Things that stimulate the senses, that differ from the norm, that are customisable and beautifully packaged, and that broaden the product ranges of all different kinds of retailers and service providers, are of great interest to buyers and retail space designers. There is a demand here for convenience in all its forms: things that are conceptually well thought out, easy to use, surprising, and engaging at first glance. Trade fair visitors are open to new ideas and interested in all things unusual. Whether it is the rootless air plants and quirky roses that look like buttercups, or the heart shaped sparklers with name plates. The exhibitors in the Floradecora and Christmas Delights product segments had no trouble in striking up conversations with their customers.
Three emotionally charged experience areas, in particular, the central ‚Centerpieces‘ in the halls, created an ideal starting point for intensive contact. At the heart of Hall 8, an atmospheric Christmas market with 13 romantic wooden huts invited visitors to linger. The aroma of mulled wine, coffee, tea, chocolate, sweets and biscuits tempted them to try, and because this went down well, they were seduced into making spontaneous purchases, which was exactly what the Christmas Delights exhibitors had in mind.
As the centerpiece in Hall 12, the Kinemona Vintage special show caused quite a stir with its Hawaiian saffron yellow and other warm yellow colours, combined with gold. The 2dezign creative team deliberately set out to surprise and give inspiration for storytelling at the point of sale. „We made the summer colour yellow into a Christmas colour, because people need bright colours in this often dreary world. See and feel. What counts is the atmosphere that arises from the combination of fresh flowers and plants with decorations“, as Rudi Tuinman explains. „We’re not selling products, we’re selling emotions.“
The newly staged Retail Boulevard, the centerpiece of the Floradecora exhibition area in the Galleria, gave rise to lively discussions. Five popup stores – a flower shop, a garden centre, a DIY store, a supermarket and a furniture shop – were atmospherically intense and designed in different colour worlds. They presented very specific and sometimes extreme examples of how retailers, the catering trade, event management companies and hotels could revitalise their spaces. This is not a new idea, says Pascal Koeleman from 2dezign: „Urban Outfitters’ Anthropologie has demonstrated sales-inspiring cross selling with its shop styled as a garden centre. In just the same way, a small flower shop could be positioned as a module in a furniture shop.“
Retail Boulevard: an added value factor for all those who love flowers and are discovering them for their business
For Jan de Boer from Barendsen, one thing is certain: Christmasworld is on exactly the right track with its ‚experience worlds‘. „Nothing happens by itself these days and that includes trade fairs. Professionals from all over the world come here. They want to find information and inspiration, and it works.“ This is also exactly the right approach for Sonja Dümmen. „People enjoy the way the fair engages them. They stop and take a look around, in the search for people to contact. This is exactly what we want to achieve: to bring flowers and plants into other types of retailing.“ The trade visitors were transported into a fantasy world and they received the emotionally charged pop-up stores with interest, excitement and enthusiasm.
They took photographs, held discussions, and were made aware of ideas for plants and arrangements that they might otherwise have overlooked. As Peter Botz, Director of the Association for German Garden Centres relates: „The pop-up stores enabled us to establish good contacts with customers. This is good for the sector.“ The most provocative pop-up was the mysterious furniture store with its mix of darkly-dyed and natural palms and orchids, as well as landscapes made from succulents in huge glass cases. The delicate pink flower shop drew, in particular, young people into an authentic fairy-tale world, with roses, lisianthus and exotic plants. The most popular pop-up was the garden centre, possibly the highlight among the retail stores, with its photographs of enormous insects as motifs on the floor and the many natural materials employed there. The love of detail, implemented with passion and dedication, attracted people – in particular because everything on show could be delivered to their stores as finished arrangements by the Floradecora exhibitors.
Floradecora: the colour green, plants, and nature are on trend – ideally brought together to make one sales concept
The concepts that are most persuasive are those that make selling flowers and plants easy for retailers and accommodate the needs of consumers’ lifestyles. Longevity is one theme, as promised by cut kalanchoe, curcuma flowers and protea plants from South Africa. Low maintenance, as offered by succulents, cacti and orchids, is another.
Green plants are celebrating a massive comeback in the context of urban growing, with, chiefly, monsteras, draceanas, green begonias, hellebores and anthuriums finding their way back into living rooms. The colour green, plants, and nature are on trend and are all part of room design. Jan de Boer is increasingly seeing that „The minimalist and cool look is no longer in demand. Rather it’s living green plants, which reflect the desire for natural things“. Connected to this is the tendency towards environmentally-friendly packaging material, pots and containers made from natural materials, or with a natural look. Or natural plants that amaze us and function as stoppers, such as tillandsias, rootless air plants from Marleen Zeemann’s Airplant Shop and ‚Freaky Leaves‘ – variegated nettles in different shapes and colours from Bouten.
So-called ‚complete concepts‘, such as those from Edeltrend, were positively received in Frankfurt, in particular those with rhipsalis, orchids, small pine trees and succulents, potted in coconut baskets and hung up in hemp nets on real wood trees „The concept needs to be different, green and genuine, and be combined with natural products“, as Harald Burger, Key Account Manager for wholesalers Edeltrend, points out.
Seasonal retail concepts emerged as successful themes at Floradecora. According to manager Auke Heins, ‚Change with the Seasons‘ from Royal Flora Holland is responsible for a 30 to 40 percent increase in sales of garden plants. It has a bold focus on the entrance area of the house and provides, as sales inspiration, easily reproduced, seasonally adjusted decorative ideas, with plants and shrubs for outside.
LG Flowers’ sales-promoting measures are also going in this direction. The gerbera specialist offers retail-ready ‚Happy Season‘ and ‚Love‘ arrangements thematically matched to the different seasons, festive days and holidays, in glass containers, vases, flip-top bottles and printed cartons on a display stand. Plant breeder Piet Vijverberg supports retailers with a fascinating variety of products throughout the year. At Floradecora, he surprised them with his dark orchids, mystically coloured in green and blue, and his black dracaenas. The extension of the sales period and ready-made products are becoming more important, even with Christmas trees. So Holsteintanne is heralding an earlier sales launch before the first of December, because fir trees are increasingly functioning as advent trees. In addition, there’s a growing interest in smaller trees to report. „In particular, our ‚Tree in a bag‘ is much in demand and photographed“, says company director Christian von Burgsdorff, attributing this to the growing number of smaller homes and single households.
Christmas Delights: there are opportunities with sumptuous food items – to take home throughout the year
But not only flowers and plants are becoming more interesting to Christmasworld trade buyers from different retail areas. Delicious foods are also increasingly seen as attractive items to take home throughout the year. In particular, cross-selling products that do something for people, that surprise them, give them a taste and delight them, were well received. It can be pretty packaging, for example, like the small quail egg boxes containing chocolate eggs from Tafelgut; an attractive gift item like the book-shaped tea Advent calendars from the English Tea Shop; something with a cute design like the little snowman chocolate bars from Dethlefsen & Balk; something with many variants like the handmade sweets from Merkle & Biskup; something delicious like the organic mulled fruit wine from Bayernwald, or something environmentally-friendly like the compostable coffee capsules and ecologically packaged tea gifts from Pottkorn and Mahlgrad.
The trend towards high-quality and pure products can be discerned here. „The exclusiveness and quality of our sweets, which are made in Germany, packaged by hand and therefore a unique product, is what our customers really appreciate“, says Janina Becker from Naschlabor. Olaf Panne from the English Tea Shop is also experiencing this: „We are a family enterprise and we know our farmers in Sri Lanka, where our fair trade tea is cultivated. This argument is becoming increasingly important to customers.“ Craft and recipe packets are also sales-promoting ideas that go down well with retailers. On Tafelgut’s stand, for example, people were inspired by winter teas that could be made into summer cocktails, and on Wondercandles’ stand, by chocolate fondues in tins that you can drink or dip fruit into. In particular, there was a lot going on at Pottkorn and Mahlgrad’s stand. The black packets of popcorn from the Ruhr area with their amusing names, ‘Hüftgold’ (hip gold), ‘Zimtzicke’ (cow) and ‘Grillgemüse’ (grilled vegetables) go down well because they can be customised and supplied in packets. The Valentine’s packets from Naschlabor with their affectionate visual and verbal imagery are popular, as are sparklers and tea postcards as message holders. All things that are customisable with a logo and design are appealing. And if they’re also beautifully packaged, like the lebkuchen and stollen from Concorde Süßwaren & Gebäck, or the tea sachets from Dethlefsen & Balk that can be sorted into small sales units, buyers from all types of retailing are confident that they are suitable for cross selling.
Text: Messe Frankfurt, Katrin Westermeyr
Photos: Messe Frankfurt, Pietro Sutera