If you have a large market of multi millionaires, your marketing strategies change and this is obvious around Moscow.
The Orangery, part of the Crocus Group, has the largest selection of indoor plants in one location I have seen anywhere. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I asked why they were open at 2.00am and how can they justify it, I was told that after midnight they break even, but that is when the super rich go shopping with their landscapers so that they have privacy and are not worried about being recognised.
Imperial Gardens has the largest selection of plants I have ever seen in a retail location. The majority were large landscape specimens and many were burlapped. It was difficult to understand this retail model until I was taken to look at a few customer’s gardens. The customer base is based on housing estates around the centre. These are gated estates containing mansions where gardeners and landscapers are employed. The price of the plant is the least consideration for their customers. Another surprise was while many displays showed some flair and ideas for consumers, customer service is an art that has not developed in Moscow. This is not a criticism of the garden retailers, the same situation occurs in the main retail hub in the city.
Consumers are not approached by sales people who seem to focus on tidying stock rather than making a sale. When it comes to product mix, floristry is still very popular in Russia and the floral trade is still healthy. Garden retailers in general focus on woody plants, as a result the colour patio market is under developed. Seasonal sales of plants could be one area the industry could focus on to grow sales. Plant quality in the stores visited were of a high quality, whilst signage to grow sales was underdeveloped.
I have been invited back to present more workshops in other regions of Russia and look forward to working with an industry that is progressing rapidly and has huge opportunities.