MasterGardening.com is a website that specializes in consumer gardening products which are perfect for the lawn & garden. They carry full lines of pots, planters, tools, and decor items of the highest quality. The website has a go-to style of design with it's easy to navigate toolbar that offers people not only great products for gardening, landscaping and the outdoors, but also interaction with other website browsers through social media interface applications such as Facebook and Twitter feeds. This gives new visitors an up front view of real feedback where they can also receive handy information in relation to their questions.
Immediately, browsers are greeted with coupons, money saving offers and a product slide-show that advertises what the site offers which includes products for year round gardening or landscaping, DIY ideas and sale items that have been listed.
Browsers can look through the entire website without having to create an account which makes for convenience so that each browser can determine whether or not the website matches their needs. And if the browser wants to create an account, it's an easy step. In the upper right hand corner is account activation information including the company 1-800 number, frequently asked questions and shopping cart access.
In addition, a convenient and comforting tool for the website is a chat box feature that is available for any browser with questions who wish to speak with a live representative.
MasterGardening.com was a spin off from their sister company, Deerbusters,and originally started by sending catalogs to customers already on Deerbusters list as a way to expand their customer base and products available.
For nearly twenty years, MasterGardening.com has been in full operation, even before the internet days when catalog sales were the most popular form of ordering outside of a local store area. However, in 1998, MasterGardening.commade the leap into the internet world and joined the ranks of other companies that took their business into a virtual world, while still offering the great products that their customers had come to know and love. It's important to note, that there are three dates that were listed in which this website actually began including 1995 and 2000. So it is safe to say that the late 1990's is when the company officially launched its website online.
MasterGardening.com has its main headquarters located in Frederick, MD, which, as they state, is home to a number of passionate gardners. Every year they plant their own vegetable garden and pride themselves on being able to offer ogranic products for customers who prefer to be chemical free with their vegetables and flowers.
Mr. Jack Olive is listed as the President of the company, along with the General Manager named Mark Dayhoff . It is unclear of whom began the company. This information was listed through the Better Business Bureau under current administrator contact information.
MasterGardening.com does not list customer reviews on their website at all. The following reviews have been listed on other websites and are generally outdated. Most have been listed in the early 2000's.
The first and most recent reviews I could locate were through a website called www.davesgarden.com. This website lists 5 reviews of MasterGardening.com. The active link will direct you to the section of the website in which these following reviews are listed.
- March 2010- I ordered a cold frame and some organic fertilizers from Mastergardening.com. and I couldn't be more pleased with the speed the items arrived. They were all well packaged and I received exactly what I ordered. A real plus is that they give free shipping with an order of $100 or more. That means I saved quite a bit of money, too, since shipping is getting so expensive. It's a nice website with a good selection of items. I'll be sure to add them to my list of "go to" companies for gardening supplies.
- February 2008-I've purchased various items twice from this company. The products arrived within 3 days, and their prices were competitive. I will do business with them again, and I recommend them for internet purchases.
- June 2011- I purchased from Mastergardening.com a package of several tree trunk protectors. They are flimsy, cheap, unattractive, and were ridiculously overpriced. I would guess the production cost of each one of these was in the range of fifty cents or less. The ends of each of the protectors have jagged cuts and they look terrible. These ridiculous things coil around a tree trunk, and if the truck isn't perfectly straight, ugly-looking gaps appear. Frankly, these protectors are a joke. The company sent me an e-mail asking for my review, which I left for them. Obviously, I had nothing good to say about them and my review was negative. I found it interesting to see that Mastergardening.com has never posted my review, nor have they posted any review for this particular product. Needless to say, this company gives the Master Gardener program a bad name. I never intend to purchase another product from them.
- September 2011- Actually, to be fair...no customer service.
Ordered an 8ft table, came in 3 boxes. Two boxes were the same (meaning they didn't send all the pieces). The day I opened the box I sent an email. No response. Five days later I called and sent another email. No response. Seven days after that I sent another email. No response. Three days after that I finally called the manufacturer and explained the situation and they are going to send the needed materials. Whether or not the manufacturer should have been contacted by me at the beginning is irrelevant, ignoring customers is BAD business practice. For this, I will never use them again.
Epinions.com is the next website in which reviews of MasterGardening.com are listed. They are very old reviews, ranging in the early 2000's and rank higher in customer satisfaction than the other more recent reviews. The link will direct you to the relevant page in which the following reviews are listed.
Recently I ordered two bottles each of the insecticidal soap and the garlic oil and used a ten-dollar discount coupon received by email. The company always sends confirmation immediately by email and notifies the shopper when the order has shipped. For this order the items shipped the very next day and were on my doorstep within four days of ordering. Keep in mind that I reside in Maryland, Mastergardening’s location. I’ve been a regular customer of Mastergardening for the past several years and am very satisfied with selection, prices, and quality of product. Orders are well packaged and promptly shipped. Those who enjoy gardening on any level should pay Mastergardening a visit.
September 2003- Fast shipping and completely positive shopping experience. These are the type of folks I love to do business with. 5 Star company. Their web site was easy to navigate and well designed. Thank you very much.
- December 2001- I bought a picnic basket gift set near the holidays for a friend from this website. The order was shipped quickly (even though it was during the holiday rush), I was e-mailed an order confirmation with a tracking number so I could follow the shipment, and it was packaged in a generously sized box with a lot of tissue to ensure there was no damage. The product was best the bang for the buck compared to similar products I found online. For the product that I purchased here, I was pleased with the transaction -- no overwhelming positive or negative feelings on the merchant, but I would buy here again.
As a comfort and reassurance for customers who wish to know more about the history and reliability of MasterGardening.com, the website has at the bottom of their website, a Better Business Bureau clickable icon that shows their rating of a stellar A++ rating which is calculated by a total of sixteen criteria. They have been listed on the BBB website since 2010 although they have been listed as an operating business since 1985 and became incorporated in 2000.
MasterGardening.com has received zero filed complaints with the BBB which as contributed to it's A++ rating, along with it's length of time in operation, and sufficient background information that has been provided to the agency.
To be redirected to the BBB webpage in which MasterGardening.com is reviewed and listed, please click here.
MasterGardening.com is a member of the Mailorder Gardening Association and they have been listed in the top 5 of the Garden Watchdog Animal Repellants in the year 2010. They also frequently post blogs and news updates that selflessly promote community outreach programs that are sponsored by other leading companies in the country, as a way to continue to support healthy living and awarness. They also received honorable mention from Inc Magazine.
In June of 2012, MasterGardening.com joined forces with Regrow Together Project which is an organization of gardeners helping gardeners. This last growing season had been marked by flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, and an East Coast earthquake. Regrow Together Project’s objective helped connect gardeners who had been impacted by these natural disasters with gardeners who were willing and able to help. The website donated a flower bulb per every $5.00 purchase to those who were affected by the disasters as a way to beautify the areas once again.
Checking through Google Page Rank, MasterGardening.com only scored 4 points out of 10 possible points although it does not list the criteria in which the website was ranked.
However, while using Alexa, more criteria was listed and detailed information was given. Although it states that there are almost one million other website with higher rankings than MasterGardening.com for the nearly thirteen years it has been listed online, it has received a rating of 220,619 in the United States with lower ranks for the globe. The audience demographic is popular among women who are between the ages of 45 and 65 but not as popular for those who are younger, including males.
Other ranking reports come through very similar in results, including results that are not even available to be listed due to it's below average search engine rank.
As mentioned in prior segments, MasterGardening.com has a wonderful social media interface including Facebook and Twitter feeds that give browsers current and updated customer feedback and interaction. And it also has a live chat box feature at the bottom right of every page to give browsers the opportunity to speak with a customer service representative if they have any additional questions.
In addition, MasterGardening.comalso dedicates an entire section of the website to their blog and full spectrum list of articles called the Knowledge Base that can give insight to the novice gardener or addition insight for the seasoned gardener. They have how-to articles, seasonal tips, featured products, news and events, garden fresh recipe's, pests and diseases and general gardening.
They also invite browsers to sign up for their newsletter which can be delivered through their email as a way to receive offers, sale updates and information regarding the site on a frequent basis.
The company also invites browsers to submit their own photographs of their gardens that can be viewed by other browsers as a way to show the results of their gardening efforts which can inspire potential customers.
Two of the main social media applications are readily available but there are many more out there that this website could utilize such as LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Pinterest and many more to give browsers multiple platforms to access which could drive further traffic inward to the actual website.
As an online security reassurance, MasterGardening.com has been verified with GeoTrust which is a trusted online shopping security system, and their certificate is not ready to be renewed until August of the 2013 year. This means that the website delivers an encryption for every transaction using online payment methods so that the customers identity is safe and secure from identity theft or fraud.
No other security icons or information has been listed on the company website or in the shopping cart section of the website.
Please click HERE for the hyperlink listed for the GeoTrust website in which the statistics are available.
To view the Google safe browsing diagnostic for MasterGardening.com, just click on the following link to be redirected: http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=www.mastergardening.com
Instead of choosing random objects and products to review and compare, I chose to list and compare the most popular searched-for products according to the Alexa page rank page for this company to give realistic competitive comparisons.
Raised Bed Vegetable Garden Kits
- For a 4 foot square vinyl box, MasterGardening.com offers this kit for $259.00
- For a square resin box just shy of 4 foot squre, HomeDepot.com offers this kit for $64.47
- For a 4 foot square plastic box, Lowes.com offers this kit for $115.95
Gardening Hand Tools (Tool Kits)
- For a 5 peice aluminum tool kit, MasterGardening.com offers this kit for $35.95
- For a 4 peice steel tool kit, Lowes.com offers this kit for $61.18
- HomeDepot.com does not offer garden hand tool kits online, although the tools are available separately.
Bee and Wasp Spray
- For a 17.5 oz. bee and wasp spray, MasterGardening.com offers this for $14.95
- For an 18 oz. wasp and hornet spray (no bee available), HomeDepot.com offers this for $3.97
- For a 17 oz. wasp and hornet spray, Lowes.com offers this for $2.47
For the above comparison, different brands were referenced. However, all three were comparable in effectiveness for spray range between 15 and 20 feet away.
Trees- Japanese Red Maple (3 gallon average size of container)
Overall, MasterGardening.com receives a fair/average rating for this section. As with all three companies compared, each company lists products that are less and more expensive than the competitors. So for some products, MasterGardening.com offers products that are less expensive, although some products are more expensive.
MasterGardening.com boldly advertises that they offer free shipping on orders over $99.00. For further review of shipping prices and options, there is an icon at the bottom of the page for shipping which directs customers to a user-friendly and informative shipping information page.
They offer a shipping rate conversion chart so that buyers can easily determine how much they will expect to pay for shipping charges.
On average, their products are shipping from their warehouse in MD and they usually ship within two days from the time of purchase and tracking numbers are sent to customers after the shipment has been sent.
Plants and live worms are shipped during specific seasonal times of the year or on specific days of the week to preserve the life and freshness of the shipment.
Larger items may require freight shipment.
They ship anywhere within the United States and state that some products may be limited to shipping due to their location outside of the country.
Interestingly, as informative and easy to navigate as this website is, there are no posts or information available for payment options such as credit cards, PayPal, or types of processing. It would be recommended that questions about purchases be answered through the live chat feature when representatives are available, or calling the 1-800 for further information.
When adding an item to my cart I was able to view purchasing options which allows customers to either check out as a guest, or register for an account by signing up with their email address and a created password.
Guests choosing to checkout without creating an account are still asked to provide billing information including their name and address. They are then directed to the next step which is choosing the shipping method where a total is calculated for the customer to approve and finalize payment.
Return policies are listed in the shipping calculation section and they inform customers that they may return most new, unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund of the product Price. They also offer to pay the return shipping costs if the return is a result of their error (you received an incorrect or defective item, etc.).
Customer are expected to receive their refund within two weeks of giving their package to the return shipper. On average it takes 5 to 10 days.
Quick instructions are listed that guide the customer to filing a return with the company but if there are any further questions, the customer can contact the company directly through the address and phone number they have listed below the instructions.
Nicely, this website lists contact information generously throughout the website to give customers reassurance that any questions they have are within reach.
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