Check out Czech

/
/
/
/
/
/
Check out Czech

By John Stanley The Velvet Revolution of 1989 in the Czech Republic changed the dynamics of the market completely in this country. Prior to 1989 the country was governed by Communist Russia and gardening was not a priority for the 20million inhabitants. Today Czech is a thriving democracy as the growing wealth is resulting in a vibrant horticultural industry. When “the wall came down” there was a rush of Western European retailers to ender the market and as a result companies such as Obi and Hornbach developed the garden category. Independent garden centres are now developing there own market niche. The leading centres across the country have formed a buying group and the sector is beginning to flourish. Plants are still the main core category. The mix of plants relating to the countries climate. Summers can be warm; reaching the 30o’s centigrade, whilst the winters can get down low into the 20o’s centigrade. As a result indoor plants are a popular choice to brighten up winter homes. Outdoor plants have to be exceptionally hardy and conifers are a larger category that in many other countries. The start of spring is an excuse for everyone to rush into the local garden centre and purchase Ivy Leaved Geraniums for window boxes and hanging baskets/ Many urban residents will live in apartments during the week and then escape to the “summer” house in the countryside for weekends and the long summer vacation, normally in July and August. This also means that the garden centre is often supplying products to consumers with two properties. The industry looks especially to German retailers for its inspiration, but there are ideas within Czech that could be adopted and adapted to garden centres any where. Producer Partner Branding A lot of the plant material on offer in Czech comes from growers in Holland or Denmark. I was impressed to see how the Dutch grower was working with the buying group to form a partnership and group branding. This included the grower supplying galvanized benching and end panels that had lifestyle statements on them, along with the garden centre groups’ logo. The grower also supplied a canopy to go over the retail area. This provides a focus on his plants, rather than a competitive growers, but also provided a strong retail brand statement for the group which was unique in the marketplace. I’m sure more growers could work with retailers to develop a similar marketing arrangement. Pebble Tasters It is now a common feature to place large stones in round wire cylinders to allow consumers to see and touch the product before they buy. The challenge for many retailers is how you display small stones to increase sales. We all know that if the consumer can touch it, he or more importantly she, is likely to buy. The Czech’s have developed a wonderful “pebble taster” that can be used by any retailer. The loose pebbles are displayed on a shelf at the “sigh and take” height and the relevant bags of stones are displayed underneath the samples. A logical, but very effective way of selling product. Easy find Clematis The Dutch are well known for their innovation and a Dutch Clematis grower who supplies this market has developed a very easy point of purchase system for these retailers. Clematis are displayed on benches and have pictional labels. Behind the product is a very large picture of the plant in front. I know this is now new, but it is effective and still underused in the market place. Indoor living not Indoor Plants In previous articles I have promoted the concept of indoor living rather than selling indoor plants. Since this is a relatively new industry on Czech, the retailers have taken guidance from companies such as Scheurich, the ceramic pot company from Germany. They display pots and plats as matching living statements. The result is an increase in sales, plus a higher spend per sale as customers automatically want to purchase the plant and the pot. The Challenges and opportunities facing Czech Independent retailers are the same as in other parts of the world. Coffee shops are not large enough and they have to rebuild to accommodate more customers. Pet departments are a growth category and need more space in the centres. Plus, they are keep to keep up with trends and to develop the market. They know the future revolves around co-operation, but at the same time, because of the past, they are hesitant and want to be “individualistic.” An interesting market to look at, plus if you go to Czech, Prague is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and the beer is exceptionally good. John Stanley is an internationally recognised conference speaker and retail consultant with over 25 years experience in 18 countries. He has authored several successful marketing and retail books including the best seller Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know. John’s retail experience covers hands-on retailing in supermarkets, hardware stores, garden centres, farmers markets and drug stores. For more information John Stanley and his services visit his website www.johnstanley.cc