The IPM Essen might not take place this year, one can still visit the booth of Hishtil. They've rebuilt their booth virtually and the entire sales team and professionals team will be available to show the products and answer all questions. They called the event HishTag and it will take place from February 1-4, 2021. "We want to stay close to our clients and the market and as physical meetings aren't possible nowadays, we decided to go virtual," explains Haim Rosenblum, Histil's Marketing and Sales Division Manager. Together with him, we look to what HishTag has to offer and Eyal Inbar explains us how 2020 has been for Hishtil and what to expect for 2021.
The booth, how does it work?
HishTag is more than just a booth. It is an interactive platform where they wanted to created the same experience as people would have when visiting their booth. "One of our colleagues is welcoming everyone to our booth and explaining how it works. Then, people can walk a route to see the different kind of concepts and products we have on display. They will not only see the product, they can also get information by videos, brochures, catalogues and they can schedule meetings with our sales team. They will be available during working hours to answer all questions."
Well thought trough
Except from feel, smell and taste, they try to give the visitors the most real experience as possible. Therefore, the platform hasn't been established overnight. "We started thinking about a plan B for the IPM Essen already 6 months ago as many shows and trials were postponed to unknown dates in the future. We came up with this idea - which no one else did so far - and decided to execute it about 5 months ago."
Keeping it simple and easy to navigate has been an important pillar when creating the platform, explains Rosenblum. "We tried to make everything very intuitive. We know our clients; they like plants and everything else comes after." Also registration is easy as only an email is needed.
How was 2020 for Hishtil?
But how was 2020 for Histhil? Hishtil's Export Sales Manager Eyal Inbar explains: "In short, we can say that we ended in better results than 2019, but this is mainly because of the increased demand from the local market for vegetable young plants and the ornamental plants. Export figures for their herbs were less good than 2019 as their high season is March and April - when most Western European countries were in lockdown." Fortunately, the supermarkets remained open and by the end of April, new demand came as people started to look for herbs. And the demand started to surpass the supply. "We did not prepare enough surplus plants as we were worried to throw away plants, just like we had to do in March."
Some changes in distributors
In 2020, Hishtil also changed distributors. In Japan, they started to work with Kaneya and Sweden with Hörnhems. On top of that, they hired a new Sales Manager for Germany, who is also based in Germany. "These were all strategic decisions that we've already made pre-Covid-19 as we wanted to be closer to the market. And now, during this pandemic, I think these decisions for local distributors will turn out even better."
Outlook for 2021
When looking to 2021, Eyal is positive and worried at the same time. "We decided to focus more on our main products and main markets; the western European countries, Scandinavia and the UK. In these countries, herbs have become more popular and for 2021, I expect the demand to increase all over." However, at the same time, he is also a bit worried. "The Covid-19 isn't under control and the new mutations and slow speed in which the vaccinations are being given worries me a bit. March is our main season, we've increased production for this year and I therefore hope the countries will be out of lock down so that we can ship our millions of young plants."