GARDENING WHICH? FINDINGS
Online & Mail-Order Companies
About two fifths of members surveyed shopped online and/or by mail order for garden-related items in the last twelve months. Their favourite companies were Two Wests & Elliott, Amazon and The Organic Gardening Catalogue. Customers rate these three companies so highly because they offer easy ordering and speedy delivery of quality products at reasonable prices – which isn’t exactly rocket science! Even the four companies that members liked least (J Parker, sister company Spalding Plant & Bulb Co., Bakker and Van Meuwen) all have satisfied customers but all have a significant number of dissatisfied ones too – particularly amongst those who bought plants.
We’re pleased to see that our Best Buy seed companies, Dobies and sister company Suttons both have a respectable Which? Customer score of 66% - anything over 65% is pretty good. It’s also good to know that The Organic Gardening Catalogue is one of your top three favourite suppliers. This company offers a great range of organically-raised vegetable and herb seeds and did well in our last germination tests. Amongst other things, The Organic Gardening Catalogue also sells composts, fertilisers and pest controls suitable for organic gardeners.
With the much-praised online-only retailer Amazon, it’s worth noting that some of the plants and products on their website are being sold and dispatched by other retailers but this is made clear before you place an order.
Members’ Favourite Online And Mail-Order Company
TWO WESTS & ELLIOTT Ltd
Two Wests & Elliott are your favourite mail order/online company for gardening products. They specialise in greenhouses and greenhouse equipment but also sell fruit cages, cloches, tools, raised beds and containers.
Two Wests’ success seems to be thanks to their range and customer service. For example, if necessary, they’re happy to tweak the size of the shelving they manufacture to suit customers’ requirements.
The company was established in 1975 by Mr and Mrs West and Mr Elliott. When Mr Elliott left the company and customers still asked for him, the Wests’ renamed their dog Mr Elliott! This started a tradition – the company’s MD always has a dog called Elliott who features in the catalogue and on the website. Current MD Peter Bennett has bravely named his (female) dog Elli! He started working for Two Wests as a Saturday boy, never suspecting that 28 years later, the business would be his. The Wests retired in 2000 but are still valued consultants.
“We pride ourselves on customer service,” says Peter. “It gives us the edge.”