How time flies, and so much has happened in 2020. Twelve months ago, I dedicated this column to the digital and environmental ambitions of Royal FloraHolland. We were right on track to connect everybody with an environmental registration to our Floriday platform.
Although some people were sceptic, we have reached a significant chunk of our goals. Around 80 per cent of the transactions can go digital via the platform, and in the first quarter of 2021, this will grow further towards 100 per cent.
Because of the major impact last year in the industry, more than 5,000 suppliers and 2,000 customers had to make the switch to Royal FloraHolland’s platform. We gave some of them some lenience, so they have extra time to connect their software via the application program interface. This interface makes it possible to let the grower or buyer software communicate directly with the Floriday platform.
It also gives us the possibility to respond quickly to the demand for new requirements or developments in the markets. The platform is ready to connect supply and demand worldwide. It has the biggest assortment and the highest number of connected buyers in the floricultural industry. With Floriday, Royal FloraHolland Connects to Grow, in close collaboration with our industry partners, we are enabling the sector to grow.
All around us, we see the growth in e-commerce. A part of this growth is because of the measures taken to control the pandemic when shops were closed, and consumers used platforms such as Amazon and eBay in significant numbers. For example, IKEA saw 130 million fewer visitors coming through their physical stores during the Covid-19 period but saw a growth of more than 1 billion visitors on their website.
Parcel services had to make contracts with a maximum number of packages because they could not handle any extra volumes. With the start of vaccination programmes, the distancing measures will ease step by step, and we go back to a more normal life. People have adapted to online shopping as a convenient way of doing business in their daily life, so I believe the share of e-commerce will last.
And now this is also possible for the trade of flowers and plants. Being part of Floriday gives you the possibility to join your colleagues who are already present with their stock and allows you access to your trading partners. Although we are not able to meet each other at the different fairs that typically happen in these periods, we can meet online. We have made sure that all instructions to use Floriday are available, so it is straightforward to introduce the way of working to yourself. We hope to see you soon online so we can connect you to grow.
I wish everybody a prosperous and healthy 2021.
Fred van Tol
Manager of International Development