Congratulations, Aveve, on another win! What’s the secret to staying number one in the Pet & Hobby Retail category? We have reinvented ourselves thanks to the launch of our new store concept which is based on inspiration and experience. That’s what people need today more than ever. Working with your hands in the soil, growing strawberries and radishes, baking pancakes with the children, spending time with your pet: that is the best remedy for burnout today. And it works. Because we have grown 34% in the last 5 years with our Aveve stores.
Have you noticed any changes in consumer behavior since the beginning of the pandemic? Surely we have noticed that people are now focusing more on their homes and gardens. We work more in the garden, want to sow our own vegetables, do more home baking and have more time to spend with our pets. In all these segments we have seen increased interest from our customers. Aveve also passes on Belgian products to its customers: 85% of our plants and flowers are of Belgian origin; in our ‘local market’ the fruit and vegetables come from local growers, each store works with local farmers; our ‘rural delights’ zone is full of Belgian regional products. Our baking and pasta mixes are made at our own production site in Merksem. In short, Belgian is and will remain our main focus and that is catching on.
In our Best Brands survey, Tom&Co scored higher than Aveve in Awareness and Share of Soul. Are these topics something you’re actively working on?
We strongly believe that our growth plan for the Aveve stores based on the new store concept will only make us stronger in the future. Today we have already adapted 70 stores and more than 30 more are planned this year. Thanks to a new layout, offering inspiration and an adapted assortment with a focus on local products and fresh from the farm, we are responding better to the needs of the customer. Moreover, we also recently launched Click & Collect service to serve our customers even better.
Still in this study, we can see that you score better than your competitors on cross-selling potential? Is diversification part of your strategy?
Our store concept is unique. From the umbrella organisation Arvesta, the full service partner for farmers and horticulturists, we bring all our agricultural knowledge to the consumer via the Aveve stores. That makes us unique.
We are building the agriculture of the future and every day we work on sustainable innovations that make us part of the solution. And it is that expertise that we bring to the consumer through our experienced store staff and under the banner of ‘We Act, We Care’. For example, from now on we will be offering potting soil without peat and therefore kinder to the environment, as well as baking and pasta mixes from Belgian soil, fruit, vegetables and dairy products straight from the farmer, and much more.
How does Aveve manage to be a hybrid brand?
It is an absolute asset that our brand is both B2B and B2C oriented. From our agricultural expertise and market leadership in B2B we bring that experience to the consumer. And our store employees are trained on this basis to give customers the best advice. This means that from Arvesta, through our more than 40 strong brands, of which Aveve is one, we reach different target groups but each time with a clear Arvesta quality stamp.
What is Aveve’s innovation strategy?
Besides our new store concept which we will continue to roll out to all Aveve stores in the coming years, the focus is also on the sustainable innovations that we want to bring to the consumer from our agricultural expertise. Arvesta is a unique knowledge center within agriculture and horticulture, with more than 200 engineers carrying out their own R&D, thus pioneering the process. It is that expertise that we want to offer to consumers in our Aveve stores. With ‘We Act, We Care’ we want to help build the solution with respect for people, animals and planet.
How will you maintain this first place in the coming years?
You may have a beautiful strategy, but it stands or falls with your people. It is our teams and store employees who work passionately every day to ensure that our customers receive the best service. They are on the front line and it is thanks to them that we owe this success today and it will be with them that we build the future.
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