Hydroponics equipment supplier, Aqua Gardening, has transformed from being a retail brand to service ecommerce with co-founder and CEO, Shiran Fasst at the helm. As a result, sales increased 300% in 2020 and the company was awarded the 2020 National Retail Best Brand Transformation Award.

Aqua Gardening has maintained 99% growth in 2021 and increased its Net Promoter Score (NPS) from 80 in May 2020 to 92 in May 2021. Their new mission has propelled this forward, which is to ‘empower people to master their health by making gardening accessible, sustainable, successful and easy’.

“Our service ecommerce model combines service and commerce into one concept and aims to promote an online first strategy while still providing our customers with an exceptional in-store experience,” Fasst told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

“At Aqua Gardening, our sales are largely driven by the service and advice our customers receive in-store from our team members, with any subsequent purchases then made online. Our philosophy, sharing our knowledge to ensure our customers are successful and feel supported in their gardening journey, helps us to build loyalty and retention.

“Consumers shop in bricks-and-mortar stores is for the experience and advice they receive. Conversely, they shop online to compare pricing and check stock availability, with the added convenience of being at home. With the service ecommerce concept, customers are able to come into our store to have their questions answered, design their dream garden on the spot, and then make their purchases online.”

An Aqua Gardening survey found that its customers crave advice with 9% coming into the store to see the physical product versus 73% coming to seek advice from our team. After transitioning to the new concept, some customers still wanted to see new products.

In response, Aqua Gardening created an online ‘new on the shelf’ selection for each category and designed an artificial intelligence (AI) recommendation tool to help customers find what they need.

“It is all about listening to the customer and continuing to improve and innovate. It is important to talk to your customers to find out what they want from their in-store experiences, and then find ways to recreate that experience online. This will help you to reach a larger audience and grow your business, as well as allow more new customers to find you online.

“By adopting an ecommerce first strategy, we can drive in-store sales via an ecommerce store that every customer has an account for, allowing us to recommend the right products, offer assistance and advice. Further, our concept-of-service ecommerce prevents potential customer disappointment as our stock is 99% accurate on all channels.”