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3 questions for: Oliver Mathys (Oliver M. Consulting)

Oliver Mathys – Photo:

Oliver Mathys is an acknowledged market expert and networker of the green industry. The self-employed consultant from the Netherlands has been working in the plant and flower sector for over 30 years at an international level. As a marketing and sales consultant, he develops sales concepts and supports companies with the implementation thereof and with training employees. Via his agency, Oliver M. Consulting, today he concentrates on the entire supply chain and all sales channels as well as on the analysis of consumer needs.

Mr Mathys, when it comes down to the design of sales areas, the word cross-selling is also the talk of the town in the green industry. How can such a concept be practically implemented with plants and flowers?

Mathys: In my opinion, cross-selling is often misinterpreted. For example, especially in Germany one talks about cross-selling for the secondary placement of a special fertiliser next to the corresponding plant. However, the idea of cross-selling goes much further than this: It is not only about offering different product groups separately in the respective departments, but instead about mixing them appropriately and presenting them together. In this way, one makes purchase proposals to the consumers – similar to the way that the online trade does, when on searching for or ordering an item, other products are displayed following the motto “This could also interest you”.

In the case of cross-selling in the bricks and mortar trade, the product presentation should always be grouped under a joint umbrella theme. For example, under the generic term Summer Vacation Gift Items in a garden centre in addition to exotic plants such as the pineapple plant, cocktail glasses or ready-made cocktail mixes can be sold as a surprise. Bathroom items can be sold together with indoor plants that bind harmful substances, fragrant soaps and other care products can be combined under the theme wellness and health…


Which current trends are there otherwise for the design of sales areas and shops?

Mathys: Generally, I am delighted that everything that is green is absolutely en vogue at the moment – whether it be cacti, palm trees, monstera, orchids or cyclamens. Other industries have discovered these products too and the theme is omnipresent from the textile sector through to all sorts of gadgets. Hardly any fashion show can do without plants or flowers at the moment. And today gardening is more popular than ever before – the idea of doing it yourself and getting one’s hands dirty in the process … Furthermore, health, diet and sustainability are important themes that are moving the consumers. This is to be reflected in the sales areas, as far as possible also visually. But ironically the green industry that has exactly the right products to offer for this trend theme, still struggles in this respect.


If one takes a look at the fashion stores, meanwhile they look the same all over the world. Is this also true of the sales areas and shop design for flowers and plants? Are there national differences in the design?

Mathys: Unfortunately, they are becoming more and more similar in the city centres. This development has also been observed for many years already regarding the product ranges. More and more independent European producers are disappearing or shifting their production to Asia. As a result the product ranges are shrinking and are becoming more and more alike. There is also a reduction in the assortments of plants, whereby the reduction is not so dramatic at present. Some of the specialised trade in Germany is indeed currently expanding its offer in this section. In this country, living plants account for around 60 percent of the turnover in the specialised trade. As such they are a clear USP for the shops, which they can in turn use to distinguish themselves from the others. This is however not the case in all of the other countries – the turnover share is partly only 30 to 40 percent. For example, 40 percent in the Netherlands – the trend is however upwards here, because the problem has been recognised and the trade is reacting accordingly. I particularly like Belgian shops at the moment because the retail trade isn’t organised in groups as much and independent family businesses can still assert themselves well – not only in the green industry, the city centres there too display a much more colourful and diversified picture.


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