April 2018
Trending Overseas By Ilse Broers and Anita Meuleman

Read about standout displays and hot topics from attendees of The Garden Retail Experience (TREx) in the Netherlands.


Red Gardening Model: Individualistic Performer

Con dent, slightly stubborn and impatient, to tempt with trendy- and convenience products, takes the initiative in making contact, does not really like gardening but, now green is the trend, they are crazy about plants.

Yellow Gardening Model: Coziness Seeker

Cozy and spontaneous, the children are important, to seduce with cheerful and cozy products, are into ready-to-use garden solutions, preference for practical, quick solutions, wants instant gardening (herbal mini gardens with the children), likes convenience, the latest trends and decorating with it.

Blue/Green Gardening Model: Cultivated Performer

Business sense, style- and/or status sensitive, proud garden owner, to seduce with special products — design or modern classic, sustainability and environment are important, expects expert advice, garden lover and gardener, has a well- kept garden.

Green Gardening Model: Smart Shopper

Decent, traditional, easy, social, can be a proud hobby gardener, but a tiled front yard for the car is also a possibility, price/quality ratio is important, asks for green advice from colleagues, friends, Facebook etc.

The Garden Retail Experience 2018 was in full swing this year. In February, the even location in Nieuwegein, the Netherlands, was converted into Garden Centre TREx: At the very entrance, you stepped into a completely different world: springtime with loads of flowers and bird songs.

After seeing an inspiring video you could learn all about the various types of garden center customers (see sidebar). That customer is what TREx 2018 was all about. Thereby the event had a completely different layout this year, with lots of concrete store concepts.

“Retail is determined by three factors,” Tjeerd Posthumus, organizer of TREx and publisher of Garden Retailer, explains. “First, the consumer, who is almighty and can shop 24/7 all over the world. It is very important to know the consumer well. Furthermore, technology is changing the way in which people shop. We want to show how technology can be used to seduce and unburden the consumer, and meet the wishes and needs of the customer in the process. Finally, a change is happening in physical retail: from stores to stories.

“We looked at the segmentation of consumer in the Nieuwegein region and which consumers we want to appeal to and how we can connect to this with presentations. This serves to concretely apply all knowledge, know-how and ideas we have and want to convey to a garden center case we represent ourselves. This also makes it clear to our visitors why we make certain choices and how you can do things. TREx also had a completely different layout this year: when determining the routing, we mainly looked at creating many surprising sightlines, many hotspots and avoiding ‘main roads.’”

The TREx18 creative team converted themes and ideas into inspiring and commercial cases and took care of the styling of Garden Centre TREx with innovative presentations and the new collections and retail trends. Chantal Riedeman was the creative director of TREx this year.

“Physical stores remain really important!” says Riedeman. “What online can never offer is great personal contact, really good personal advice, and stimulating the senses; and that is ultimately the essence of experiencing something.

“People have an increasing need for social connection. We wanted to offer the garden centers the base of the iceberg.

“Fortunately, they are doing many things right and are making money, but we still see a lot of potential to make that market even stronger and more fun for customers, and make it more successful for garden centers. And we mainly wanted to show what opportunities still exist. Fortunately, there were many.”

From Stores to Stories

The main theme of TREx18 was “from stores to stories.”

The garden center industry is in the middle of a transition from a physical distribution space to a garden experience center: TREx offered a grip on this, as well as inspiration, ideas, and practical and original solutions.

TREx shared the latest developments in garden retail in the eld of consumer trends, technology, visual merchandising, inspiration, styling and sales concepts, and the latest products.

There were many, many stories. Some immediately clear on the shop floor, others more hidden. We name a few witty, clear and catchy stories.

Baltus Flower Bulbs

Old market times revive at Baltus Flower Bulbs. Figure out: traditional Dutch flower bulbs, on large signs. The new presentation block in the middle was made of rough wood and metal tubes, with lots of auction boxes; bulbs are again very popular.

The line “Grow Your Own” got a new design with fresh signage. On large plates with an artichoke, potato or strawberry, groceries are indispensable on the table, and best from May to June.


On the first floor, the green jungle of Mica was a real eye-catcher. Immediately after the escalator your eyes were drawn inward.

Low and high presentations alternate, and deco was completely mixed with silk plants. One wall was kept sober, with small presentation boards that also makes it playful.

The setting was green, green, green. With the new stackable tables it was easy to create height; and the black-covered platforms were small stages on the shop floor.

Capi Europe

Capi Europe also opted for less trade on the floor, and gave space to nice presentations. Dutch Design was central here. The square mini-gardens with artificial grass, trimmed with a high-quality metal edge in bright orange, served as mini-podium for the pots of Dutch brokerage with distinctive orange interior.

Smart were the new signboards (in pots), for pots that are suitable for outdoor and indoor use. It said: “Indoor and Outdoor.” A clear message for the searching customer, as simple as ingenious.

The re-potting table also contributed to the brand experience, not a new idea, but it was designed to be attractive enough to attract all attention.


At Elho, the central question was: how do you make your environment green?

Literally, with plants, and guratively, by taking care of your environment. Give room to nature; that was the basic message.

The green basics line, with pots that contain recycled material, got a lot of attention, along with the potato pot: a growing pot with a removable inner pot with viewing windows to see how potatoes grow also available in black and able to be used for other vegetables.

Expert Tours

Experts in the eld of styling and shop design gave tours explaining the inspiration, design and commercial application. Because yes, also such a bombastic over the top entrance full of scent and color and music can practically be translated to your own store floor.

The green entrance says: welcome to our fairytale world. Nature has taken over the space, with enormous large plants, antique furniture, full of owers and light that makes it mysterious. Small parts can be used in this way, says stylist Johan Bak, “Make a composition in a generous way; for a garden center, this is a fantastic entrance presentation.”

The actual message was simple: Make sure you make something that people remember. It does not have to be expensive, the decoration of Retail Plaza proved.

Urban and glamor go together nicely here. “The customer can no longer be captured in one style,” says concept developer Brigit Leduc.

Ilse Broers and Anita Meuleman

Ilse Broers and Anita Meuleman are editors of Garden Retailer, a European trade magazine with TPK Media & Events, which hosts The Garden Retail Experience. Meuleman can be reached at [email protected]


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