It doesn't always have to be tulips: Even fresh herbs make a good Easter decoration. – Photo: silviarita/pixabay
As soon as Christmas is over, the green industry already sets its sights on Easter, the next seasonal business. We talked to a Marketing and Sales Consultant about the start of the new garden year.
Oliver Mathys develops sales concepts for garden centres and DIY stores and supports them with the implementation thereof. In close collaboration with Koelnmesse, he has also for several years been designing the POS Green Solution Islands for spoga+gafa. The islands show the visitors examples of how they can design campaign and sales areas in retail outlets, which highlight specific themes.
Mr. Mathys, you live in the Netherlands, however your job takes you all over Europe. Does the Easter business have the same significance for the green industry everywhere, or are there differences here?
Mathys: Easter is primarily a Christian feast and is correspondingly celebrated by the churches. Beyond this there are however many different customs, traditions and symbols within the individual countries. This is of course reflected in the product ranges and decoration of the stores. Eggs often play an important role here. According to tradition, in Germany the colourful eggs are distributed by the Easter bunny, which has in turn become a frequently implemented decoration item. Furthermore, it was customary in the past to hollow out chicken's eggs at home, paint them together with one's children and then hang them in a cluster of freshly cut branches. Today, people tend to fall back on ready-made decorative items instead. Incidentally, in Sweden the cock is responsible for distributing the Easter eggs. In Spain or Poland, the winter is expelled by burning a doll and in the Netherlands stollen that is similar to the Christmas fruit cake popular in Germany is eaten at Easter.
Basically one can say that the Easter season doesn't have the same importance as the Christmas business for garden centres and DIY stores. Good Friday falls on 10 March this year - so there are only a few weeks to offer the specific items. In comparison: Christmas plays a role on the sales areas for almost three months. This is why garden centres and DIY stores are advised to focus more on the spring and integrate the Easter theme into this. Living plants are important here, because after the dreary winter months, people all over Europe are longing for fresh greenery and colourful blossoms.
Herbs, rabbits and more ... POS design in spring. – Photo: O. Mathys
The stars among the line-up of plants at Easter are actually always daffodils, tulips and primroses. However, you advise the retail trade not to just limit themselves down to these classics...
Mathys: Yes, bulb flowers and primroses definitely set the scene at Easter, there is no doubt about that. However, potted vegetable plants and herbs are becoming increasingly more popular too. They have in the meantime already almost become an integral part of the annual product range of many garden centres. One can also implement them at Easter for many purposes: Due to their fresh green look and scent, herbs for instance make wonderful table decoration for an Easter brunch at home. One should for instance show the customers what this can look like at the POS. For this purpose, porcelain and vases in tender shades, matching serviettes and tea lights, etc. can be implemented. Such ideas go down very well, especially if the plants can be used in the kitchen after the bank holiday. And once it starts getting warmer, the pots can be placed outdoors on the balcony. But classic room plants can also be presented in a spring-like manner when decorated correspondingly. Easy-to-care for green room plants are currently very popular, especially among the younger consumers.
Boards, old doors or windows are ideal for POS design. – Photo: O. Mathys
Let us take a look ahead to the coming Easter. What do you recommend your customers for their POS design this year? Which materials, colours and themes should the trade focus on?
Mathys: In general, the themes nature, sustainability and regionality are still very topical. These can be perfectly presented at the POS especially at Easter. A few wooden crates or natural planks or stone slabs suffice as the basis for the decoration. Bales of hay or logs - in the spring birch trees are the perfect choice - can also be ideally implemented. Alongside all of the natural shades, one should set fresh accents with colours like white, yellow and light green. The whole scene can be additionally rounded off with a few vintage items such as a zinc watering can, enamel buckets or old wooden shutters. Of course a combination with cold frames and everything to do with sowing and growing plants complements the themes and this time of year nicely.
I enjoy recalling the old days around 20 years ago. Back then we frequently made XXL characters for decoration purposes. The shapes were made out of wooden handles and wire mesh and then hay was entwined around the mesh. The result was bunnies and other animals standing two metres high. We also made objects in the shape of hearts or petals from countless fragments of clay and winding wire. They were real eye-catchers, although the value of the material wasn't very high. Indeed it takes a lot of time to make such individual and unique decorations, however nowadays when more and more customers take photos of interesting things and post them on social networks like Instagram, going to such efforts can indeed be worthwhile.
Further information: oliver-m-consulting.com