceived as both fun and useful. They give their customers everything they need to start their own little garden, either by themselves or with their loved ones.

Seedling kit promotions are mostly designed for families and children, and the collectibles appeal to people of all ages. More than standard customer rewards, seedling kits initiate family moments. Further, additional merchandise can be sold in-store for the grocery retailer to promote the magic around gardening and highlight the experience to the fullest.


Celebrating what matters and raising awareness

With seedling kit promotions, retailers can celebrate the local biodiversity with their shoppers, inspire their customers to grow their own fresh food, and encourage them to adopt healthy diets as well. These are strong messages that retailers can communicate through their campaigns, in various facets during the activation, including in-store promotions and online communications via the retail website and social media. Together, these approaches lead to increased awareness about the campaign as well as the brand itself.


Additionally, it is worth highlighting that rolling out such a campaign is also possible while taking better care of the environment: the seedling kits and merchandise given away to shoppers during the recent UNGA campaigns, for instance, are plastic-free and produced from more environmentally friendly materials.


On the way to the Holy Grail: Footfall and sales growth


The curiosity and excitement around seedling kit promotions can also help retailers increase foot traffic. Getting a free seedling kit when doing groceries makes the customers feel appreciated and rewarded, which has the power to attract both existing and new shoppers to the store. The activation of the campaign also plays an important role in teasing the promotion, building excitement, and attracting people to supermarkets.

Once featured in the campaign, additional merchandise always brings playability to the next level and adds value to the customer experience. Seeing their relevance with the seedling kits, consumers are inclined to purchase the merchandise to complete their collection, which ultimately leads to additional sales. The promotion also initiates an emotional connection between the retailer and their customers, who then have something to look forward to when doing groceries and come back for more collectible kits.

Full experience in a compostable pot: Play, discover, learn and grow


Gardening is beneficial for everyone

Gardening is a healthy activity for both adults and little ones. With the active time spent outside and the stimulation of senses, it can improve the kids’ health and well-being. As UNGA has pointed out before, getting involved in the gardening process can also play an important role in how kids appreciate their food more when they are involved in its preparation. Learn more about the benefits of gardening for kids. Above all, gardening together helps parents and kids strengthen the bond between them.


Bringing families closer together

With seedling kit promotions, retailers can trigger a new family habit or a common activity. Together with their parents, the little ones can experience and learn gardening, step by step. Preparing the soil, watering the seeds, choosing the right location in the sun… Kids can feel all the excitement with every little step and, of course, make new discoveries each day.

This is the kind of feedback shared by many families on social media, like in this Instagram post published by a customer during Checkers’ Little Garden campaign in 2020: “Had such a #sundayfunday getting dirty with my boy with #checkers and #checkerslittlegarden 😅 . Gardening is a great way for kids to learn about nature through messy play. Well done @checkers_sa for bringing back Checkers Little Garden we loved ❤️  and had a blast!”

Raising environmental awareness among families

Gardening and getting one’s hands dirty in nature are basic but extremely essential activities to grow environmental awareness. What better way to understand how nature works than by planting our own seeds, taking care of them and watching them grow? This learning also comes together with preserving the organisms that rely on plants, such as bees. For instance, the new bee-friendly Little Garden was one of UNGA’s novelties for Checkers in 2020.

Environmental awareness is indeed about understanding where food comes from, but it’s also about learning how to contribute to saving our planet. This is why retailers also realize that plastic-free seedling kits and merchandise are a great way to align with consumers’ expectations today: a more sustainable approach in grocery retail as well.

As a matter of fact, a research by Nielsen found that 81% of global consumers feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment. “Retailers that respond with a more responsible and engaging marketing strategy can expect increased foot traffic and sales,” explained Charlotte Healey, UNGA Head of Strategy.

Learning where the food comes from

When they just do groceries, children can’t understand the process of where their food comes from. However, by getting their hands dirty with soil and following the gardening instructions, they can contemplate each step of the process together with their family: from seedling to fresh food on the table.

In addition, through this process, kids gain more knowledge about the food itself and how real healthy food looks. This knowledge also makes children more likely to eat it, helping them to eat healthier. Therefore, with the seedling campaign families indulge themselves in growing their own food as well as appreciate the fresh products provided by their supermarket.

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Planting seeds to grow long-lasting relationships

Little Garden is the most renowned seedling kit collectible promotion, and it is part of UNGA’s loyalty campaigns that have made a long-lasting impact. Many retailers from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, France, and the UK have rolled out their own Little Garden campaigns along with UNGA.

New World, for instance, gave away 8 million miniature sets of seedling pots in New Zealand back in 2016. In 2018, the second edition of the campaign won a Loyalty Magazine Award. And more recently in 2020, New World announced the return of the campaign for the third time. The warm welcome to the seedling kits on social media showed how excited the customers were about its return.

The Little Garden campaign is appreciated among shoppers who can grow their own plants, herbs and flowers. But it’s not the only one! The Little Chefs campaign also features the seedling kits to introduce children to new ingredients in a fun way, helping them learn to grow herbs and eat healthy. UNGA’s Little Chefs campaign, rolled out with PLUS in the Netherlands under the name ‘Kruiden Sjeffies’, also got nominated in the Best Short-Term Loyalty Initiatives for the Loyalty Magazine Awards 2020. The Loyalty Magazine Awards gather the leaders of the loyalty business from across the globe to celebrate creativity and reward the best programs each year.

It is a fact that seedling kit campaigns are a success in short-term loyalty campaigns. Beneficial for children and families and more environmentally friendly, they bring families and retailers together. “From experience, we notice that an environmentally friendly campaign has a positive influence on shoppers’ perception of a supermarket. It’s a great way for retailers to show their engagement, as part of their overall CSR strategy,” said Woes Weinberg, UNGA Head of Marketing.

A positive experience and perception are the first steps to emotional loyalty. By creating and multiplying positive memories through playful and fun experiences, retailers can only gain more brand recognition within the family segment and build strong relationships for the future—just like how kids take care of their seeds for them to grow into fresh plants and herbs.

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