for our member companies and this is just one of the solutions we are offering them. We now have a series of ‘virtual’ events planned.” Similarly, GIMA held a virtual Meet the Buyer session with Homebase to be held on. This speed networking event allowed potential suppliers to meet with key garden retailer buyers in timed 20-minute appointment sessions. Likewise, BHETA’s Exclusively Digital show has gone virtual in July 2020. Exclusively Digital will launch on 6th July and that the event will be made available to all 2020 exhibitors.

campaign to

Exclusively Digital is a marketing showcase exhibitors’

new and innovative products and brands

that would otherwise

have been seen at Exclusively, to the database of over 5,000 buyers, journalists, bloggers, and influencers. During the lockdown period,

BHETA has also offered a series of free webinars to members, including access to eBay and Google. During these sessions, attendees have options to ask the speakers questions in a designated 15 minute slot at the end of the presentations.

Virtual Plant Awards The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) hosted its New Plant Awards as a ‘virtual’ event this year. The New Plant Awards are usually one of the highlights of the National Plant Show, held by the HTA in June each year. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the plant show was cancelled, but the HTA has decided to run the New Plant Awards


our UK growers and plant suppliers to showcase the wonderful new plants they have been cultivating. “We hope that running the event,

despite the current circumstances, will provide a much-needed boost for the industry, and provide a positive focus for the horticulture community.” The awards

are said an

independent online event in 2020. HTA President, Boyd Douglas-

Davies said: “We were excited to be able to launch a virtual version of the New Plant Awards. The Awards are an important and eagerly anticipated event within the horticulture calendar, and they allow

to have

been well received, noted head judge, Matthew Biggs. “We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for entries to the New Plant Awards this year, especially when the industry is facing such difficulties,” he said. “It’s testament to the hard work and resilience of our UK growers that they have stepped


Homebuilding & Renovating Shows spans the nation and attracts over 100,000 people with projects to eight locations every year including the NEC in Birmingham and London’s ExCeL. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event organisers have sought to launch a number of virtual events, including the Homebuilding and Renovating Summer Show 2020 on 24-25 July.

A virtual event is very similar to our live events, but enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. Watch and browse on your phone, laptop, desktop or tablet. The online platform is accessible throughout the live days of 24-25 July, 2020 and for four weeks afterwards. At the event, you can watch seminars and masterclasses, live chat to other professionals, request call backs and set up meeting with valuable suppliers and download brochures, guides and information from individual exhibitors. To access the show, registrations are sent login details on the day of the show.

“As well as the advent of virtual events, many companies within the DIY industry have used 2020 to improve its virtual offerings”

up to the challenge and presented some wonderful new plants for us all to enjoy. “We would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Frank P

Even household events such RHS Chelsea Flower Show went virtual this May, due to the physical show being cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here we saw exclusive virtual gardening tours and demonstrations. Hundreds of exhibitors, designers, and TV gardening icons all helped to bring the magic of the show to life - from the likes of Monty Don to Alan Titchmarsh.

Virtual planning As well as the advent of virtual events, many companies


Matthews and Fairweather’s Nursery for producing the overall winners, and our heartfelt thanks to everyone who entered.”

Virtual events in the garden sector The garden industry has been particularly innovative when it comes to virtual events. Gardenex and PetQuip have held a series of virtual Meet the International Buyer events. In light of the success, more virtual buyer events are planned. Director General, Amanda Sizer

Barret, said: “We were very pleased that the first of our virtual Meet the International Buyer events proved positive for all parties. “In this challenging business

environment, we are working hard to deliver new sales opportunities

the DIY industry have used 2020 to improve its virtual offerings. B&Q have launched its virtual appointments service. The virtual appointments take place online with one of using


its showroom colleagues sharing

or simply

phone and email depending on your needs. Advices includes: • A 3D design you can edit at home using B&Q Spaces online tool • A quote that is tailored to suit you,

complete with a full price

breakdown • An opportunity to discuss and apply for finance products B&Q has also rolled out a number of other digital scheme, including a Kitchen visualiser, Bathroom planner and Room visualiser. Similarly, Wickes has launched its free virtual design service, allowing the customer to plan home upgrades and renovations with kitchen and bathroom design consultants from the comfort of your home.


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