Lessons from a tree farm.
We've had an artificial Christmas tree for as long as I can remember. Our children, 10 and 13, have never had a live tree in their house, until now. Being a live tree noob, I was apprehensive about the process of acquiring a tree, not just any tree mind you, but the first tree of our children's lives. I ran through the list of usual tree selling suspects, home depot, various tents around the neighborhood, and then saw a sign for Orange County Christmas tree nirvana... Peltzer Pines 7 miles that way.
Now granted, we're talking Orange County here, so pine trees are not exactly growing on every corner. Orange County is a desert turned green by copious amounts of water delivered from Northern California every day. Peltzer Pines is a small farm that has been growing Christmas trees for 40 years. And with that experience, they have completely nailed the process of acquiring a Christmas tree. There are lessons to be learned ...
- Simple works. There are no rfid tags, bar code scanners or even credit card machines on the tree farm. There's a two part tag on every tree. You wander the farm until you find the tree that calls your name, you rip off part of the tag, pay for it, then have a handy lumberjack chop down your tree. Said lumberjack will even clean it up, fit it for your stand, hoist in on your vehicle of choice and tie it down. Simple, easy, immediately understandable, and can be operating by children. They do one thing, and they do that one thing extremely well.
- Directly relevant upsells never feel pushed. The only options for dropping more money were delivery and a tree stand. The tree stand was designed Mr. Peltzer and like everything else we experienced, is simple, good quality and just plain works. The upsells were easily accessible throughout the process and never pushed; the lumberjack and cashier simply said "We can deliver if want, and here's a stand that works better than what you have now."
- A quality product never has to shout we're the best. I've seen the trees in parking lot tents and piled in front of Home Depot. 30 seconds into wandering the farm, it was immediately obvious that these trees were better; that cutting my tree down and taking it home same day was better; that this process was better. Their signs don't shout we're number 1, or we're better than Joe's tree shack on the corner. Live trees. Cut yours and take it home the same day. It's just better. No need to shout it.
- Help should be there when you want it, but not in your face. Half the fun was chasing our kids through the trees and yelling, "Look at this one, no wait, how about at this one, but then there's this one over here." There was no hovering sales staff, but help was there when you wanted it. Mr. Peltzer was greeting people as they arrived and answering questions, the lumberjacks had lots of tree care tips and the whole staff knew way more about Christmas trees than I did. Friendly, knowledgeable, accessible. Perfect.
So a tip of the hat to Peltzer Pines. They got it right. Oh, and you can save $4 if you're really interested.