It was all over the Dutch newspapers the other day: the bankruptcy of Intertoys. I don’t get it. Out of every ten customers visiting their stores, only three would make a purchase. So, what did the other seven people come to the store for? Well, they just wanted to have a look at the toys on the shelves and after that, they would go home to buy the same products in a different, online shop.
We all love the Internet, but we still need a shopwindow, because we want to see before we buy. The Kenyans are a bit smarter in that regard. When we were living in Naivasha, there was a hotel with a beautiful, large garden around the corner from us. What happened on Sundays? Many large families came over from Nairobi with their picnic baskets. They made themselves comfortable in the garden and ate the food they had brought along. Great atmosphere, but the hotel wasn’t making any money.
There was only one solution: entrance fees. Anyone who wanted to visit the gardens had to pay 20 euros, which was deducted from the bill at the end of a meal or an overnight stay. The problem with people bringing picnics to the hotel garden was solved.
If I were Intertoys, I would have done the same thing. Who wants to run a physical store and attract mostly browsers? At the end of the day, the deal seekers have dug their own grave. Web shops can ask whatever price they like now. With the physical store gone, it’s harder for customers to compare prices or have a look at what exactly it is they’re buying.
Is the Royal FloraHolland auction clock facing the same problem? More browsers, fewer buyers? Buyers from all over the world watch the clock for pricing, and they subsequently find the best deals through direct trade, outside the clock, or outside RFH even.
Wake up RFH! Ensure you don’t end up like Intertoys. Learn a lesson from the Kenyans and make everyone pay for your services. We don’t need traders who just come to have a look around.
RFH is a unique and indispensable organisation. Strengthen the clock with the help of loyal suppliers and loyal customers. Keep dumpers and non-buyers out like before. When the rules were stricter, the auction had an annual growth of 10%. We can still make that happen as long as everyone knows where they stand.
Simon van der Burg,
Rosegrower Timaflor, Mount Kenya