We can buy just about anything online these days, including starter trees and plants. Last year I bought my first shrubs and plants online from an Ontario Native Plant store. Oddly enough I can't find their online store anymore, but I'm sure they're still on the web somewhere. They are a family owned business that exclusively ship native trees and plants only. I was impressed by the streamlined checkout process and the quality of product as it arrived in the mail. Many big box stores have also been selling plants online for some time. These include Walmart.com, eBay.com, Jet.com, Esbenshades.com and others.
Amazon is a huge contributor and has a 25 percent increase in gardening products yearly. Independent retailers can also act as third-party sellers on the Amazon marketplace. They can handle shipping themselves or ship to Amazon warehouses and let them handle the dirty work.
However, there are some issues with this new trend. Selling online is more pricey compared to big box sores or garden centres. Shipping plants are subject to state and country regulations. Some avoid Amazon altogether to preserve brand quality and integrity. Also, people are worried about Amazon continually squeezing more fees from retailers as demand grows. The amount of time trees and plants can stay boxed up is also an important factor to consider.
There are mixed opinions, but without doubt, the way plants are being sold is evolving and companies can take advantage of the change if they approach it with care. In the coming years, growers will have access to a wider range of clients and clients will have access to trees and shrubs how and when they want them.
Hansen, J. (2018). The Amazon effect, July. Retrieved from http://www.nurserymag.com/article/the-amazon-effect/