Launched at Glee 2017, the Retail Lab was a key focal point for the annual garden retail exhibition. Unlike anything before seen at Glee, it was a place to experience the beating heart of the industry, with a view to what the future holds. Combining interactive content, with inspirational product displays and tangible business advice, The Retail Lab cemented itself as a thriving hub of inspiration and knowledge at Glee.
Here we catch up with Carol Wright, UK Marketing Manager at Hozelock, one of the 2017 Retail Lab sponsors, to find out more about Hozelock’s experience and why the company has confirmed its place within the 2018 Retail Lab feature.
What made you decide to become a sponsor of the Retail Lab at Glee in 2017? We felt the Retail Lab was an unmissable opportunity in that it was important to participate in such a central activity at Glee to be able to connect with the retailers who attend. The principle of the lab was to demonstrate and signpost activities that could help to drive relevance and excitement to consumers in-store, and to demonstrate how consumers needs are changing, in what is proving to be a very challenging retail environment. As brand leaders in garden watering, we have a key role to play in helping retailers to participate and engage with the nation’s gardeners.
What products/ranges were included? We showcased our automatic watering range – Easy Drip, as well as our Cloud and Sensor Controllers. We also promoted our Plant a Pot for Bees campaign to encourage consumers to plant more bee-friendly pots which have been a huge success and has since been implemented in many garden centres. Visitors to the Retail Lab also saw our Pure range of natural gardening products, which are an alternative to using chemicals.
How did being part of the Retail Lab benefit your business? We felt taking part and sponsoring the inaugural Retail Lab at Glee helped us to engage with customers and explain our Plant a Pot campaign, and how well it fitted with forward trends in retailing. The Retail Lab also provided the perfect launch pad to drive traffic to our stand, so we could have direct conversations with customers.
What advice would you give any other brands thinking of getting involved in 2018? Make sure you have products or campaigns that work with and complement the trends identified by the Retail Lab. If you’re not connected in this way, you’ll soon be found lacking! Go with it and be enthusiastic, it’s a great team effort that helps all the participants.
Have you implemented any of the Retail Lab ideas within your own business? Has it inspired you to think differently about your ranges or how you work with retail customers? We already had the connections made and the Retail Lab was the perfect way of demonstrating this. Our Plant a Pot campaign was a perfect fit for the 2017 Re-wilding theme and that grew naturally from our appearance in the Retail Lab. The concepts also opened up a lot of conversations about the correct format of POS to help retailers and Hozelock communicate these messages in store and allowed us to become more directly involved in our customers’ own marketing activities so we were able to support each other more throughout the season.
What can people expect to see from you at Glee 2018? We are looking forward to the show in September and will be promoting and supporting messages such as environment, water saving, recycling, connecting with consumers and natural gardening – all a great fit with the Happy Gardening trend identified in this year’s Retail Lab, which will explore the ways that gardening can enhance our lives.