Round Table Event 2021

Round Table Event 2021

Last year, Smiemans Projecten organised a Round Table Event prior to the TREx. During this live event, future concepts in the world of garden centres were discussed with a select group of specialists from different disciplines, cultures and countries. This year we organised it again together with Tuinbranche Nederland and Garden Connect, as a webinar. With 19 leading visionaries from 7 different countries, we discussed current topics that are currently relevant in our industry.

Frank van der Heide, director of the Garden Industry Netherlands, presented the trends for this sector. With 10 lessons on consumer behavior, he discussed the opportunities and challenges for brands and retailers. Edwin Meijer of online marketing agency Garden Connect then gave a presentation on the subject "The internet is global, but shopping is local" provided the insights & trends to determine a strategy for the coming years.

After break-out sessions, the participants met again, after which a summary was given per group.

Convenience & Experience

Everyone sees the usefulness of online shopping - as an extra convenience for the customer, but it is not everything. Garden centers are still experiencing difficulties to keep track of stocks, to deliver them properly and quickly and it is not always profitable. In general, people certainly saw advantages in offering online as well, but visitors to the garden center also want to see, feel and experience the products. The internet cannot compete with that. It is therefore important to be or remain a crowd puller as soon as all restrictions expire.

Online activities continue

Due to the convenience of the Internet, online activities will continue to exist.

  • Click and collect
  • Call and collect
  • Extensive e-commerce activities

Customers find it nice and easy to compare the offer online in terms of price and quality. The convenience of delivering large items such as barbecues, umbrellas, heavy pots or large plants to your home is a real plus. The Danish garden centre chain Plantorama is responding well to this. They recently invested in vans to deliver orders to customers' homes.

Important role garden centres

Paul Pleydell of the consulting firm Pleydell Smithyman Limited gave his inspiring plea about the future of the garden centre industry. And that is, Paul outlines, rosy. Garden centres have an important role that they can fulfill. During the next break out session, the entrepreneurs spoke to each other about "The current changes that seem to be happening in these challenging times."

Home and garden is more important than ever, people will invest in new garden furniture, BBQs, but also in more plants inside and outside the house. Especially now that we are home so much.

Importance of distinguishing

Due to industry blurring, more and more shops are offering the range of garden centers, such as garden furniture, plants and pots. It is therefore important to distinguish yourself as a garden centre. And that is not only in what you do, but also how you radiate it. Think of sustainability, authenticity or entertainment. By extending this message in all communications, the consumer will feel the added value. So it's about the shopping experience.

Great opportunities for garden centres

The opportunities to respond to customer experience are great for garden centres. You can distinguish them in four groups:

  • Retail - Offering a wide range - An average garden center can easily have 35 product groups and more than fifty thousand articles;
  • Catering - A place to enjoy something such as a cup of coffee such as a cafe, coffee corner, restaurant or farm shop;
  • Events - Temporary event as a customer attraction, such as an ice rink, food truck festival, DIY courses or a Christmas village;
  • Leisure - A permanent customer attraction such as a playground, wellness, climbing park, petting zoo, orchard.

Successful event

This Round Table was also highly appreciated in an evaluation. This international group, each with their own challenges, but certainly opportunities, gave each other support and advice on how to get started successfully in the coming period. Due to the success, we are organising another Round Table Event this year, this time on October 7 and again as a webinar. Of course with other high-profile topics.