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A visit to the Cash & Carry of Waterdrinker:

"Export is more than just selling plants and flowers"

"It is more than just selling plants and flowers", says Daisy van Burik of Waterdrinker, one of Europe's largest export companies. For more than 40 years, they've been exporting (mainly) Dutch plants to countries all over Europe and they pioneered the Cash & Carry principle, which has grown into a 12,000 m2 purchasing center. We had the opportunity to visit this center and learn more about the opportunities and challenges of exporting flowers and plants.

Daisy van Burik next to the house and garden plant of the month October.

Cash & Carry
At the Cash & Carry of Waterdrinker, over 9,000 varieties of house and garden plants, including some 300 varieties of orchid are on offer together with an extensive collection of pots, hardware products and other florist sundries. "The principle works as follows: The buyer enters the Cash & Carry, grabs a load carrier, walks through the area, collects their plants, flowers and/or hardware and pays at the end." The Cash & Carry also functions as a live stock of their online shop.

The Cash & Carry area

Not just selling flowers
According to Van Burik, being an exporter is -and nowadays should be- more than just a company that is selling plants and flowers. "Customers are changing and new customer types come into being. For example, a florist needs 'more' to sell their flowers and plants, and clothes stores are selling plants as well nowadays. In order to meet the needs of these existing and new customers, we have to adjust too", she says.

And Waterdrinker is continuously working on meeting the needs of their florists at their Cash & Carry. The plants in the area are categorized by product category. In order to support florists to put something new on the market and therefore differentiate from their competitors, Waterdrinker created an area where all novelties are displayed. "We show them the new varieties and how to use them."

The area where Waterdrinker shows the novelties

Not only plant novelties are being showcased; pots, hardware products and other florist sundries too, like this natural hydration system called Waterworks. A basic set consists of a partly glazed terra-cotta cone and a glass reservoir with cork stopper in a cardboard gift box.
In addition to meeting the demands of their buyers, Waterdrinker also puts efforts into supporting their growers, who mainly come from the Netherlands, and increasing their sales of certain varieties. For years, they've been making product presentations for a certain variety from a grower. Next to the product itself, they also give ideas how to use the product. "These presentations will run for about 4 weeks and they boost the sales of this product."

A product presentation of the Kalanchoe

Next to product presentations, Waterdrinker wants to pass on the story of the buyer to the grower and the other way around. "We always inform our growers with the information that we hear from the buyers, the information from the grower does not always reach the buyer." So, in order to pass on the story of the grower to the buyer, Waterdrinker created special grower displays where they present a product of the grower, together with the 'story' of this grower, which is written on the display. Currently, they are running tests.

On the left, the display of Bromelia Specialist and on the right the display of Anthurium Diamond

On the side, the story of the grower is being told

Next to these innovative ideas and opportunities, Waterdrinker and several other exporters also have to deal with challenges. In order to meet the demands of all buyers, delivering smaller orders is becoming increasingly important, for example. "And this can be considered as a logistical challenge as buyers more often want smaller quantities of several products", she says. Another challenge is keeping up the popularity of green plants. "Green plants are very trendy at the moment, but creating a permanent demand or popularity of these green plants is something we are continuously working on with our marketing team".

FloraHolland TradeFair
This year, Waterdrinker will once again organize an event that will be held concurrently with the Royal FloraHolland TradeFair. This event is called: 'Our World of Plants'. During the event, they will showcase trends and this year they will show how to use plants in the office. They will showcase 2 concept rooms; one with botanical trends and one design room. These rooms are designed in cooperation with florist and decorator Wunderkammer. Besides showing these rooms, they also show how florists and retailers can implement this to increase their sales.

Now, the area where the event will take place is still empty. "One week in advance of the event, the booth will be constructed."

Move to new location
Waterdrinker is located in the Cultra center in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands. Together with Close2Real, Dobbeflowers, Weerman, Zwapak and Resto they offer buyers a wide assortment of floral products. All of them will move to a new area, called Green Trade Center, and the construction of this center will start in 2017.

The Cultra center

Bellow some more pictures of the Cash & Carry area of Waterdrinker.

The entrance of Waterdrinker

The stocks are replenished continuously

The products are not only sold on the spot, but also online. The amount of products in stock is constantly being checked.

Seasonal products

The hardware collection of Waterdrinker

For more information
Daisy van Burik
Email: [email protected]