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"Newcomers have it easy"

Advice is top priority at Floradecora

There are many reasons why it is well worth including flowers and plants in the assortment or visual merchandising. No matter what kind of business, e.g., concept store, furniture store or event agency, plants bring a feel-good factor – nature – into the setting. Alive and green, they are good to look at, give their surroundings an emotional charge and communicate feelings, freshness, seasons, regions, colours and lots more. Flowers and plants increase the quality of life, raise the standard, make a business appear more distinguished and draw additional attention to the articles on show. They not only generate additional revenues but also attract other target groups. However, plants require attention and this is why some retailers are reluctant to integrate them into their assortment. Although flowers and plants are demanding, they offer great chances if they are carried professionally with the right partners and products. And, in this connection, the new Floradecora order fair to be held concurrently with Christmasworld represents fertile ground for the easy and uncomplicated integration of fresh products in the assortment.

In exactly the same way that the retail trade is moving towards lifestyle and convenience, suppliers of fresh flowers and ornamental plants have invested in attractive, straight-forward solutions that, according to Britta Tröster, Product Manager, Flowers/Ornamental Plants, Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH, “Are really easy to look after, call for no advisory service and make life as easy as possible for both retailer and consumer.” Apart from succulents and cacti, the range of straight-forward flowers and plants includes made-up products, such as ready-bound fresh flowers and colourful bouquets, herbs in practical multiple packs, dishes and pots with flowering plants and sprays. All can be integrated into the assortment and sold using product carriers or sales carts.

The subject of easy product care is also at the top of the service agenda for Floradecora exhibitor Fleurametz, Holland’s second biggest full-service provider for cut flowers, room plants and accessories. “We advise in depth”, explains Marketing Manager Nancy van Kleef, “and provide detailed information about caring for the products.” Part of their range is AquaForWeeks, a pot system that, depending on the plant, provides a supply of water for between two and six weeks. Additionally, a practical app gives a reminder when it is time to top up the water reservoir.

Set against the lavish service packages offered by flower and plant suppliers, the intelligent technical innovations are no more than small add-ons. All nurseries, flower growers, importers / exporters, flower wholesalers, sales / purchasing cooperatives and packaging facilities regard the provision of advice as one of their most important tasks. They not only provide their combined expertise and specialist knowledge but also support newcomers to the business, e.g., hotels, shopping centres, municipal marketing departments, furnishing stores, gift boutiques and decoration shops, with regard to aspects such as handling and presenting fresh flowers and plants.

“We leave nobody alone with products that are new to them. On the contrary, we are delighted to help and generate new business impulses”, says Ronald van den Breevaart of Green Team Consultancy, the Netherlands, and Floradecora consultant. There is no reason to fear plants. The sell-by date for cut flowers can be as long as 14 days after delivery. “Green plants can be kept for two years; flowering plants not quite so long.”

Although flowers can attract a great deal of customer attention, it is essential that they fit into the setting and are well-cared for if this attention is to translate into a sales success. According to Frank Teuber of the Blumenbüro Holland foundation, the prerequisites for flowers as a blooming new branch of business are that, “They must always be well-cared for and have a link to the other product groups.” Therefore, the key for customers who decide on flowers and ornamental plants is the supplier. “Care and handling is a top priority for suppliers looking for new sales channels. It is in their interests to ensure that the products are offered and cared for appropriately.”

As the contact for all questions arising from this, the supplier advises on which products go with which product lines, with which consumers and at what season. At Fleurametz, the sales discussion always begins with a review of the situation. What is the target group? Which consumers do you have? Who do you want to reach? Then, the focus turns to the situation on site. Themes are created and presentation proposals made, and followed by an analysis and sales estimate. Advice on how to care for flowers and plants must be seen in relation to the products and is supplied automatically. “The overall package must be harmonious”, says Nancy van Kleef. “We practice product care in that we attach great importance to information and recommendations.”

Dümmen Orange, one of the leading growers and developers of cut flowers, pot and bedding plants and shrubs is also involved when it comes to ways in which customers can sell the products. “We come up with ideas for presentations that are fresh, lively, emotionally charged and offer stimulating value added”, says Marketing Manager Sonja Dümmen. However, the company is not only taking part in Floradecora to present new species but also to reach new customers and to discuss with them what they can do for the consumer, e.g., for a bridal pair who want to decorate the wedding breakfast with roses. In Sandra Dümmen’s experience, people who are not deeply involved in the floral world make their initial choice of flowers in accordance with colour criteria. Her advice covers the entire calendar year: what is in season when and, most importantly, whether or not it will work.

For Barendsen, Dutch exporter and importer of fresh cut flowers, this could mean tulips in the spring, roses in the summer, chrysanthemums in the autumn and amaryllis in the winter. Because, according to sales representative Pieter van der Deijl, “They are the most natural, season oriented and least expensive options.” In common with most other suppliers, Barendsen visits the customer and, after a personal discussion, puts together a package that meets the customer’s needs. Important are the quality level, the quantity and the timing of the delivery. “The service system is constructed in such a way that it can be adapted to take account of the customer’s personal wishes.” Information, such as where the plants should stand, how much light they need and what temperature spectrum best suits them, is also part of the package.

Floradecora consultant Ronald van den Breevaart of Green Team Consultancy is also optimistic. In his opinion, “Everyone is capable of looking after plants.” Important factors for success are, in his opinion, a high-quality product and well-organised logistics. However, that is the daily bread of the supplier. “Nobody needs to worry about cold water”, says the plant expert. “In principle, a plant needs the same glass of cool water that you would offer customers when they are thirsty.”

With the new Floradecora in the heart of Europe, Messe Frankfurt is launching a new order fair for fresh flowers and ornamental plants that are available for immediate delivery and cover the convenience and fresh requirements of all parts of the trade from food shops, discounters, garden centres, DIY markets and gift boutiques to hotels and restaurants. The trade purchases its requirements of fresh decorative products at the fair in Frankfurt am Main from 27 to 30 January 2017, concurrently with Christmasworld – International Trade Fair for Festive and Decorative Articles – from 27 to 31 January 2017.

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