“The ornamental industry is not reacting to what the consumer likes, it is reacting on what works best in the nursery. Therefore, there are so many pelargoniums and petunias on the market. Why not do a little more effort for a different crop?” says Charlotte Weis of Plantinova, who is working in the ornamental industry for 30 years. The main activity of this Spanish company is licensing, but this versatile company is doing a lot more, like marketing and growing young plants of fruit trees and bedding plants and organizing trials. They’ve always valued the opinion of their consumers and for several years now, they are also inviting them to their trials to receive their feedback. And a couple of year ago, they decided to go a step further and show the new varieties already on a B2C platform. Quickly, the demand to buy the varieties arose and a new sales channel was born. During and probably due to Covid-19, the orders via this B2C platform increased sharply.
The impact of Covid-19 has been severe. “On the one hand, we had to deal with the situation at our company. Fortunately, we are in the agricultural segment - spring is the period when we send out the elite-material- so with a permit the workers were allowed to come and continue business. And with only 3 to 4 people in Spain, we could easily keep distance." On the other hand, they had to deal with the market. "Our main activity is licensing. Even though companies sold like crazy 2-3 weeks after initial start of the pandemic, many had throw away their plants in the beginning as they could not keep them, resulting in no sales being reported. This however is only the case for the bedding plant part as the fruit tree growers could keep their trees and sell them at a later stage.”
How the plants leave the greenhouse in boxes
Covid 19 opportunities
"Even though we will end the year with lower numbers compared to last year, we are still pleased with the outcome,” says Weis. They always have been fond of novelties and eager to discover the consumer's opinion. For this reason, they – for many years now- also invite consumers and bloggers to their trials in Vilassar de Mar (BA), Spain. “Then, we get a good impression of what the ‘real’ market wants.” On top of showing the consumers their products on trials, they had the idea to set up an online platform (www.croppit.com and present the novelties in this area and receive feedback. Quickly, it turned out that the consumers were looking for the buy button. “We didn’t expect this large interest, so we had to re-think it all and we started to do some small sales in 2019 to clients in Spain. Then, when Covid hit the world, demand as well as sales started to increased and we decided to spend more time in working on the platform. Now, we are planning to roll it out in Denmark as well."
Keep commercial varieties in mind as well
At Plantinova, they are fond of novelties, but it is also important to maintain clarity. Therefore, they always send out their supply chain catalog with their commercial ranges in it. “In this catalog, we list all our young plant growers.” They just released their supply chain catalog for 2021, click here to take a look at in.
Outlook for 2021
For 2021, the general feeling is positive, says Weis. “Sales are going quite well and are more or less similar to last year – this year however, we see some grower booking larger quantities and the growers in the south, who have been hit quite hard, are waiting back at bit.” According to Weis, the positive side for the ornamental industry is that we are selling an emotional product. In many countries, we see that as many people stay at home, more people are spending time in their garden and want to beautify it. Also, when looking at 2021, when people are expected to stay more home as well resulting in better sales of garden products. Also, we expect online sales and presence to remain remain important. Therefore, we are looking more into improving our website and make it more user friendly.
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