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Floradecora: January 27-30, Frankfurt

'Changing customer demand calls for new retail concepts'

With the Floradecora trade fair for fresh flowers and ornamental plants, Christmasworld in Frankfurt am Main is branching out in completely new directions in line with the latest trends in the flower market and trade. This is the response of Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH to changing consumer needs because, just like concept and lifestyle stores, which make shopping even easier and more enticing, convenience products are in. However, these developments call for new concepts. As Britta Tröster, Flower and Decorative Plant Product Manager of Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI), puts it, “Convenience products are also in demand in the plant sector. This is a really recent development and was not even a subject for discussion just five years ago.”

To meet this demand, nurseries are currently working on concepts catering for the new trend and offering, for example, standardised pots with arrangements of plants in matching colours that customers can hang from their balconies with no effort. Thus, Gärtnerei Löwer garden centre offered ‘Fan Pots’ with flowers in the German national colours during the FIFA European Championship a little while ago. “Herbs in a practical multi-pack with a little umbrella printed with barbeque recipes are a response to the demand for greater simplicity and healthy food. And it is effective”, adds Tröster.

In the trade, there are an increasing number of best practices that support this analysis. For example, the Möbelhaus Nemann furniture store decided to introduce an increased choice and an enhanced shopping experience. The result: since 2014, customers can not only buy sofas, tables and shelf units but also stock up on flowers and plants in the new garden centre. “My business partner, Thomas Meyer-Pundsack, and I had this idea years ago”, says Clemens Nemann, “But we haven’t been able to put it into practice until now”. His summary after two years: “The garden centre has resulted in a significant increase in customer numbers. We now offer more and this has paid off.” To make life for customers as easy as possible, the way from the garden centre runs straight to the garden-furniture department of the furniture store.

Perfectly arranged: plants and furniture at Ikea
“In principle, Ikea has been showing the way forward for many years”, say Ronald van den Breevaart of Green Team Consultancy, the Netherlands, and consultant to Floradecora. The furniture giant is Europe’s third-biggest plant seller and, in addition to vases, pots and candles, offers customers an intelligent selection of plants just before they reach the check-outs. “A concept that works perfectly”, says van den Breevaart. In his eyes, both cut flowers and plants constitute a market with a great potential – and not just for florists and garden centres. “The market needs only to be irrigated correctly – in other words, with an eye to the individual business concepts and customer wishes. At Floradecora, we have the expertise and the partners”.

Nevertheless, the selection is important, too. Thus, Ikea mainly offers
plants that are easy to care for, that last a long time and look good
without flowering. “You can simply pop them into your cart and they cost
very little either in terms of cash or effort at home”, says Britta Tröster.
This is what consumers want and is also shown by the increasing
popularity of ready-bound floral arrangements. “Customers demand easy
solutions and they are practical for numerous shops and centres. Why
not take advantage of this?”

Appeal with style: with flowers and accessories
However, it is also possible to get ahead with individual concepts and offers. For example, the ‘Wohngut’ decoration shop in the central German village of Hachborn not only sells tea, glass, porcelain and cachepots but also, in addition to a café, offers visitors an attractive selection of plants, e.g., roses and matching perennials. In other words, consumers do not have to be plant experts to make their garden or balcony look nice, a suitable selection awaits them there – a very popular service. Also very successful was the flower market at Bikini, Berlin’s renowned, trend-setting department store, this July: on the roof terrace of the store, customers could buy plants and cut flowers, as well as selected, high-quality decorative articles, such as porcelain and glass – a great experience, especially for young people and consumers interested in design, a target group hungry for value added and things new.

Highly topical: curating styles
Products that require little or no care are one trend, a desire for highquality and exclusive products is another. A way in which discerning target groups can be skilfully served in keeping with the times is shown by ‘The Golden Rabbit’ concept store in Düsseldorf: a former teacher of the NRW Forum Düsseldorf sells a select range of articles for the garden – from exclusive garden tools, via self-designed garden clothes, to hand creams. Product curating is much in demand at present and represents an excellent opportunity for retailers to set themselves apart from mass suppliers (on the internet). The Kaktus concept store in Copenhagen has also taken this route: the three Danish owners have dedicated a whole shop to the latest plant trend – cacti and succulents. In addition to a rich selection of these plants, customers can also purchase attractive decorative articles. The Blume 2000 chain of florists’ shops has also been working with style and trend awareness in recent times. The Hamburg-based company is expanding and, according to the company's own information, aims to become the flower market in the city. To this end, the interiors have been redecorated to enhance the ambience. The work is now highly trend oriented and based on the latest colour and material trends in the fashion and lifestyle sector. It is even possible to have certain selected cut flowers bound. Convenience is trending here, too, with numerous plants being offered with a matching cachepot, e.g., sprays and plants ready to take away for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas: uncomplicated and attractive.

Fresh and emotional: the language of flowers
Whether directly, as a supplementary incentive for spontaneous purchases, or indirectly, to put products in a fresh light, flowers and plants are distinguished by potential and value added: they not only make homes more attractive but also enrich shops. Bitter & Zart, a chocolaterie in Frankfurt, for example, was a hit with its customers last spring when it briefly transformed its shop window into a meadow with real grass, flowering daffodils and Easter eggs. As well, two young designers, Katharina Pfaff and Lisa Frisch of the frischbeutel label, used the language of flowers as the setting for their exclusive bags made in Germany: Treehouse is the name of their pop-up store. Nomen est omen: the small shop in the heart of downtown Frankfurt brought nature back into the life of city dwellers with innumerable real green plants. And people regularly have the opportunity to hear the fresh beats of young musicians under and beside the green plants.

In a nutshell: carefully used, fresh flowers and plants have a great potential and open up completely new perspectives for the retail trade. Floradecora in Frankfurt am Main from 27 to 30 January 2017 – concurrently with Christmasworld – International Trade Fair for Festive and Decorative Articles – is a new flower market place in the heart of Europe, which the trade should now take advantage of in a wide variety of profitable ways.

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